Bravo! Brava!: Gender, Opera, and The Marriage of Figaro
Boston Lyric Opera
The opera stage is a place of play and possibility, especially when it comes to the rules of gender. Women often portray men—or even depict men pretending to be women—delighting audiences with inversions and transformations that titillate, amuse, and often illuminate greater truths. Dr. Laurence Senelick, professor, actor, director, and author of the leading study of stage cross-dressing, delves into the rich tradition of gender-bending on the operatic stage, illustrated through musical examples performed by Boston Lyric Opera artists. With a central focus on the hilarious and poignant Cherubino scene in Mozart’s The Marriage of Figaro, this performance will survey the men and women of the operatic stage from the eighteenth century through the twentieth—in all states of dress.
The evening will include performances of selected scenes from Mozart’s The Marriage of Figaro (opening at Boston Lyric Opera this April), Handel’s Partenope, and Strauss’ Der Rosenkavalier.
Laurence Senelick, PhD, is Fletcher Professor of Drama and Oratory at Tufts University, specializing in Russian theatre and gender and performance. He has been named a Distinguished Scholar by both the American Society of Theatre Research and the Faculty Research Awards Council of Tufts University. Senelick is a Fellow of the College of American Theatre and the American Academy of Arts and Sciences and former Fellow of the John Simon Guggenheim Foundation and the Institute for Advanced Studies in Berlin. He holds the St. George medal of the Russian Ministry of Culture for services to Russian art and scholarship, and is honorary curator of Russian theatre at the Harvard Theatre Collection. Senelick is the author or editor of more than 25 books, including The Changing Room: Sex, Drag and Theatre. At Tufts, he has also directed his own translations of The Inspector General, The Bakkhai, and Anything to Declare?
Boston Lyric Opera is the largest and longest-lived opera company in New England, with a mission to build curiosity, enthusiasm and support for opera by creating musically and theatrically compelling productions, events, and educational resources for the Boston community and beyond. Since its founding in 1976, the company has staged world premieres, US premieres, co-productions, and co-commissions of note with organizations such as the Royal Opera, Covent Garden, and the Scottish Opera, and it continues to be a destination for some of the leading artists, conductors, directors, and designers from around the world.
Schedule an appointment in the Vershbow Special Collections Reading Room to read a tract containing correspondence between John Jay, Esq. and Mr. Lewis Littlepage, who was described as, “a young man whom Mr. Jay, when in Spain, patronized and took into his family.” A handwritten letter by E. Quincy dated January 21, 1865, and mounted on the verso of the title page of the tract, claims that John Quincy Adams believed Littlepage to be the inspiration for the character of Cherubin in The Marriage of Figaro.
To register, follow the registration button on the right. If you would prefer your information to pre-populate, log in to your My Athenæum Profile. To log in to your My Athenæum Profile click on the profile icon found in the upper right corner of each page on our website.
If you do not yet have a profile, select “New User? Create an account” on the Profile Login page. Members create their own accounts; a username and password are not assigned when you join the Athenæum.