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Knowledge transfer project "Wagner singing in the 21st century - historically informed".

Forschungsinstitut für Musiktheater

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Bayreuth Festspielhaus und Wilhelmine Schröder-Devrient

Knowledge transfer project "Wagner singing in the 21st century - historically informed"

The joint project of the Research Institute for Music Theatre Studies (fimt) of the University of Bayreuth and Concerto Köln, initially scheduled to run for three years, aims to research historical Wagner singing using methods of artistic research. The project is funded by the knowledge transfer programme of the German Research Foundation (DFG).

The project, which officially starts on 1 January 2021, focuses on the question of how 21st-century singers can sing Wagner in the context of the historically informed performances of Wagner's Ring des Nibelungen as being developed by Concerto Köln with conductor Kent Nagano as part of Wagner-Lesarten (Interpretations of Wagner).

The project is based both on research into the pronunciation ideal carried out within the framework of Wagner-Lesarten and on the project „Stimme“ (Voice) initiated by fimt, which among other things has dealt in detail with the singer Wilhelmine Schröder-Devrient (1804 to 1860), whom Wagner regarded as his singing ideal throughout his life. The extreme modes of the singing voice (speaking, whispering, screaming) often used by Schröder-Devrient will be used as a basis, as will schools of singing and acting which Wagner considered important at the time. Comparing sound recordings made around 1900, which represent a historical intermediate step towards today's Wagner singing, an attempt will be made to reconstruct as many aspects of historical performance practice as possible as material for a present-day performance and to make them usable.

The methodological centrepiece of the work will be three workshops in Thurnau Castle, headquarters of fimt, bringing together research and practice, in which scientific and artistic results are to be created and documented with the help of artistic research, which will then ideally find their way into the (initially concert) performances of Ring des Nibelungen.

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