University of Worcester Worcester Research and Publications

‘The Emergence of the Operatic’

Somerville, Daniel ORCID: (2016) ‘The Emergence of the Operatic’. In: Music on Stage. Volume 2. Cambridge Scholars Publishing, Newcastle upon Tyne, pp. 25-39. ISBN 978-1-4438-9686-3; 1-4438-9686-1

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The chapter discusses the notion of the ‘operatic’ with particular reference to movement. Through observation of singers in rehearsal and through interviews with singers over two years, the research posits that ‘operatic’ movement may be identified and explored as a discrete quality of movement in performance and recognised as an, albeit underappreciated, aspect of the artistry of the opera singer. The paper explores the effects of the demands of singing on the dramatic expressivity of the body and the strategies employed by singers to navigate, the sometimes conflicting demands of the composer and the director. ‘Operatic’ movement is regarded as that which is not generated through character or narrative (positioned as a normative approach to acting) but through the negotiation of the physical constrictions and artificiality of breath associated with operatic singing, combined with sensitivity towards opera’s non-normative performance conventions. This position is aided by an interrogation of opera through the lens of gender theory. The chapter makes two propositions, that the ‘operatic’, which does not form part of the formal pedagogy of singers, is an emergent property, especially evident at the intersection of the various creative disciplines that contribute to opera, such as when the orchestra is introduced to the rehearsal process, and that ‘operaticness’ is acquired and passed on through a process of kinaesthetic empathy.

Item Type: Book Section
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Uncontrolled Discrete Keywords: oprea, operatic, music, performance, movement
Subjects: M Music and Books on Music > M Music
Divisions: College of Arts, Humanities and Education > School of Arts
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Depositing User: Janet Davidson
Date Deposited: 13 Oct 2016 13:25
Last Modified: 23 Nov 2020 04:00

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