Document Type

Honors Project

Abstract

This comparative analysis of three twentieth-century operas - Berg's Wozzeck, Britten's Peter Grimes, and Shostakovich's Lady Macbeth of the Mtsensk District - traces their respective discourses of gender and madness, specifically within the dramatization (musical and otherwise) of their title characters. Of the three, Wozzeck, because it adheres to strict gender roles, has been received most uniformly as a tragedy; by contrast Lady Macbeth is traditionally viewed in terms of satire. I argue that feminist musicological analysis allows for a re-envisioning of all three operas, in which the characters are received as tragic regardless of subverting societally enforced gender categories.

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