Hypocrisy: Gender Roles In Opera
Topics: Opera, Gender, Gender role / Pages: 4 (925 words) / Published: May 4th, 2017

In all forms of music, but especially in vocal music, gender constructs are often portrayed in a way that either mirrors a time’s societal norms and values or in a satirical matter to draw attention to hypocrisy. Opera in particular constantly reflects the already built social constructs around the composer and the time. It is like a self-fulfilling prophesy because that music broadcasts to the general population these constructs and they are then reflected in the music. Opera shows the public how men and women are supposed to act and art imitates life (and vice versa). A classic example of gender roles in opera is Monteverdi’s Orfeo and its argued role reversal. When Orfeo laments, it seems as though he has completely taken over a feminine character, not using proper rhetoric and stumbling about musically. He does not have the same command over the audience that he had previously and even showing his emotional vulnerability gives him a more feminine role. That is only one instance of several in Orfeo in which expected gender roles are subverted. However, Monteverdi is certainly not the only composer to write an opera that challenges gender …show more content…
In the case of Monteverdi, there are several instances of gender role subversion which points to him making the conscious choice to do so. For Wagner, feminism was not the first thing on his mind and that is prevalent in most of his operas. However, in the plot of the Ring Cycle and Die Walküre, he wrote in a strong, independent heroine in Brünnhilde, or at least in her development. Don Giovanni shares the story of the womanizer who still sometimes gets sympathy from audiences as a tragic hero, although that is not the case. Each of these operas and their composers made a statement in regard to gender construction in their era’s society, some breaking it down and others portraying it to the

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