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Title: The Siren Subverted: The Role of Violetta Valery in Giuseppe Verdi's 'La traviata' (1853)
Contributor(s): Ellsmore, Caroline Anne (author); Stoessel, Jason  (supervisor)orcid ; Goldsworthy, David  (supervisor); de Ferranti, Hugh  (supervisor)
Conferred Date: 2011
Copyright Date: 2010
Open Access: Yes
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Abstract: This thesis addresses a two-fold proposition: that Giuseppe Verdi used the term 'posizione' as a concept for which he designed musical strategies and that, in relation to Verdi's 'La traviata', the term 'posizione' can also be viewed within the broader context of its social implications for the character of the courtesan, Violetta, and for the singer of the role. Verdi's musical strategies provide signifiers for the social space as well as the emotional states and responses of Violetta as her 'posizione' changes throughout the opera. They also demand from the singer of the role a variety of vocal techniques as these changes occur. The initial necessity of virtuosic 'coloratura' control is relinquished by degrees and replaced by the necessity for other tactics during the course of the opera. It is my argument that there is an historical correlation between the social space of the courtesan and that of the female singer. The power of each has relied on the ability to seduce client or audience through elements of display which have also involved vocal virtuosity. This has assisted in causing a conflation of the identities of courtesan and female singer to be made by audiences of the nineteenth and early twentieth centuries. The narrative and musical strategies of 'La traviata' as revealed by critical analysis require novel tactical responses from both singer and audience as the expected seductive qualities of the singer-as-courtesan have been overturned. The possibility arises that Verdi's use of these strategies functioned as a refutation of criticism and suspicion regarding female singers in general and his mistress Giuseppina Strepponi in particular.
Publication Type: Thesis Masters Research
Field of Research Codes: 190407 Music Performance
Rights Statement: Copyright 2010 - Caroline Anne Ellsmore
HERDC Category Description: T1 Thesis - Masters Degree by Research
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