Alma Fohström : kansainvälinen primadonna

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Title: Alma Fohström : kansainvälinen primadonna
Author: Toivakka, Svetlana
Contributor: University of Helsinki, Faculty of Arts, Department of Philosophy, History, Culture and Art Studies
Publisher: Helsingin yliopisto
Date: 2015-03-28
Language: fi
Thesis level: Doctoral dissertation (monograph)
Abstract: The Finnish coloratura soprano Alma Fohström (1856-1936) was one of the most famous opera singers at the end of the 19th and early 20th centuries, a veritable prima donna. Her musical training was based on the Italian bel canto tradition; for her the coloratura style was easy. The singer’s range extended from a low ‘a’ to a high ‘f’ (a–f3). Alma Fohström’s repertoire included 40 opera roles of which Donizetti’s Lucia and Verdi’s Violetta and Gilda were her most successful. During her cosmopolitan career Alma Fohström established her name on four continents: Europe, Asia, North- and South America. She appeared at, amongst others, La Scala, Milan, London’s Covent Garden, the Vienna State Opera, the Kroll Opera in Berlin, the Teatro Imperial in Rio de Janeiro and the Teatro Colón in Buenos Aires. Alma Fohström visited the USA on two occasions and appeared in Washington at the White House as well as in many state capitals. During the 1888–1889 season she was the first Finnish prima donna to sing at the New York Metropolitan. The Imperial Bolshoi Opera in Moscow engaged her as a soloist from 1890 through to 1899. Following the end of her performing career she taught at the St. Petersburg, Berlin and Helsinki Conservatories. Old opera traditions are not just cherished, and new created, only in large and well-known opera houses. Fortunately impressions have remained also of those places, which have remained in their shadow. This study mainly examines Alma Fohström’s activities in these venues. In Alma Fohström’s case, by prima donna is meant her activities as a soloist in an opera company as well as her unique position as a celebrated singer in her own time. This study especially concentrates on Alma Fohström’s professional profile and comprises of three areas: the singer’s essential abilities, her supporting network and her status in society. In the analytical chapters she is compared with other well-known international prima donnas of her time such as Adelina Patti, Marchella Sembrich and Félia Litvinne and, in Finland, Emmy Achté. This study’s aim is to be a contribution to the music history of the performing arts and particularly the prima donna tradition. The thesis reconstructs Alma Fohström’s life work by examining it as an interaction on both a micro and macro level viewed from different perspectives. These perspectives are called micro-historical views, the focus of which are the Helsinki University Great Hall, and both the auditoria and behind the scenes of opera houses.Suomalainen koloratuurisopraano Alma Fohström (1856-1936) oli yksi 1800-luvun lopun ja 1900-luvun alun tunnetuimpia oopperalaulajattaria, varsinainen primadonna. Primadonnalla tarkoitetaan Alma Fohströmin kohdalla hänen toimintaansa solistina oopperaseurueissa sekä juhlitun laulajattaren erikoisasemaa omana aikanaan. Työ keskittyy erityisesti Alma Fohströmin ammatilliseen profiiliin; se jäsentyy kolmeen osa-alueeseen: laulajattaren varsinaisiin taitoihin, tukiverkostoon sekä yhteiskunnalliseen statukseen. Analyysiluvuissa häntä verrataan muihin hänen aikakautensa kuuluisiin kansainvälisiin primadonniin, kuten Adelina Pattiin, Marchella Sembrichiin ja Félia Litvinneen sekä kotimaassa Emmy Achtéhen. Tämä työ pyrkii olemaan kontribuutio esittävän säveltaiteen historian tutkimukseen ja erityisesti primadonna-traditioon. Väitöskirjassa rekonstruoidaan Alma Fohströmin elämäntyötä tarkastelemalla sen mikro- ja makrotasojen vuorovaikutussuhteita erilaisista perspektiiveistä. Näitä perspektiivejä kutsutaan mikrohistorialliseksi katseeksi, joka kohdistuu Helsingin yliopiston juhlasaliin, oopperatalojen katsomoihin ja kulissien taa.
Subject: musiikkitiede
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