French Vocal Repertoire Course
POULENC AND THE AVANT GARDE
November 20-22, 2020
Tutors: Theresa Goble, Robin Bowman, Beverley Worboys and Brian Parsons
Following on from the success of Vox Integra’s online French Vocal Repertoire course (June 26 – 28 2020) we are delighted to announce a further intensive online weekend of French vocal repertoire to take place on 20-22 November, 2020.
Alongside the usual Vox French Song Team, including the international tenor Brian Parsons, for many years a voice professor at the conservatoires of Lyon and the Guildhall School of Music and Drama, London, Theresa Goble, founder of Vox Integra and voice professor at the GSMD, Beverley Worboys, soprano, artistic director and producer, we will once again be joined by Robin Bowman, a leading French repertoire expert, who worked as assistant to Pierre Bernac, (the singer for whom Poulenc wrote more than half his songs) in the last decade of Bernac’s life. For thirty years Robin was French consultant for the National Opera Studio as well as eleven years as head of vocal studies at the Guildhall School of Music and Drama. His international career as an accompanist included partnerships with Dawn Upshaw and Gérard Souzay.
This weekend will focus on the vocal music of Francis Poulenc, particularly settings of the three poets to whom he turned most frequently for his song texts. The composer himself once said that he would be happy to have inscribed on his tombstone: 'Here lies Francis Poulenc, the musician of Apollinaire and Eluard'. In addition to setting many poems by Guillaume Apollinaire and Paul Eluard, Poulenc often turned to the poems of a third contemporary poet, Louise de Vilmorin, when writing songs predominantly intended for female voice.
Previous Vox Integra courses of this kind have attracted singers from France, Germany, Switzerland, Hong Kong, England and America. Robin Bowman will launch the weekend with a lecture on the songs of Poulenc and his principal poets - J’écris ce qui me chante - “I write what sings to me” (Poulenc’s own words). There are also specialised masterclasses focusing on French Opera, and on the performance of the mélodies of Francis Poulenc, given respectively by Brian Parsons and Robin Bowman. For the opera masterclass, singers may wish to choose arias from either of Poulenc’s two full-length operas les mamelles de Tirésias and Dialogues des Carmélites.
For song repertoire the intention is to focus on three of Poulenc’s best-known sets of songs – one by each of the poets named above - Banalités (Apollinaire), tel jour telle nuit (Eluard), and fiançailles pour rire (de Vilmorin) – the first of these is suitable for baritones, mezzo-sopranos and sopranos, the second for baritones, tenors, mezzo-sopranos and sopranos, and the third for sopranos and mezzo-
sopranos. Participants are asked to prepare three songs in all, two of which should be by Poulenc – one or two from any of these three sets, and one or two further songs, either from Poulenc’s other songs, or one or two by another French composer. You might for instance like to explore the songs of
Chabrier, for whom Poulenc had a particular affinity (he even wrote a book about Chabrier). Robin will be happy to advise on repertoire choices, and to this end, singers who are not already known to Robin will be asked to submit a recorded performance of a French mélodie if they wish to receive such advice.
The course also provides: one-to-one diagnostic sessions tailored to each individual singer on technique, interpretation and body work, and group work with Beverley Worboys bringing together in performance aspects explored individually. In the evenings, virtual group social gatherings will be organized. For this course our social evening will endeavour to recreate a bohemian café in Paris where we will voyage into the infatigable world of modernist painting. Here
we will look at the remarkable cross influences of art, literature and music made by these kindred spirits of the avant- garde era.
Examples of collective themes discussed include optimum vocal projection, better ways of practicing/rehearsing and practical tips on self-taping and appearing professional on video. The course will culminate in a virtual concert on Sunday evening. We realise that holding the workshop online is not the same as a live gathering, but we are confident, from the experience of the course at the end of June, that it will be an enriching and holistic and very enjoyable experience.
For booking or for further information please send us an email using the form below. Alternatively, you can book your place by heading to the SHOP.
Participant Investment: €350/£315
Observers place includes access to; the lectures, masterclasses, concert and our evening socials