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Contents

Music In The Seventeenth And Eighteenth Centuries

SEX OBJECTS, SEXED AND UNSEXED

Chapter:
CHAPTER 1 Opera from Monteverdi to Monteverdi
Source:
MUSIC IN THE SEVENTEENTH AND EIGHTEENTH CENTURIES
Author(s):
Richard Taruskin

The greatest screamers of all, and the most completely “educated” (that is, cultivated), were the male prima donnas known as castrati, opera’s first international stars, whose astounding sonority and preternaturally florid singing style confirmed opera in an abiding aura of the eerie. Although castrati originated not in the theater but in the churches of sixteenth-century Italy, where females could not perform but a full range of singers was desired, and where (as the historian John Roselli has put it) “choirboys were no sooner trained than lost,”10 the burgeoning commercial opera stage with its exhibitionism and its heroics gave these unearthly singers their true arena. In an age that valued finely honed symbolic artifice, these magnificent singing objects—artists made, not born—were “naturally” the gods, the generals, the athletes, and the lovers. Seventeenth-and eighteenth-century “serious opera” is unthinkable (and unrevivable) without them.

Citation (MLA):
Richard Taruskin. "Chapter 1 Opera from Monteverdi to Monteverdi." The Oxford History of Western Music. Oxford University Press. New York, USA. n.d. Web. 18 Jun. 2019. <https://www.oxfordwesternmusic.com/view/Volume2/actrade-9780195384826-div1-01005.xml>.
Citation (APA):
Taruskin, R. (n.d.). Chapter 1 Opera from Monteverdi to Monteverdi. In Oxford University Press, Music In The Seventeenth And Eighteenth Centuries. New York, USA. Retrieved 18 Jun. 2019, from https://www.oxfordwesternmusic.com/view/Volume2/actrade-9780195384826-div1-01005.xml
Citation (Chicago):
Richard Taruskin. "Chapter 1 Opera from Monteverdi to Monteverdi." In Music In The Seventeenth And Eighteenth Centuries, Oxford University Press. (New York, USA, n.d.). Retrieved 18 Jun. 2019, from https://www.oxfordwesternmusic.com/view/Volume2/actrade-9780195384826-div1-01005.xml
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