“’... eine tüchtige Stimme und ergreifendes Spiel’ – Die ersten Bayreuther Sänger“
2007 (German)In: wagnerspectrum, ISSN 978-3-8260-3799-3, Vol. 3, no 2, 115-137 p.Article in journal (Refereed) Published
What were the main qualities demonstrated by the first Bayreuth singers? This question – because Wagner selected those singers himself – leads to two more: Did these singers all have something in common? And if so, can we derive from that something Wagner’s criteria of selection? In this article I outline what I believe are the decisive patterns of his preferences. Most obviously important to him was that the singers possess the physical stature suited for their individual roles, that they have a strong voice, excellent diction, and good skills as actors. Given the fact that Wagner chose in accordance with the dramatic types they were to embody, their purely musical ability was apparently relegated to a level of secondary importance. In general the standards of opera-singing have changed during the last 130 years, but even compared to other European singing styles characteristic of the eighteen-seventies, the Bayreuth standard seems to have been relatively low, if not defective, at least as concerns professional singing technique. To this conclusion I add another: In contrast to what happens in the theatre today with Wagner-interpretation, the quality of the action on stage was of more importance to Wagner than the vocal skill of the singers. This explains why all his rehearsals with soloists consisted as much of rehearsing gestures as rehearsing vocal delivery and expression. It may thus be concluded that in choosing singers, Wagner assumed the role more of stage director than of conductor.
Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Würzburg: Königshausen & Neumann , 2007. Vol. 3, no 2, 115-137 p.
Wagner, Bayreuth, singer, scenical play, singing technique, performance practice
Research subject Musicology
IdentifiersURN: urn:nbn:se:su:diva-39789OAI: oai:DiVA.org:su-39789DiVA: diva2:321372
Editorial board of 'wagnerspectrum': Udo Bermbach, Dieter Borchmeyer, Hermann Danuser, Sven Friedrich, Ulrike Kienzle, Hans R. Vaget2010-05-312010-05-312011-01-18Bibliographically approved