Presentation Type

Oral Presentation

Keywords

opera, gender, fairy-tales, music, performance

Department

Music

Major

Theatre Arts Directing Emphasis

Abstract

Cendrillon by Jules Massenet raises questions about gender in performance as the character of the Prince is sung by a woman which is combined with the complex nature of Cendrillon’s transformation from daughter to wife. To better understand the use and portrayal of gender in Cendrillon, I examine the history of the trouser role in opera, the phenomenon of the female initiation in fairy-tales, and the concept of the binary categories and performances of the voice. In a pre-feminist context the female voice of the Prince highlights his youth, further equates high pitches to heroic natures, and adds a sense of sentimentality and dreaminess to the opera. However, in a feminist context, the Prince creates a sense of empowerment to the intiation journey that Cendrillon goes through as she leaves her father’s house to join the home of the Prince who is another female voice on the stage. These lenses combined highlight the importance of dreams within the opera and at the same time distance the portrayal of gender from the world that the audience is in and the world of Cendrillon.

Faculty Mentor

Keith Colclough

Presentation Session

Session A

Start Date

23-4-2021 4:30 PM

End Date

23-4-2021 4:45 PM

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Apr 23rd, 4:30 PM Apr 23rd, 4:45 PM

Gender in Massenet’s Cendrillon

Cendrillon by Jules Massenet raises questions about gender in performance as the character of the Prince is sung by a woman which is combined with the complex nature of Cendrillon’s transformation from daughter to wife. To better understand the use and portrayal of gender in Cendrillon, I examine the history of the trouser role in opera, the phenomenon of the female initiation in fairy-tales, and the concept of the binary categories and performances of the voice. In a pre-feminist context the female voice of the Prince highlights his youth, further equates high pitches to heroic natures, and adds a sense of sentimentality and dreaminess to the opera. However, in a feminist context, the Prince creates a sense of empowerment to the intiation journey that Cendrillon goes through as she leaves her father’s house to join the home of the Prince who is another female voice on the stage. These lenses combined highlight the importance of dreams within the opera and at the same time distance the portrayal of gender from the world that the audience is in and the world of Cendrillon.