IMPROVISATÖRERNA – experimentella närmanden till improviserad opera som konstnärligt uttryck och redskap för pedagogisk utveckling

Conny Antonov, Åsa Håkansson, Sara Wilen

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Abstract

Opera improvisation at The Malmö Academy of Music has been a pedagogical and artistic experiment. This is the final account concerning this pedagogical and artistic research project. Singers who are studying classical singing at the bachelor and master programmes of the
academy have participated. The account includes historical and theoretical reflections on the subject and comments on the work in progress. At the same time this publication, with its attached DVD, can be used as a handbook for those who have a particular interest in working with improvisation where the starting-point is opera. During the period 2007-2008 we organized about fifteen seminars, a three day workshop at
the island of Ven, and four public performances. In this experiment different purposes and methods of working have been included in order to find out how the unexpected, the spontaneous, the non-prepared can influence and inspire singing students, generally familiar with performing already composed classical music. The purpose has been to make them ready
to improvise text, music and sceneries and to create complete performances in dialogue with the audience; performances where the audience is incorporated, for example in proposing subjects and genres. The singing student, acting as “musical craftsman”, builds her or his own tool-box. During the exercises in improvisation the students fill their boxes with tools that they are later able to use not only in their continued work with opera improvisation, but in other scenic and performing situations as well.
In the opening part of this account there is a summary about the conditions for this project, and some thoughts concerning the possibilities of opera improvisation. Then there follows a section that, among other things, discusses different possible genealogies in the development of the art of improvisation. We have, for instance, found several similarities with gli
improvvisatori in Italy during the first part of the 19th century. They are frequently mentioned in travel books and novels from that time, for instance in Improvisatoren by Hans Christian Andersen. After that there is a section where musical improvisation is considered in relation to a developmental perspective, followed by some personal reflections on working with the project. In the part Att skapa och gestalta, To Create and Portray, opera improvisation is discussed from perspectives of creating and communicating. It also deals with the issue of how form and tradition is included in improvisation. The last part of this publication is a
collection of examples of exercises, exercises that those participating in the project have been using. On the enclosed DVD it is possible to watch and hear examples from seminars and performances.
Original languageEnglish
PublisherMalmö Academy of Music, Lund University
Number of pages40
ISBN (Print)978-91-976053-5-9
Publication statusPublished - 2009

Subject classification (UKÄ)

  • Music

Keywords

  • opera
  • improvisation

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