This artistic research project is based on how (and why) we move from one character to the other, from one style to the other, from one technique to the other. There is research showing how differently the brain works in various musical styles (i will mention this again in chapter 6), how the larynx (and the muscles around it) function through different techniques, as well as many theories on how to work through different genres etc, but there is very little information for a singer (like me) can navigate through, and activate these adjustments. Therefore I've had to invent different theories and methods of my own to mix with existing, to fill these gaps for me.
As already mentioned, Magnus Tessing Schneider's research on role doubling in 17th-century opera, and particularly his article ”Seeing the Empress Again - On Doubling in L'incoronazione di Poppea" presenting his theories on how Anna Renzi doubled Octavia/Drusilla ignited my research project. By performing all roles in L'Orfeo, I am drawing these theories to the extreme logical conclusion.
Moreover a combination of Jerzy Grotowski’s theories on" poor theatre" (see chapter 4 and 8), his and Roy Hart's philosophies on connecting the body and the voice (see chapter 4), and Michael Chekhov's methods on how to form characters (see chapter 5 and 7). Actor and storyteller, Ørjan Wiklund's theories on bringing storytelling to the actor (see chapter 2 and 8).
From Emily Longbourne, Nino Pirrotta, Ellen Rosand, Anne MacNeil, Nick Wilson, John Potter, et al. I've drawn theories on how Commedia dell' Arte and opera are linked, baroque opera in general, and today's early music field; Mauro Calcagno and Elisabeth Belgrano’s thoughts and theories on Nothingness; musicians and scholars like Andrew Lawrence-King and Nikolaus Harnoncourt; Susan McClary and Adriana Cavarero's feminist views on music history.
These choices are based on my practice and are integrated into my whole work.
(Although sometimes I think they chose me and not the other way round.)
Karen Barad’s thoughts on quantum physics also became a part of the project. Her words on “touching’, together with Magnus Tessing Scheider’s, were a starting point for the project. While my understanding is incomplete her “So much happens in a touch: an infinity of others’ other beings, other spaces, other times are aroused” resonated strangely- especially in terms of how the voice and vibrations of music touch the ear so literally.’
Artistic Practice with an auto-ethnographical outlook.
My own knowledge of singing baroque opera, contemporary opera, experimental music theatre, oratorios, chamber music, pop, songs, jazz, my teaching experience, etc, is the most important source of information in my research project.
“When artistic practice becomes one of the tools used by the researcher in their own research practice, a crucial boundary is crossed into the realms of artistic research.” Darla CrispinFN
Observing myself as singer and performer in different surroundings, with different tools, with different people, with different music is precarious and can easily turn into me-search However, and I repeat myself, working with myself as my own instrument I found is the most honest and ethically defendable way to proceed’.
Contemporary music as a method
The project is not about being a performer of contemporary music per se (Tanja Orning is an excellent example of one who is just thatFN), nevertheless, it is about a singer who performs contemporary music as well as early music. Consequently, using f.ex the music Rolf Wallin and Carola Bauckholt has been a way to understand Monteverdi from the view of a singer of today. I used their music as contexts in which I placed the musical content of L’Orfeo, thus making the use of contemporary music part of my process as well as a Research Question (”What can I use from my knowledge of early music in my practice as a performer of contemporary music, and vice versa?”)
Dialogues and Narrative interviews FN
These dialogues can be a symbol of the touch, that Barad talks about: and illustration of the musical, and of the human encounters my research is based on.
By talking to and working with different musicians and artists (both living and dead) I will explore L’Orfeo from different perspectives. Sometimes the dialogues have been through spoken words, other times in experimental laboratories. Hanne Dieserud, Fia Adler Sandblad, Roger Westberg, Jon Tombre, Ensemble Odd Size, Vollen United, Poul Høxbro and Anna Renzi have been some of my guides, mirrors and companions throughout the entire period.
(I, Myself, have also been an important interlocutor as will be seen throughout the reflection.)
The way I edited the conversations and dialogues is also part of my method. It resembles Chinese whispers - the game where a sentence is whispered in one ear and then forwarded in the group until the last person says it aloud. How much did it change? What is it that we hear? I didn’t voluntarily change the meaning of their words, but I made choices, I made cuts and ”intra-acted” my own thoughts. Some things might have gotten lost in the translation and in my final edit - a bit how music from 1607 is perceived today.
Storytelling has been another technique through which to explore L’Orfeo as both a theory through which to research and a tool for the reflective studies. This method became the primary method for finding my voice in a cacophony of sounds. I will describe the method extensively later in the reflection, in chapter 2, ”The Libretto", and 8 ”Mise en scene”