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The University of Southampton

“What is a Sängerin?” Seminar

31 January 2012
Room 1083 Music, Building 2 Highfield Campus University of Southampton SO17 1BJ

For more information regarding this seminar, please email Dr Florian Scheding at .

Event details

A Seminar by David Yearsley

Lutheran Germany in the early 18th century was rich in female singers, who found both clandestine and public opportunities to display their talents. As a girl Johann Sebastian Bach's second wife, Anna Magdalena Wilcke, had the chance to learn from many women performing professionally in her native Saxony. She would go on to land an excellent position at the court of Cöthen by the age of nineteen. But at the time of her own daughters' maturity in Leipzig a generation later, these Bach women apparently harbored no such ambitions. By examining the images and definitions of the Sängerin (female singer) in publications from Anna Magdalena Bach's lifetime, I hope to shed light on the changing expectations and restrictions attached to female performance in the period. I then discuss what these findings might tell us about the performance of Bach's Coffee Cantata and the familial and societal conflicts it satirizes and confronts.

Speaker information

David Yearsley, Cornell University. Professor in Musicology

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