Opera: Desire, Disease, Death


"This fascinating book looks at well-known operas in which love, sexual desire, illness, and death are inextricably linked. The result is an unprecedented view of the operas themselves and the societies in which they were created. The book focuses on operatic representations of disease and on the ways in which operas associate illness with sexuality, gender, and desire. The authors consider the frequent operatic alliance of tuberculosis with female sexuality (as in Verdi's La Traviata and Puccini's La Boheme); the relation between venereal disease and the moral transgression or failure of male heroes (as in Wagner's Parsifal and Stravinsky's The Rake's Progress); and the association of cholera and homosexual desire in Berg's Lulu and Britten's Death in Venice. A virtuosic chapter considers how assorted operas have identified smoking with sexuality and rebellion. The conclusion considers parallels between earlier operatic representations of disease and recent cultural and scientific representations of AIDS." Title Summary field provided by Blackwell North America, Inc. All Rights Reserved

Additional information

Publisher: Place of publication:
  • Lincoln, NE
Publication year:
  • 1996


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