Dr Susan Rutherford: Lecture Details and Video
Dr Susan Rutherford (University of Manchester)
9 November 2011
Vibrato and the Victorians: Passion and 'Trembling' on the Nineteenth-Century British Operatic Stage
In the historical descriptions of singing, when did vocal ‘trembling’ become ‘vibrato’? The new passions invested in opera performance in the 1820s and 1830s by singers such as Giovanni Battista Rubini increasingly found even more trenchant expression in the emergence of the tenore robusto, particularly in the kind of relationship that existed between Enrico Tamberlik and the operas of Giuseppe Verdi. Focussing mainly on London, this paper explores the arrival in the English language of the term ‘vibrato’, the way it was perceived and defined in the discourses surrounding the vocal techniques and the operatic stage during the nineteenth century, and how it became one of the most decisive factors in the developing differences between ideas of singing in Italy and Britain.
Susan Rutherford studied voice with Frederic Cox at the Royal Northern College of Music, later completing doctoral studies at the University of Manchester, where she is now Senior Lecturer in Music. Her research centres on voice, performance and nineteenth-century Italian opera. Publications include essays on opera singers spanning the century from Giuditta Pasta to Emma Carelli, as well as a monograph, The Prima Donna and Opera, 1815-1930 (Cambridge University Press, 2006), which received the 2007 Pauline Alderman Award (IAWM) for research. She was also awarded the 2003 Premio internazionale: "Giuseppe Verdi", the biennial prize of the Istituto Nazionale di Studi Verdiani, Parma. Her forthcoming monograph is entitled Verdi, Opera, Women (2012).