Women in Opera? A Revolutionary Addition: A look into the Extent the French Revolution [1789-1799] Revolutionized Opera




Carrelli, Gabryella

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This research document partially presents the extent to which the French Revolution of 1789-1799 impacted opera, with particular emphasis on women’s role in the art form. Chapter 1 concentrates on operatic history to provide readers with context to the art medium. This chapter also presents ways in which the art form changed because of the shift in societal dynamics, through the lenses of class and religion, with the loss of the monarchy and the fall of the Castrati. Chapter 2 focuses on my case study of the Beaumarchais Trilogy. The plays included in this trilogy are Le Mariage de Figaro (1778), Le Barbier de Séville (1773), and La Mère Coupable (1791). While all these plays are one part of the same story, only Le Mariage de Figaro and Le Barbier de Séville were adapted into late 18th, early 19th-century operas, Le Nozze di Figaro (Mozart, 1786) and Il Barbi- ere di Siviglia (Rossini, 1813), which is why my case study will exclude La Mère Coupable (Milhaud, 1965). The case study will focus on the controversy surrounding Beaumarchais’s plays, how the operas differ from Beaumarchais's original plays, and finally, how the operas eased the controversial topics. Finally, the Conclusion will consider how this research is relevant to the art form today by discussing the revolution’s long- term effects on how operas present women, how the operatic adaptations of this trilogy shaped the way women’s roles would be written until the late 20th century and highlight the areas that need further research to equalize opera for women.



French Revolution, opera, Beaumarchais, Honors College


Carrelli, G. (2021). Women in opera? A revolutionary addition: A look into the extent the French Revolution [1789-1799] revolutionized opera (Unpublished thesis). Texas State University, San Marcos, Texas.


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