Kimberly Barber, mezzo-soprano

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Workshops | Call Me Mister

EXPLORING THE TROUSER ROLE

Kimberly Barber has had an extensive career playing “trouser” or “travesti” roles, donning the clothing of the opposite sex to portray young men—a time-honoured operatic and theatrical tradition.  Out of this personal history comes a wealth of experience of “gender-bending”, allowing her to give practical and artistic advice to mezzo-sopranos or sopranos wishing to undertake these, particularly for mezzos, ubiquitous parts.  Ms Barber works intensively with up to 6 singers for a minimum of 20 minutes each, exploring individual arias from the vast repertoire of “trouser” roles and working on dramatic and musical aspects of the roles to flesh out the character.

This is also a fascinating workshop for opera fans or neophytes who may be confused by the travesti tradition, providing a window into the singer’s art.

Potential repertoire:

  • Handel: Rinaldo, Nerone, Ariodante, Bradamante, Ruggiero, Serse, Polinesso etc.
  • Mozart: Cherubino, Idamante, Annio, Sesto etc.
  • Strauss: Octavian, Composer
  • Verdi: Oscar

Possible discussion points:

  • General vocal/artistic coaching; traditions of the role
  • Characterization through phrasing, language and interpretive details
  • Discussion of performance practices and traditions for specific roles (musical and physical)
  • Baroque ornamentation
  • Male physicality - Discussion/demonstration and practice of body language in a male context—how to walk, move, use the body

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