Development work

”When does the singer become an Artist?” by Tenstam, Hellström and Ancker

Researcher: Ulrika Tenstam Stina Ancker Martin Hellström

When does the singer become an Artist? is a development work by Ulrika Tenstam, Assistant Professor of Musical interpretation, Martin Hellström, Rehearsal teacher and Stina Ancker, Assistant Professor of Scenic figuration.

The hierarchal working process of the Opera starts with the instructions of the printed music. Subsequently, the stage director’s and the conductor’s intentions are added, and only at the end of the process can the singer contribute with his/her artistic perspective. We explore the borderland between interpretation and improvisation. Working with a new short opera, we try out different paths to the expressive moment. In cooperation with a composer, a librettist and two singers we turn the traditional working procedure of opera on its head, exploring the singer’s freedom and creativity.

Aim and research questions

“When does the singer become an artist?” is the starting point for an artistic development project, and Opera laboratory where we explore how the singer reaches his/her artistry; a method to put into use in the daily work with Opera students. Can we find new pathways to the artistry of the singer? Can a different starting point lead to increased participation in the artistic process on behalf of the singer? Can we reach spontaneous expression and virtuosity but from a different starting point than perfection in the reproduction of the musical text?

Research implementation and anticipated impact

We use the mini-opera ”Camilles irrfärder och äventyr” as a laboratory. We explore how different improvisational conditions affect the singers’ work. We record the work on video and keep written notes of our reflections. The project will lead up to a performance, a short film and a documentary compilation of our reflections. Our work will have an impact on pedagogic methods in the field of stage performance.


Petter Ekman, Composer
Tuva-Lisa Rangström, Librettist
Hanna Fritzon, Soprano
Olle Persson, Baritone