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Text, Rhythm, Action!

New Priorities in Historically Informed Performance

Andrew Lawrence-King's research and experimental, research-based productions are part of the Performance Program of the Australian Research Council's Centre of Excellence for the History of Emotions (CHE). The program is supervised by Professor Jane Davidson (University of Western Australia, Perth), working together with researchers across Australia and with international partners throughout the world.

Download "Text, Rhythm, Action!" research poster here

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Research Questions here

Research Findings here

More about "Text, Rhythm, Action!" projects here

Periods and Repertoires The Long 17th century

The main focus is the early 17th century: the beginning of the baroque. In Italy, they are inventing what we now call ‘early opera’, as well as toccata, sonata, cantata, oratorio, ballo, recitativo & basso continuo. In England, we have Shakespeare's plays and Dowland's songs.

Around the year 1600, composers were consciously developing a new kind of dramatic music, with the express aim to muovere gli affetti, to move the passions, not only conveying emotions to the audience but actually inducing an emotional response.

In the 17th century, music is audience-focused: it’s all about passion and drama, representing and embodying characters in powerfully emotional situations: The Lament of Arianna; Orpheus in Hell, pleading for Euridice; the moral conflict between Soul and Body; Hamlet’s “To be, or not to be”.

In Italy, it’s the time of Cavalieri, Peri, Caccini, Monteverdi. In France: Moliere and Lully. In England: Dowland, Shakespeare, Ben Jonson’s & Inigo Jones’ masques , Henry Purcell.

Periods and Repertoires circa 1200

We have a secondary focus around the year 1200, where the ‘medieval opera’ Ludus Danielis (The Play of Daniel) is not only the superlative performing art-work of the age, but also provided for the medieval monks of Beauvais Cathedral a moment of emotional relief within the liturgical  year in their strictly controlled, hierarchical, single-sex community.

This provocative drama raises fascinating questions about how it felt to play a secular role inside the church, how the show might have been perceived within the medieval town, perhaps even as political commentary: regional versus Paris, Bishop versus King.

Periods and Repertoires late 18th century


I’m also looking at the late 1700s, as the fashionable mechanical technology of the new French pedal harps was allied to a new playing technique and to the subtle aesthetic of Empfindsamkeit. Emotions not of drama, but of the most refined sensitivity, but all against the dramatic backdrop of the impending French Revolution.

Research Questions here
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