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The Queen's Throat: Opera, Homosexuality, and the Mystery of Desire (edition 1993)
The Queen's Throat: Opera, Homosexuality, and the Mystery of Desire by Wayne Koestenbaum
References to this work on external resources.
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Amazon.com Amazon.com Review (ISBN 0679749853, Paperback)Why do so many gay men love opera? What makes an "opera queen"? What is the connection between gay sexuality and the full-throated longing that emerges from the diva's mouth? In The Queen's Throat: Opera, Homosexuality, and the Mystery of Desire, self-proclaimed opera queen Wayne Koestenbaum investigates the hidden--and unexpected--mysteries that opera and sexuality produce. At once a personal meditation and an iconoclastic, highly entertaining survey of divas, The Queen's Throat is ultimately a profoundly moving, and at times curiously disturbing, investigation of the intricate interplay between art and sexuality, between beauty and eroticism. Koestenbaum is not afraid to challenge, and he more or less grabs readers by the hand to drag them, with nonstop exuberance, through the ornate, highly stylized world of diva worship. Traipsing through descriptions of classic performances, musical autobiographies, personal recollections, historical notations, and the music itself, Koestenbaum creates for us the daring, frenzied, disordered, highly sexual--and ultimately ecstatic--world of the opera queen. --Michael Bronski
(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:22:03 -0400)
"Until now, silence has surrounded the long-observed affinity of gay men for opera. The Queen's Throat violates the taboo, opens the closet, and shows how various and complex are the threads linking opera and homosexuality. A dazzling, innovative work that will fascinate readers of all sexual persuasions, it is a scrapbook of bright-voiced cadenzas, embroidered with candid confession, freewheeling speculation, and keen wit." "In this passionate love letter to opera, Koestenbaum brilliantly illuminates mysteries of sexuality, fandom, and obsession. Using opera as the lens to bring our yearnings and exultations into startling focus, he treats the opera queen as a trickster-oracle of whom we may ask: Why is opera the preeminent art form of the borderline, of transgression? Why have gay men sought to define themselves by mimicking divas? Why has Maria Callas attracted so much gay adulation? Why do the vocal cords seem a hiding place for sexual secrets? Is the marriage of words and music, in opera, a "queer" marriage? Is the word "queer," coming into controversial currency again, an apt description of opera's nature? And in a breathtaking finale, Koestenbaum sings back to us - in lyrical prose - a series of famous opera highlights. Here, in his "pocket guide to queer moments in opera," he provides a whirlwind demonstration of why opera matters so intensely to its devotees." "Surprisingly relevant to issues beyond the borders of opera and homosexuality, these provocative reflections also encompass manners, camp, spectacle, glamour, gossip, privacy, coming out, and a wide spectrum of sexual pleasures." "The Queen's Throat is also an elegy: writing nearly a quarter century after Stonewall, Koestenbaum communicates a haunted awareness of his separation from the earlier era of the opera queen, and his position within a far different time and generation, in a fin de siecle marked by AIDS and by changing sexual definitions and possibilities." "Exuberant and melancholy, revealing and deeply affecting, The Queen's Throat is an arresting work of literature and cultural history that will appeal to everyone interested in the meanings we give to our erotic and aesthetic experiences."--Jacket.
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