“‘Visceral’ is a word that comes to mind when the subject is Fides Krucker. So is “sensual.” Reviewers of Krucker’s singing performances have often noted her range of primal sounds and bizarre utterances, forms of expression that seem to have their source in parts of the body way beyond the voice box…
Once given permission to sing, Krucker was fearless.”
Toronto Star – Apr. 9, 2002
‘Singing out with the voices of many women’
“The acclaimed mezzo-soprano is one of Canada’s foremost divas of contemporary music, revered for her gutsy experimentation, both vocally and emotionally. Says long-time collaborator Wende Bartley: “While there are many singers willing to perform new music, many are unwilling to explore to the full limit of their voice. Fides jumps at the chance to go in any direction that a composer would like to travel.
For her part, Krucker is drawn to contemporary works because they, unlike the standard opera repertoire, allow her the potential to discover extended vocal techniques and voice manipulation. “There’s a stimulating energy,” she says, “about collaborating with living composers. In working through a piece in the studio, you have a greater sense of the bridge between theatre and music. The singer is forced to use the chakras of the entire body, rather than stopping, as more conventional singers do, at the diaphragm.” And Bartley adds: “Opera singers aren’t inclined to go into the visceral, primal, sexual, lower energy centres of the body. Fides is one of the few who understands the importance of this exploration. We both know how hard it is to be in our own voice as a woman…
Krucker, who fashioned the libretto from various Carson writings, first came across the poet/essayist through her article The Gender of Sound. Carson is director of graduate studies in McGill’s classics department and her specialty area is Ancient Greece. The article describes how the voices of women of that time were controlled by the patriarchal society and how scholars have coined the phrase “sumptuous destitution” to describe female silence. Explains Krucker: “The Ancient Greek physicians believed that the openings of both a woman’s vagina and her mouth were connected. For example, a voice could telegraph the fact that a woman was menstruating, or that she had lost her virginity, and because of this vocal and sexual relationship, strict controls were put on women about when they could use their voices in society.” Bartley and Krucker were particularly fascinated by the ololyga, a piercing female outcry that represents either intense pleasure or intense pain, and which had its roots in the Goddess worship that preceded the Greek patriarchy. “Women were forbidden to perform the ololyga within city walls,” explains Krucker. “This special sound was only permitted at regulated female rituals outside the city gates.”
The Globe and Mail – Wednesday, April 10, 2002
‘Finding the voice of truth: A new-music premiere by Fides Krucker ponders female oppression and identity’
By PAULA CITRON
“AN EVENING SPENT WITH FIDES Krucker is always an extraordinary event. In her new cabaret work, A Little Rain Never Hurt No One (the title comes from a Tom Waits song that opens and closes the show), Krucker wails, croons and seduces the audience with material ranging from Arnold Schoenberg and Rodgers and Hart to Prince and Leonard Cohen.
With a smoky voice and amazing vocal technique, she can excite or chill the listener as she turns instantly from intentionally raspy notes to honeyed phrases. My Funny Valentine alternates angry expression and innocent enticement, while she turns Antonio Carlos Jobim’s Insensitive into a quiet, low-key monologue, accompanied by pianist Sageev Oore on a tinkly toy piano.
Krucker turns up the blues quotient with Dan Fisher’s Good Morning Heartache, plays on an empty olive-oil can as the musical break in The Girl From Ipanema — to which she adds tricky syncopation — and bounces vocal dissonances off Oore’s piano melody in Cole Porter’s Every Time I Say Goodbye. Hell, with her amazing control, she even uses her voice like a kazoo, sliding through the notes of Am I Blue? and finally turning it into a torch song to end all torch songs. “
“Astounding singer/actor fides Krucker could give vocal and dramatic life to the death yowls of a wild beast. At times in the three-part The Girl With No Door On Her Mouth, that’s what she seems to do. And I mean that in the best way. Krucker’s voice stretches octaves, and the emotional truths she brings to these pieces range as broadly under the co-direction of Mark Christmann and sound design by Darren Copeland. Gavin Bryars’ The White Lodge, to a French text by Jules Verne, is, on the surface, a meditative piece dealing with phosphorescent marine algae — not the most theatrically exciting of subjects — but Krucker’s work and the extraordinary lighting by Philip Beesley, Dereck Revington and Jim Ruxton create a mesmerizing 17 minutes.
The Mercy Suite, adapted from the opera Down Here On Earth by Rainer Wiens and Victoria Ward, features a homeless woman who’s had an abortion, her mind jumping from children to the moon and angels, and her voice from deep, rough groans to coloratura heights. The title multimedia piece, with music by Wende Bartley and text by poet Anne Carson, uses a feminist framework to examine the mind/ body duality, as Krucker’s character progresses — with ironic humour — from repression to freedom.
The contemporary scores — electroacoustic tape, prepared guitar, variously coloured percussive sounds and more — won’t appeal to everyone, but it’s hard not to be drawn into Krucker’s allure, especially in the small venue. She can sing with dead-on accuracy, mine the overtone sounds in the crevices between notes and ululate wordless chants with eerie vocal magic. An hypnotic show.”
Now Magazine- Thursday, April 18, 2002
‘Vivid Vocalizing: Krucker Sells Unusual Music Dramas’