Reclaiming the Vocal High Ground: Performing Baroque Repertoire in a Modern World
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The early music revival of the late twentieth century revolutionized music with the birth of historically lnformed performance. With this revolution came a stereotype of the "early music singing voice" as small, bright, straight-toned, and unfortunately, often inferior techrucally to the mainstream opera singer. An assessment of the validity of this stereotype was made though readings of treatises and modern manuals of performance practice, and through listening to recordings. Sources on ornamentation, recitative, dance rhythm, and baroque gesture were examined, resulting in the finding that these issues are far more important to historical accuracy than are voice timbre and size. This dissertation is comprised of three historically informed performances intended to satisfy both the early music specialist and the mainstream voice teacher. Program One (May 15, 2004) is a performance of The "Peasant" Cantata, BWV 212, by J.S. Bach, with The Bach Sinfonia at the Washington Conservatory of Music. Program Two (January 29, 2005) is the role of Eurilla in a staged production of Antonio Vivaldi's serenata, Eurilla e Alcindo. The performance is a collaboration with the Baltimore-based ensemble, La Rocinante, and is conducted from the keyboard by Joseph Gascho. Program Three (March 14, 2005) is a solo recital entitled, Fairest Isle: Music of Baroque London. All three programs are documented in a digital audio format available on compact disc, with accompanying programs and notes also available in digital format.