Gender Politics in Puccini’s Operas

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This chapter is about Puccini’s operas and gender politics. It explains that Puccini’s operas have been read as particularly damaged and damaging in their representation of women, but argues that a nuanced study of gender in these works needs to look beyond a simple ‘body count’. The author examines how male and female deaths are differentiated musically, arguing that the former are contained and lacking in self-expression, whereas the latter tend to be extravagant and extended. The chapter discusses how gender has been considered in the Puccini literature, paying particular attention to Mosco Carner’s Freudian psychoanalytic reading of the works. It also examines Puccini’s own attitudes towards gender, so far as they are known. The chapter closes with a discussion of queer interpretations of Puccini’s oeuvre, a growing criticism of Puccini’s gender politics by feminist musicologists, and the recent casting of transgender and non-binary performers in Puccini’s works.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationPuccini in Context
EditorsAlexandra Wilson
Place of PublicationCambridge
PublisherCambridge University Press
ISBN (Electronic)9781108891028
ISBN (Print)9781108835589
Publication statusPublished - Sept 2023

Publication series

NameComposers in Context
PublisherCambridge University Press


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