Recent research in French Revolutionary culture has revealed that women composers and librettists gained access to the opera stage in unprecedented numbers in late eighteenth-century France. Although the number of women constituted still only a fraction of the total number of composers and librettists, it was an explosion as compared with earlier periods. In the fifty years between 1770 and 1820, there were five times as many women writing opera as all the women combined in the 125 years since the beginning of opera in France in 1645. This increased number of female-authored operas constituted a sufficient critical mass for some of these works to be singled out as great successes; indeed two of them, Julie Candeille's (1767–1834) libretto and music for Catherine, ou la belle fermière, and Constance de Salm's (1767–1845) libretto for Sapho (with music by J.-P.-E. Martini), ranked among the ten most-performed dramatic works in Paris during and just after the Terror, in 1793 and 1795, respectively. This article examines the ideological context in which these works were received, and asks, why, despite (or because of) the success of their works, women composers and librettists were often perceived by critics and the public as radical and subversive, especially when the messages they chose to include in their operas could be interpreted as feminist. This attitude is not surprising when one considers that the period of greatest success of female-authored opera (and of women's public activism), 1793–95, coincided with the height of the Jacobin authorities' repression of women. Despite this climate, women composers and librettists of the 1790s were surprisingly vocal in protesting their continuing exclusion from the many advantages brought about by the democratization of the institution of opera and society. This article is part of a continuing investigation by feminist scholars into the controversial meaning of the Revolution for public women, bringing nuance to earlier conclusions that women were excluded from public life during the era of the Revolution.