Soprano Elizabeth Dobbin holds an Arts/Law degree with first class honours from the University of Sydney and a master’s degree in early music singing from the Royal Conservatorium in Den Haag. She was a founding member of the ensemble Le Jardin Secret, with whom she won the first prize and audience prize at the 2007 International Young Artists’ Early Music Network Competition in York. Elizabeth works extensively across Europe, appearing as a soloist in oratoria and as a chamber musician in festivals. Her discography includes recordings for Coro, Alpha, Pentatone Classics, Aliud Records, ORF and Fuga Libera.
The airs sérieux in the Recueils d’airs sérieux et à boire de différents auteurs, 1695-1724: singing and gallant conversation
Every month from 1695 to 1724, the Ballard music printing house in Paris published a collection of vocal works entitled the Recueils d’airs sérieux et à boire de différents auteurs. The publication rhythm of the collection made this a reactive series, which responded to the musical tastes of its market audience. Work done to date on an earlier Ballard publication of airs suggests that airs were sung as accompanying embellishments to, or even as substitutes for, the conversations that the cultural elite engaged in within the context of salon entertainment. However, despite the significant role played by the Recueils as a barometer on musical taste, little scholarly attention has been devoted to this source of vocal repertoire. The question as to how the airs sérieux in the collection would have been performed also remains unanswered.
This study investigates in depth the airs sérieux in the Recueils. Using information gathered from an examination of the many references to the singing of this genre in contemporaneous literature, diaries, treatises, and art, the original salon performance context of the air will be re-constructed. Such a re-construction will aim to demonstrate that by embedding the performance of song within gallant conversation as practised in the seventeenth- and early-eighteenth-century salon, subtle but significant differences are discernible for the singer and audience alike.
Insights gained from this endeavour will be documented in order to foster an understanding of the way in which the performance of the serious air requires a vocal approach which draws on, yet is also distinct from, the practices of singing French stage and operatic music from the same period. It is hoped that one of the by-products of the present study will be to promote an awareness of the relatively unknown Recueils as an equally rich source of vocal treasures.
Grants and awards
- 1st prize and audience prize - Early Music Network International Young Artists' Competition, York (2007)
- John Maddison Law Foundation Scholarship (1994)
- The Webb prize for distinction (1992, 1993)
- Maccallum Prize for English Literature (1991)
- Maude Stiles Prize for a woman student in English 1 (1991)
- Josiah Symon Scholarship no 1 (1991)