Cardiff

Using text to create character

September/October/November/December (3 months)
communication language: EN

1 or 2 vocal students, master level

Developing the use of spoken word in an operatic context to explore and inhabit character, examining the relationship between text and music and how this synthesises to facilitate authentic delivery on stage.

The module is in two parts.

  1. Creating an advanced awareness of and emphasis on acting, movement and improvisation skills, through intensive and detailed study and delivery of set texts (drawn from poetry, plays and literature as well as operatic libretti) to create and inhabit character. Core methodology of this work will be based on Stanislawski.
  2. Focusing on attaining a deep understanding of the challenges of delivering recitative in opera, across a range of composers, styles and languages. This will be delivered through working sessions, coaching, staging work and a summative performance.


  • Instruction will be English; recitative may be studied in any of the principal singing languages.
  • Text project: 30 hours
  • Recitative project: weekly classes (6 hrs per week), intensive production week (30 hrs) leading to in-house showing
  • Lecture series: 2 hrs per week
  • Drama & movement: 2 hrs per week
  • Languages: up to 3 hrs per week
  • 1:1 singing lesson: 1 hr per week
  • Coaching: 1 hr per week


Martin Constantine, International Chair in Directing
Angela Livingstone, Head of Opera & Vocal Performance
Donald Maxwell, vocal tutor
Alma Sheehan, performance coach
Music Staff of Welsh National Opera

Description of final examination:

Continual assessment across project (50%)
Performance in recitative project (50%)

Possible extras:

Lecture series examining the development of opera & production history
Movement & drama classes
Language classes
1:1 singing lessons (these may be focused on English repertoire - operatic, oratorio and song)

Vocal coaching
Involvement in the College’s end of term opera gala (opera scenes accompanied by orchestra) may be available, depending on the requirement of voice type and repertoire (tbc in September)


Activity: Acting, Creation, Performance, Training
Academy of music: RWCMD Cardiff
Language training: English
Student: Singers

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