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(Dis)embodied singers in Cervantes
9 May @ 2:45 pm - 3:30 pmFree
Given that printed texts don’t come with sound effects, it’s not obvious why characters in novels are made to speak, let alone sing; and when they do, what are we supposed to hear? Cervantes was clearly fascinated by the challenge of ‘writing singing’ and returned to the problem time and again. In the majority of cases he wrote singing as a performance in real time, with the (often lengthy) lyrics pasted into the main text of the novel. But this paper will discuss a number of alternative approaches drawn from Don Quijote (1605, 1615), the Novelas ejemplares (1613) and Persiles y Sigismunda (1616). In all of Cervantes’s major works we find singers who are de-voiced, disembodied or disempowered: a shipwrecked Portuguese lover, a nun with a beautiful voice, a muleteer with ‘the best voice you’ll ever hear’, and Feliciana de la Voz, a woman who is her voice—until she loses it.
Lecturer: Barry Ife, Guildhall School of Music & Drama