“Text, subtext, context - Gestures between Stanislavskij and the Baroque”



Deda Cristina Colonna (it)

MARCH 22 - 23, 2013

ll the necessary changes in the voice, pauses and dotted notes, it will always be languid and weak, unless it is accompanied by a suitable action. This is what gives your speech strength, expression and vividness. Gesture wonderfully expresses the character you are trying to represent. Action is what ultimately shapes a true actor; […] the greatness and the beauty of an actor consists in action: actio, actio, actio.”
(Giovanni Battista Mancini, Riflessioni pratiche sopra il canto figurato, Milano 1777)


PLACE: Blågårds Kirke,
Blågårds Plads 6A, 2200 København N
Active participants: 300 dkk per day.
Passive participants: 100 dkk per day.


Speak the music: the function of action and gesture in singing
Baroque opera is now a growing part of the repertory for an increasing number of theatres and opera houses. Singers feel the need to enhance their knowledge of the theatrical aspects of this repertory and in this workshop, acting is taught with a specific approach for singers, concentrating on the relationship between the word – both spoken and sung -, action and gesture. Performance practice, as influenced by the study of rhetorical gestures, is viewed as a practical tool, enhancing the performer’s abilities; a continuity is established between the baroque stage and Stanislavskji!

• From the spoken word, to gesture and to music: what’s on the composer’s mind?
• Text, gesture and subtext, or how to fit Stanislavskji on the baroque stage: what do I say, what do I mean?
• Sung words representing singing, thinking and talking: the different levels within recits and arias
• Exchanging words and meaning: the dialogue or the art of direction and intention in speech
• The baroque theatrical body; proxemics on stage
• Rhetorical gestures, or how the ornament carries the meaning of a phrase: objective gestures, subjective gestures, gestures that mirror the musical line

• Individual coaching on arias, duets or scenes (repertoire c. 1600-1750)

Continuo: There will be a continuo player present in the class (440 & 415). Pls bring min. 2 sets of music.

Registration: Send short CV and repertoire idea to:

More info from Björn Ross -

Deda Cristina Colonna graduated in ballet from Civico Istituto Musicale Brera in Novara and Ecole Supérieure d’Etudes Chorégraphiques in Paris. She holds a degree in dance from the Sorbonne, where she specialised in Baroque Dance and Italian/French Renaissance Dance. She worked as a soloist and guest choreographer with The New York Baroque Dance Company.
She graduated from the Acting School of Teatro Stabile di Genova and she acted in various productions ranging from Shakespeare to Cechov and Genet, in Italy, France and Germany.
She choreographed the dances and the baroque gesturing of many operas and ballets, especially of the baroque and classical repertoire, working with directors as Pier Luigi Pizzi, (with whom she also worked ad assistant director: Tearo alla Scala, Teatro San Carlo di Napoli, Teatro dell’Opera di Roma, Teatro Lirico di Cagliari, Teatro delle Muse- Ancona, Teatro Real – Madrid) Guido De Monticelli, Antonio Latella.
She has given regular courses or masterclasses in baroque dance and acting at Nuova Fabbrica dell'Opera Barocca in Novara, Ohio State University Department of Dance, Scuola Civica di Milano and numerous Conservatories in Italy and abroad.
Her research on baroque dance was published in the proceedings of numerous international conferences.
She is the Director of the Dance School of Civico Istituto Brera in Novara.
She has recently begun her career as a director-choreographer, staging original works like “Voluptas Dolendi I gesti del Caravaggio” (with Mara Galassi) and “Tetraktys, ovvero la prima età del mondo”, a new ballet inspired by Marivaux’s “La dispute” set to music by Haendel. She has directed and choreographed numerous operas from the baroque repertoire such as "Mulier Fortis" by J.B. Staut (University of Pavia/Cremona), "La serva scaltra" by J.A. Hasse (Teatro Coccia – Novara) , "Il ritorno di Ulisse in patria", "L'Orfeo" and “L’incoronazione di Poppea” by C. Monteverdi (Accademia Internazionale della Musica – Milano), "La liberazione di Ruggero dall'Isola di Alcina" by F. Caccini and "La Diana Schernita" by G. Cornacchioli (Teatro Jovellanos - Gijon, Spain), "The Fairy Queen" by H. Purcell and “Così fan tutte” by W.A. Mozart (Teatro Sociale di Como /As.Li.Co.), “Orfeo, a ba-rock opera” (XII Festival de Musica Antigua de Gijòn, Spain), “Euridice” by J. Peri (Teatro di Budrio), “ Ottone in villa” by A. Vivaldi (Innsbrucker Festwochen der Alten Musik) and “La Rappresentatione di Anima, et di Corpo” by E. de’ Cavalieri (Nordic Network For Early Opera/Copenhagen Renaissance Music Festival), “L’Incoronazione di Poppea” by C. Monteverdi at the Copenhagen Royal Theatre, “Il Giasone” by F. Cavalli at Drottningholm Slottsteater, Stockholm.  
Upcoming projects include the staging of “Il matrimonio segreto” by Cimarosa at Drottningholm Slottsteater in May 2013 and Acis and Galatea with Concerto Copenhagen at Copenhagen Opera Festival in July 2013.

This course is a organised by Nordic Network for Early Opera in collaboration with Copenhagen Renaissance Music Festival on the occasion of The European Day of Early Music 2013.
Supported by The Danish Art Council.