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The ‘Deaf Ear’ of Classicism: Searching for the Female Voice in French Tragédie Lyrique

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  07 June 2006


This article considers the paradoxical manifestations of rejection or suspicion concerning the voice and the feminine at the very moment of the creation of tragédie lyrique at the end of the seventeenth century in France. It examines the relationship between these elements and asks what they have in common that may be perceived as threatening. What is at stake is not only the period's capacity to experiment with pleasure through the elaboration of rules, but also, beyond this delimited historical perspective, the appreciation of the element of danger that is inherent in the experience of any artistic performance, and the roles played by the voice and the feminine in such an experience.

International Federation for Theatre Research 2006

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This article is based on the essay awarded the IFTR New Scholar's Prize in 2005.