Guillaume Bernardi, stage direction, text analysis, diction
Luke Arnason, French language coach
Lucas Harris & Borys Medicky, accompanist, coach
(See faculty biographies on the 'Faculty' page of this site.)
After four years of exploring seventeenth-century vocal repertoire, the ToCC has recognized the need for a workshop where Toronto singers who love this music can meet on their own to learn and share ideas about appropriate vocal style, technique, rhetoric, ornamentation, gesture, and physical movement. This new workshop is both theoretical as well as practical, leading to a collaboration with the ToCC continuo group in the form of a staged performance each Spring semester. Thus far members of the Singers' Collective have given staged performances of works by Monteverdi (Comabattimento di Tancredi e Clorinda), Luigi Rossi (Noi siam tre donzellette), Marco Marazzoli (scenes from Dal male il bene), and Francesco Cavalli (scenes from La Doriclea).
Our new policy regarding payment is that all singers will pay $15 per class during the fall semester. Fees will be waived for those singers invited to take part in the Spring theatre project.
At the turn of the seventeenth century, a new vocal style was emerging in Italy, and the figure of Orpheus, whose singing was beautiful enough to persuade even the King of the Underworld, was central to it. Composers such as Claudio Monteverdi (whose opera Orfeo was first performed in 1607) were seeking to use music as a vehicle for enhancing the power of speech to persuade, provoke, captivate and move listeners to tears, and so the performers of this stile recitativo must have been skilled actors as much as singers. Using Orpheus as an example of the ideal performer, the class for singers will explore the elements of early seventeenth-century style in a holistic way, with a focus not only on the voice but on the whole body as a vehicle for delivering text persuasively. This will require, first and foremost, a theatrical approach, supported by in-depth work with text and language, (pronunciation, poetic form and rhetoric), and insight into the historical and cultural context of the music.
Since the members of the Singers' Collective will meet regularly with the instrumentalists during the Spring semester, there will be many chances for ‘Orpheus’ (the singers) to sing with his ‘lyre’ (the continuo group). Since tight integration between singer and continuo is so crucial to the successful performance of recitative style music, we will provide a setting where the singers and members of the continuo band can practice communicating with each other and forming a strong partnership.