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Desire and Pleasure in Seventeenth-Century Music$
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Susan McClary

Print publication date: 2012

Print ISBN-13: 9780520247345

Published to California Scholarship Online: September 2012

DOI: 10.1525/california/9780520247345.001.0001

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Gender Ambiguities and Erotic Excess in the Operas of Cavalli

Gender Ambiguities and Erotic Excess in the Operas of Cavalli

(p.104) Chapter 4 Gender Ambiguities and Erotic Excess in the Operas of Cavalli
Desire and Pleasure in Seventeenth-Century Music

Susan Mcclary

University of California Press

“Gender Ambiguities and Erotic Excess” approaches the often-bizarre gender configurations on the Venetian stage through the debates surrounding the boy-actor problem in the plays of Shakespeare. The operas of Francesco Cavalli feature not only castrati in leading male roles but also plots hinging on mistaken identities that offer the frisson of same-sex entanglements. Instead of trying to explain away these idiosyncrasies, the chapter explores the pleasures and hints of illicit desires that made Cavalli's operas so popular.

Keywords:   boy actors in Shakespeare, Francesco Cavalli, Giasone, Calisto, gender, sexuality

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