Emblems of Eloquence: Opera and Women's Voices in Seventeenth-Century Venice

By Wendy Heller | Go to book overview

Introduction

OPERA AND THE MYTHS OF VENICE

Opera in Venice developed during a period in which the position of women, their rights and freedoms, their virtues and sins, their responsibility for the fall of man, their membership in the human race, and even their possession of immortal souls were under constant debate. This polemic was waged in a variety of formats—catalogs of women, biographies, and theological arguments about the relative culpability of Adam and Eve, manuals on behavior, domestic life, or the art of love, and pornographic novelle—all testifying to the contradictory notions about women and sexuality that characterize seventeenth-century thought. Much of the controversy, however, manifested itself in the figure of the exceptional woman. Drawn from the realms of legend and history, these women were the heroines of the Venetian version of the “querelles des femmes. ” Fashioned and refashioned by poets, artists, librettists, and composers, they could attract or repel. Their images were presented to the public on canvases, engravings, and frescoed walls; their voices were heard in prose and poetry, and in the theater. As emblems of femininity, they reinforced appropriate behaviors and demonstrated the consequences of immoral actions.

Opera was an important means through which the polemic about women was waged in Venice. The intellectual patricians who were the first generation of Venetian librettists incorporated their ambivalent attitudes in what were to become operatic conventions. This can be seen in the misogynist male servants and proto-feminist elderly nurses and the creative embroidering of legend and history to suit the fancy of the librettist and the audience. Most ambivalent was the portrayal of the operatic heroine herself. Myths that depicted her as triumphant, powerful, or threatening could be rewritten so as to limit her power, heighten or reduce her sexual danger,

-1-

Notes for this page

Add a new note
If you are trying to select text to create highlights or citations, remember that you must now click or tap on the first word, and then click or tap on the last word.
One moment ...
Default project is now your active project.
Project items
Notes
Cite this page

Cited page

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Buy instant access to cite pages or passages in MLA 8, MLA 7, APA and Chicago citation styles.

(Einhorn, 1992, p. 25)

(Einhorn 25)

(Einhorn 25)

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Note: primary sources have slightly different requirements for citation. Please see these guidelines for more information.

Cited page

Bookmark this page
Emblems of Eloquence: Opera and Women's Voices in Seventeenth-Century Venice
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Title Page *
  • Contents *
  • Illustr Ations ix
  • Tables xi
  • Preface and Acknowledgments xiii
  • Editorial Principles xvii
  • Abbreviations xix
  • Introduction 1
  • Chapter 1 - The Emblematic Woman 27
  • Chapter 2 - Opera and the Accademia Degli Incogniti 48
  • Chapter 3 - Didone and the Voice of Chastity 82
  • Chapter 4 - Woman and Empire 136
  • Chapter 5 - The Nymph Calisto and the Myth of Female Pleasure 178
  • Chapter 6 - Semiramide and Musical Transvestism 220
  • Chapter 7 - Envoicing the Courtesan 263
  • Conclusions 295
  • Notes 301
  • Bibliography 353
  • Index 371
Settings

Settings

Typeface
Text size Smaller Larger Reset View mode
Search within

Search within this book

Look up

Look up a word

  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
Please submit a word or phrase above.
Print this page

Print this page

Why can't I print more than one page at a time?

Help
Full screen
Items saved from this book
  • Bookmarks
  • Highlights & Notes
  • Citations
/ 386

matching results for page

    Questia reader help

    How to highlight and cite specific passages

    1. Click or tap the first word you want to select.
    2. Click or tap the last word you want to select, and you’ll see everything in between get selected.
    3. You’ll then get a menu of options like creating a highlight or a citation from that passage of text.

    OK, got it!

    Cited passage

    Style
    Citations are available only to our active members.
    Buy instant access to cite pages or passages in MLA 8, MLA 7, APA and Chicago citation styles.

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn, 1992, p. 25).

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences."1

    1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

    Cited passage

    Thanks for trying Questia!

    Please continue trying out our research tools, but please note, full functionality is available only to our active members.

    Your work will be lost once you leave this Web page.

    Buy instant access to save your work.

    Already a member? Log in now.

    Search by... Author
    Show... All Results Primary Sources Peer-reviewed

    Oops!

    An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.