By Wendy Heller

ISBN-10: 0520209338

ISBN-13: 9780520209336

Opera constructed in the course of a time while the location of women--their rights and freedoms, their virtues and vices, or even the main uncomplicated substance in their sexuality--was regularly debated. lots of those controversies manifested themselves within the illustration of the historic and mythological girls whose voices have been heard at the Venetian operatic level. Drawing upon a fancy internet of early glossy assets and historical texts, this attractive learn is the 1st finished remedy of girls, gender, and sexuality in seventeenth-century opera. Wendy Heller explores the operatic manifestations of girl chastity, energy, transvestism, androgyny, and hope, displaying how the rising style used to be formed by means of and infused with the Republic's flavor for the erotic and its ambivalent attitudes towards girls and sexuality.

Heller starts off through studying modern Venetian writings approximately gender and sexuality that prompted the improvement of woman vocality in opera. The Venetian reception and transformation of historic texts--by Ovid, Virgil, Tacitus, and Diodorus Siculus--form the history for her penetrating analyses of the musical and dramatic illustration of 5 impressive ladies as provided in operas via Claudio Monteverdi, Francesco Cavalli, and their successors in Venice: Dido, queen of Carthage (Cavalli); Octavia, spouse of Nero (Monteverdi); the nymph Callisto (Cavalli); Queen Semiramis of Assyria (Pietro Andrea Ziani); and Messalina, spouse of Claudius (Carlo Pallavicino).

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Extra info for Emblems of Eloquence: Opera and Women's Voices in Seventeenth-Century Venice

Example text

Indeed, he codified the ways in which certain ancient sources would be used to describe women in the early modern period, endowing them with many of the ambivalent characteristics that would be used in nearly all subsequent representations, including opera. ” Boccaccio’s heroines do not achieve their celebrated status by excelling as ordinary women—as mothers or wives in the private world of the family—but rather by transcending the conventionally held limitations of their gender through their unusual forays into the public world of men.

Chapters 3 and 4 introduce us to two important heroines from operas set to librettos by Incognito Giovanni Francesco Busenello: Dido, queen of Carthage, in Francesco Cavalli’s La Didone (1641) and Octavia, wife of Nero, in Claudio Monteverdi’s L’incoronazione di Poppea (1643). Both of these operas confront in varying ways the problem of female rule and chastity lost or enforced; these are women who lament their abandonment and loss of power, adopting behaviors and modes of expression whose treatment contradicts their representations in the ancient sources while at the same time reflecting their Incogniti genesis.

The hexachords themselves belong to “systems”— either cantus durus or cantus mollis, designated by the presence or absence of the one-flat key signature. While there is much about seventeenth-century tonal language that we do not understand, this way of thinking provides a useful framework in which to understand the many works that only partially conform to modern tonal practice. All of this, of course, only complicates the question of how one both analyzes and describes this music, and to what extent the use of terminology based on tonal practices—key areas, dominant, tonic, modulation—is appropriate or desirable.

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Emblems of Eloquence: Opera and Women's Voices in Seventeenth-Century Venice by Wendy Heller


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