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Verdi, Wagner, polymorphous perversion, Puccini, Brunnhilde, Pinkerton, and Parsifal all rub shoulders in this delightful, poetic, insightful, sexual book sprung by one man's physical response to the power and exaggeration we call opera. Sam Abel applies a light touch as he considers the topic of opera and the eroticized body: Why do audiences respond to opera in a visceral way? How does opera, like no other art form, physically move watchers? How and why does opera arouse feelings akin to sexual desire? Abel seeks the answers to these questions by examining homoerotic desire, the phenomenon of the castrati, operatic cross-dressing, and opera as presented through the media.In this deeply personal book, Abel writes, These pages map my current struggles to pin down my passion for opera, my intense admiration for its aesthetic forms and beauties, but much more my astonishment at how opera makes me lose myself, how it consumes me.” In so doing, Abel uncovers what until now, through dry musicology and gossipy history, had been left behind a wall of silence: the physical and erotic nature of opera. Although Abel can speak with certainty only about his own visceral response to opera, he provides readers with a language and a resonance with which to understand their own experiences. Ultimately, Opera in the Flesh celebrates the power of opera to move audiences as no other book has done. It is indeed a treasure of scholarship, passion, and poetry for everyone with even a passing interest in this fascinating art form.
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It is no secret that opera has long been a central part of gay male sensibility and culture, and Sam Abel's Opera in the Flesh is an intelligent, bracing analysis of why the very underpinnings of the art--sex--appeal to homosexuals. Able uses opera history, biography, and texts to illustrate his point that full engagement with this musical form is a sexual experience. This controversial thesis--one you would never hear on Opera Quiz, or read in Opera News is argued with verve, intelligence, and passion--the very qualities that make great opera singers. Opera in the Flesh is indispensable for all opera queens or anyone interested in gay culture.From Library Journal:
Abel's thesis is that "erotic energy is the mainstay of opera's appeal"; his method is "to use sexuality, gay and otherwise, as a means to explore my experience of opera." Thus, his book constantly shifts from the first- to the third-person narrative perspective while pursuing a somewhat disconcertingly hybrid methodology combining roughly 40 percent confessional, 40 percent cultural theory (largely borrowed), and 20 percent scholarship. When he draws on historical sources, as in his chapters on castrati and cross-dressing and in his exegeses of individual operas, Abel can be both illuminating and stimulating. He compels us, largely through moving accounts of his reactions to music such as the Trio from Der Rosenkavalier, to understand his visceral reactions to opera. Abel's project, however, was interrupted midway through its writing by the publication of Wayne Koestenbaum's similarly personal but ultimately more engaging The Queen's Throat: Opera, Homosexuality, and the Mystery of Desire (LJ 1/93), from which Abel goes to considerable length to distinguish his ideas?sometimes defensively and simplistically. Perhaps a useful supplement to Michel Poizat's heterocentric The Angels Cry: Beyond the Pleasure Principle in Opera (LJ 5/1/96), this is recommended only for comprehensive collections of opera, gender, and queer studies.?Robert Melton, Univ. of Kansas, Lawrence
Copyright 1996 Reed Business Information, Inc.
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Book Description Westview Press, 1996. Hardcover. Condition: New. Seller Inventory # DADAX0813329000
Book Description Westview Press, 1996. Condition: New. book. Seller Inventory # M0813329000
Book Description WESTVIEW PRESS, BOULDER, CO, 1996. Enc.original de tapa dura. Condition: New. 1ª edición.. ABEL, S. OPERA IN THE FLESH. SEXUALITY IN OPERATIC PERFORMANCE [HARDBACK] . BOULDER, CO, 1996, xv 235 p. fotografias Encuadernacion original. Nuevo. 575 gr. Libro. Seller Inventory # 38169
Book Description Condition: New. New. Seller Inventory # STR-0813329000