So soll Stimme aussehen

Discourse event


Alte Feuerwache / Kino



A parallel discourse format in Cologne and Hamburg on the complex of voice, body and singing.

Human voices are not just any instruments of articulation, i. e. objects, but are directly physically and psychologically connected to physical, feeling, thinking, acting subjects. As such, they are also culturally, historically, socially and medially shaped as well as aesthetically standardised, staged, marketed and fetishised. In opera and concert, they obey certain sound ideals and forms of presentation. This can be traced back to training, which sets clearly defined guidelines with regard to voice pitches, vocal compartments and voice types. The outer appearance of the singers always plays a major role: it should correspond to certain ideals of beauty, gender roles, marketing aspects, ideas of direction. The complex of body, voice and singing is shaped by interests and power structures that influence art production and the people involved in it.

Music theatre scholar Dr. Ulrike Hartung and musicologist Prof. Dr. Rainer Nonnenmann will talk to two personalities from the fields of singing and directing in two panel discussions at SPARK in Cologne and 49 Stunden Stimme X in Hamburg. To what extent can work and power structures be thematised in music-theatrical performances? Can there be such a thing as “vocal empowerment”? What are the different results of the different structures and work processes at opera houses and in independent productions? What do these places, institutions and modes of production do to voices? Is it about representation or about presence? Is voice more object or subject? How do roles and characters from libretti and scores confront their own ideas and constitutions of body, age, gender, ethnicity, language, temperament? How uni- or ambiguous, identity-political or diverse can voice be? How do the possibilities of voices in contemporary music theatre reflect our own modes of expression and perception as audiences?


Duration: 2 hours

“This is what voice should look like” takes place in context of HK-X, supported by the Performing Arts Fund with funds from the Federal Government Commissioner for Culture and the Media in the context of NEUSTART KULTUR.


  • Dr. Ulrike Hartung

    moderation, discourse director

  • Kerstin Steeb


  • Lisa Schmalz