PhD Ceremony Jed Wentz

PhD defense

9 december 2010 (11.15)

Leiden University

Baroque flautist Jed Wentz followed two years of dancing classes in order to develop the right feeling for the gestures required for the Baroque French opera genre ‘tragédie en musique’. On December 9th, 2010 Wentz defended his PhD thesis on the subject at the University of Leiden. 


Wentz’s theoretical and practical research culminated in eight performances which he recorded on video. He chose four monologues from three tragédies en musique and of these he recorded both a sung and a spoken (by himself) version. He reached the conclusion that gestures might very well have influenced rhythm; in his reconstructions this was certainly the case. Wentz showed this by performing the music both with and without gesticulating singers. The difference was obvious.

Another conclusion is that gestures also strengthen the emotions that the music arouses in the audience. In other words: the road the Baroque opera of those days took to the hearts of its audience may have been different from the naturalistic approach preferred nowadays, but both have an emotional impact on the audience.