Norges musikkhøgskole Norwegian Academy of Music
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The Otherness of the self

In this artistic research project, singer Elisabeth Holmertz will look into the meaning of roles. What a role is and what it can become and what it does with her as a singer and performer when she go into different personalities and characters.


The aim of this project is to create a performance of the opera L'Orfeo (Claudio Monteverdi) where Holmertz sings all the parts herself. In addition composer Henrik Hellstenius and she will work on a new opera together where she mirrors the experiences she makes with L'Orfeo.

The work with these operas are not only the goal, but a tool to work on what "Roles" mean to her and how she can convey this to others.

Many of the 17th century opera singers came from Commedia dell'arte and were actors who sang, more than singers who acted. They often took on more than one role in each performance, sometimes switching in the course of seconds. What did it do to their singing when improvised theatre was a strong foundation for the newly invented opera? This is an exiting angle in early opera research that needs more attention. In contemporary music theatre it's an established form to work with different aspects of the body and voice. How can Holmertz use this knowledge for singing baroque opera and vice versa?

New tools

It's a research project with many aspects, but in the end Holmertz humbly hopes to shed new light on a field which has been somewhat locked in the traditions by large institutions where the sound of the voice has been more important than the acting. She wishes to create new tools on how to work on performance practice, in both early and contemporary music theatre.

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Published: Oct 18, 2016 — Last updated: Sep 3, 2020