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Singers Behaving Badly: Rivalry, Vengeance, and the Singers of Cardinal Antonio Barberini

Singers Behaving Badly: Rivalry, Vengeance, and the Singers of Cardinal Antonio Barberini Singers Behaving Badly Rivalry, Vengeance, and the Singers of Cardinal Antonio Barberini Amy Brosius e have come to expect bad behavior and public rivalries from opera singers. Recurring jokes play on pervasive stereotypes and serve to distinguish singers from other musicians, portraying them as selfcentered, aggressive, and vindictive. Media attention paid to singers behaving badly is not limited to the modern day or to our recent nineteenth-century past, and the titillation it incites in the listening public leads to an uncritical acceptance of rivalries; the perceived ubiquity renders them an intrinsic part of the phenomenon of opera, a by-product of the innately flawed nature of opera singers. However, recently scholars have begun to contextualize wellrehearsed historical altercations between singers in contemporary cultural practices, broadening our understanding of the singing cultures in which such rivalries flourished.1 In this article I examine a scandalous incident from Rome in 1639 involving two singers supported by Cardinal Nephew Antonio Barberini (1607­71). On the surface, the incident appears to be just another case of egocentrism run rampant. Yet a more critical investigation reveals a carefully orchestrated act of revenge born out of the necessity to maintain a public image. The sources provide important http://www.deepdyve.com/assets/images/DeepDyve-Logo-lg.png Women and Music: A Journal of Gender and Culture University of Nebraska Press

Singers Behaving Badly: Rivalry, Vengeance, and the Singers of Cardinal Antonio Barberini

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Publisher
University of Nebraska Press
Copyright
Copyright © 2008 the International Alliance for Women in Music.
ISSN
1553-0612
Publisher site
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Abstract

Singers Behaving Badly Rivalry, Vengeance, and the Singers of Cardinal Antonio Barberini Amy Brosius e have come to expect bad behavior and public rivalries from opera singers. Recurring jokes play on pervasive stereotypes and serve to distinguish singers from other musicians, portraying them as selfcentered, aggressive, and vindictive. Media attention paid to singers behaving badly is not limited to the modern day or to our recent nineteenth-century past, and the titillation it incites in the listening public leads to an uncritical acceptance of rivalries; the perceived ubiquity renders them an intrinsic part of the phenomenon of opera, a by-product of the innately flawed nature of opera singers. However, recently scholars have begun to contextualize wellrehearsed historical altercations between singers in contemporary cultural practices, broadening our understanding of the singing cultures in which such rivalries flourished.1 In this article I examine a scandalous incident from Rome in 1639 involving two singers supported by Cardinal Nephew Antonio Barberini (1607­71). On the surface, the incident appears to be just another case of egocentrism run rampant. Yet a more critical investigation reveals a carefully orchestrated act of revenge born out of the necessity to maintain a public image. The sources provide important

Journal

Women and Music: A Journal of Gender and CultureUniversity of Nebraska Press

Published: Sep 10, 2015

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