Women in opera plots [participation]

In the chapter of her book we are reading for today, Catherine Clément critiques the plots of operas that end in the heroine’s death. In other sections of her book, she shows other ways that things don’t seem to turn out well for female characters and demonstrates that operas can reinforce gender stereotypes in a number of different ways.

Search through the opera plots in the Metropolitan Opera’s plot summary database (see www.metoperafamily.org/metopera/history) or a similar site. Pick an opera or two from the nineteenth or early twentieth century. How are the female characters treated? Can you identify any strong female characters? Be prepared to BRIEFLY summarize the plot for the class. You should also try to find an audio or audio-visual example of a key scene for one of the female characters.

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