Embodying Voice: Singing Verdi, Singing Wagner articulates the process of developing an operatic voice, explaining how and why the training of such a voice is as complex and sophisticated as it is mysterious. This book illustrates how putting together a voice, embodying a sound, and creating a character are vital to an audience’s emotional involvement and enjoyment. Moreover, it addresses an imbalance of power between the opera director and the orchestra conductor – ultimately, it is the communicative power of the singer’s voice that brings life to an opera, a fact well known by Verdi and Wagner.
Embodying Voice highlights the singer’s creative agency to be co-creator of the composer’s music. It explores the ways in which vocal performance is constructed and controlled, connecting layers of mind and bodily engagement that allow operatic singers to achieve expression beyond the text itself. Further reading, listening, and performance lists are provided at the end of each chapter, complemented by musical examples throughout.
Table of Contents
Introduction Sheer Voice / Chapter One The Singer’s Ineffability / Chapter Two Deconstructing Operatic Embodiment / Chapter Three Verdi, Wagner and the Lowered Larynx / Chapter Four Verdi Il trovatore: Prima la voce, or the Imperative of Passion / Chapter Five Wagner’s Body: Wagner, the Singer and Sieglinde / Chapter Six Kundry: The Apotheosis of Embodiment / Conclusion Voice Unleashed
Margaret Medlyn, ONZM, is Head of the Classical Voice department, New Zealand School of Music, Victoria University of Wellington, New Zealand. She has sung with numerous opera companies and worked with leading international conductors. In addition, she is a national recording artist for Radio New Zealand.