This book addresses the ways in which masculinity is negotiated, constructed, represented, and problematized within operatic music and practice. Although the consideration of masculine ontology and epistemology has pervaded cultural and sociological studies since the late 1980s, and masculinity has been the focus of recent if sporadic musicological discussion, the relationship between masculinity and opera has so far escaped detailed critical scrutiny. Operating from a position of sympathy with feminist and queer approaches and the phallocentric tendencies they identify, this study offers a unique perspective on the cultural relativism of opera by focusing on the male operatic subject. Anchored by musical analysis or close readings of musical discourse, the contributions take an interdisciplinary approach by also engaging with theatre, popular music, and cultural musicology scholarship. The various musical, theoretical, and socio-political trajectories of the essays are historically dispersed from seventeenth to twentieth- first-century operatic works and practices, visiting masculinity and the operatic voice, the complication or refusal of essentialist notions of masculinity, and the operatic representation of the ‘crisis’ of masculinity. This volume will not only enliven the study of masculinity in opera, but be an appealing contribution to music scholars interested in gender, history, and new musicology.
Purvis, Philip (2013) Masculinity in Opera. Available at http://openmusiclibrary.org/book/2/.