Gender, Sexuality, and Eroticism on the Lyric Stage

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edited by Mark Everist and Jennifer Walker, Turnhout, Brepols, 2024, (Speculum Musicae, 55).

The lyric stage has long been a cultural site at which constructions of gender and sexuality have been curated, mitigated and, at times, hindered by musical performance. From the castrati of the seventeenth century to Mozart and Massenet’s cross-dressed Cherubinos, musical works created for operatic and popular stages have often complicated traditional and normative readings of the gender and sexual identities of their featured characters, allowing composers, performers, and audiences to move beyond simplistic biological understandings of gender and sex.

Often, too, the erotically charged sights and sounds of such productions called into question the very instability of the normative identities that European societies presumed integral to their social codes. This volume explores these issues and other recent approaches to gender, sexuality, and eroticism on the lyric stage.

Fourteen case studies explore these topics through various geographical, historical, and musical perspectives: from Italian opera seria to Parisian music hall ballet and Greek operetta during the interwar, these often-intersectional studies shed new light on the complex—yet often complementary—ways in which the concepts of gender, sexuality, and eroticism were exhibited on various stages and understood by their contemporary European audiences.

Mark Everist is Professor of Music at the University of Southampton. He is the author of eight monographs, has published over 80 articles in peer-reviewed journals and collections of essays, and is the recipient of the Solie (2010) and Slim (2011) awards of the American Musicological Society. He was visiting professor at the Sorbonne in 2021-2022 and has been elected to a fellowship at the French Institute of Advanced Studies for 2024-2025.

Jennifer Walker is an Assistant Professor of Musicology at West Virginia University. Her first monograph was the 2022 winner of the American Musicological Society’s H. Robert Cohen/RIPM Award, and her book on Hector Berlioz’s Requiem is in press with Oxford University Press. Other articles and book chapters have appeared or are forthcoming in Berlioz and His World, The Cambridge History of Christian Sacred Music since 1500, Cambridge Opera Journal, and the Journal of Music Criticism.

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