A contemporary voice for the female protagonist: an exploration of the collaborative creative process; the development and synthesis of vocal techniques in the realisation of premiere music performances
, PhD thesis, University of Salford.
It is vital to increase the body of work where the female character acts as protagonist, rather than the foil for the masculine “norm” (McClary 1991).
It is the intention of this candidature to present performances of several new music works that focus on the experience of the female character and voice through the synthesis of contemporary vocal and folk music practice, as well as the embodiment of the female protagonist on stage.
The core of the presented thesis consists of a portfolio of a number of contrasting works that feature the female protagonist exploring her experience in their own way; themes include vocalised emotion, the presentation of the female body and character, gender stereotypes and archetypes, as well as roles, relationships and power. It researches a variety of collaborative composer/librettist/performer methodologies for the development of fully-human female characters onstage, which make use of a range of acting, dance and voice qualities. These vocal qualities and techniques are developed, hybridised and re-contextualised from a broad range of styles to include Classical / Contemporary, chest/Folk-style singing / vocalisations (Greek Amannes and Miroloi and Hungarian folk singing), and build upon Extended Vocal Techniques developed by various practitioners. The project draws upon fifteen years of experience as a professional singer-actor-dancer performing in a wealth of exciting projects as commissioner and collaborator using a wide range of vocal styles from Opera, Contemporary Classical, to Folk, Jazz and other Popular styles.
My vision, with musical, textual, and performative input, guides collaborators in a joint exploration; stimuli include a variety of musical forms / structures, vocal techniques and textual treatment of themes, as well as visual stimuli and performance elements, like costume, set, and properties. The portfolio also includes existing works that are collaborative in the rehearsal process, with varying degrees of input from collaborators. The work takes the perspective of the performer as co-creator of on-stage female characters, using libretto, music and my own responses to theatrical elements. The creation on stage of a female protagonist must involve the personal emotional connection of the performer.
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