Opera: should women in trouser roles pack?

Discussion in 'Underwear, Clothing, and Appearance Issues' started by Snozzle, Sep 24, 2006.

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Should women playing men in opera (or plays) pack their trousers?

  1. Yes, they should.

    13 vote(s)
    41.9%
  2. No, they shouldn't.

    8 vote(s)
    25.8%
  3. Whatever they do is fine by me.

    10 vote(s)
    32.3%
  1. Snozzle

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    This'll raise the tone:

    I went to Gounod's Faust last night. The role of Siebel, Marguerite's lover, is played by a woman (because it calls for a high voice) in male drag. "He" showed no bulge at all, making it harder to think of her as a man, or if as a man, a castrated one.

    Do you think women in trouser roles (Octavian in Rosenkavalier is another) should pack?

    pro: as above, it makes them more realistic as men
    con: it draws undue attention to their genitalia, and we've already had to suspend our disbelief in regard to their voices
     
  2. Lordpendragon

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    Is this a "Do men with high pitched voices have small penises?" thread in disguise?
     
  3. ManiacalMadMan

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    Do you attend the opera for the story and the music or just to stare at all the crotches? If you stop and stare at every crotch in every film, play or musical production there will be plenty of times where you most likely won't be getting a bulging crotch image which if you really have an interest in the arts won't matter at all to you.

    So, again I must ask you, What exactly is your purpose for attending the opera? Crotch viewing or enjoyment of the performance on stage? Is it possible Snzzle that you are becoming crotchety?
     
  4. fortiesfun

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    Well now, Snozzle, you certainly have managed to raise the tone. So as long as we are "up" then it seems fairs to say that historically it was the sexual attractiveness of these performers as women that whipped up the audience. (Difficult for us to imagine, but not so long ago women always wore voluminous skirts and men never got to see even the general shape of their legs. It was a huge modesty about this issue that led the Victorians to refer to "piano limbs" as they found the mere mention of legs, even on furniture, too sexually provocative.) In that environment, trouser roles were origionally a flouting of convention on the level of Madonna going on concert tour in her underwear. Men went wild to see the shape of those legs. Not much disbelief was being suspended, as not much effort was made to realistically portray male behavior, though it was also a turn-on to see women adopting "male" power stances and poses - a milder form of the whole dominatrix fixation. There certainly is no historical precedent for packing. Wearing satin pants so tight that the shape of the female genitalia could be vaguely observed was more the point.

    The difference in perspective now is that the audience has changed. You know the great Ethan Mordden line: Q: Why are gay men obsessed with sex? A: Oh, honey, Srt8 men are obsessed with sex. Gay men are obsessed with opera.

    It may be time for Cherubino to start packing, but not for realism's sake. And while they are at it, maybe a few of the tenors could do so also.
     
  5. B_dxjnorto

    B_dxjnorto New Member

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    The other posters are more cultured and humorous than anything I can offer, but I worked as a "costume technician" aka stitch bitch at the Shakespearean Festival in Cedar City, Utah in the summer of 2000. The costumes are all custom made of course, padded in places that accentuate the physique, also for instance when someone has a dysymmetry like lopsided shoulders (one guy was like that) the costumes are cut and padded to even things up.

    A little padding could be built into the costume--nothing like Goldmember--maybe just a dance belt could be worn to give a more suitable silhouette.

    It may have more to do with the performer's or the audience's delicate sensibilities.
     
  6. rob_just_rob

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    There's a sex shop around here that sells quite realistic-looking prosthetic "packages" (flaccid state) for women who want to "pack".
     
  7. fortiesfun

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    Now you've gone and given away the secrets of the trade.:mad: Men in tights: Yum. Mouthful of cotton wadding: Not what the fantasy is all about.
     
  8. Gisella

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    LOL..you are funny Dx..

    Well, if I were to play a male I would want have something a bit volume going on..as would sufocated breasts too...to give at least a visual of make believe masculinity. But than depends on the type of male the play calls for and etc...as the same as males playing women there is satyrical and more serious roles, and the ones in between.
     
  9. B_dxjnorto

    B_dxjnorto New Member

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    It's true when men play women it's usually over the top. It shows a double standard. If a woman played a man with overstuffed crotch people would be mortified, but if a man plays a woman with coconut shells, it's regular gender bending.
     
  10. Gisella

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    Yeh its true...

    But the best movie for me about man in drag was hilarious and trully warm hearted and nice dramatic...(I have to buy a cd of it!!!) Is the ' La Cage aux Follies' that I watched at least 15 years ago...but we can not help but just fall in love with Renato and Zaza ...:tongue:

    I love that movie!!!
     
  11. Snozzle

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    This is not about me! (I did use to attend ballet, but when I realised I was paying a lot mainly to stare at the (padded) crotches I stopped going. If there's one thing that doesn't turn me on it's a woman in male drag, so the short answer is) NO.
     
  12. Snozzle

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    No.
     
  13. Snozzle

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    I think in opera it's descended from the use of castrati (who invariably played male roles). Men seldom play women in opera, except in disguise as part of the plot, and then, as you say, it's usually for laughs. Women playing men quite commonly then disguise themselves as women (cf Victor/Victoria), which always seems cheaply easy to me.
     
  14. DuvalinCT

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    >>It may be time for Cherubino to start packing, but not for realism's sake. And while they are at it, maybe a few of the tenors could do so also.<<

    As a baritone, this made me smile (because baritones - at least this one - NEVER have to stuff).

    To answer the question seriously, "trouser roles" (not "pants roles", because where the name originated - England - pants refers to underwear) were created as a visual conceit. Essentially, it was along the same lines of boys playing Juliet in Shakespeare's time. As the whole POINT is the everyone knows quite obviously that the boy is a girl, the convention necessitates no nod towards a crotch. Or, at least, a male crotch.

    Mozart pokes fun at this in The Marriage of Figaro, where Cherubino is disguised in a dress to fool the Count - yes, a woman dressed as a man dressed as a girl. It was in the original Beaumarchais play, too (in which the character, I believe, was also played by a woman).

    On the other hand, baritones in tights is one good reason for going to opera (Don Giovanni, anyone?) ... but of course, everyone is there to listen to the voice (you hear that, Nathan Gunn?)
     
  15. headbang8

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    Yes. Two artificial Gounods and a huge, strap-on Prokofiev.
     
  16. AlteredEgo

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    Mo. She should sing his little heart out.
     
  17. Nomad

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    But not in regard to their huge boobs?

    It's called a trouser role; not a tranny role. Making Octavian a she-male doesn't make anything better.
     
  18. STYLYUNG

    STYLYUNG New Member

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    Why not use a counter-tenor for those roles? You would get a soprano voice ( or mezzo) with an authentic crotch that would not need padding.:biggrin1:
     
  19. fortiesfun

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    That would seem so logical, but opera is not about logic. Once you've gone with the basic convention that they are going to sing everything (and loudly, too, since they have no applification in those 2000 seat theatres) verisimilitude has no real purpose. Might as well get to ogle something while you are listening.

    But, interestingly, the castrati roles in early opera are being returned to countertenors after a couple of hundred years of women singing them. Some of them are pretty amazing.
     
  20. Snozzle

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    Well my understanding was that boys played Juliet (and Lady Macbeth, which would be more difficult) because women were forbidden on the (debauched) stage. So women singing men's roles in opera is a bit different.

    I'm reasonably sure that Saturday night's Siebel had strapped her bosom down (though too much of that would adversely affect the voice). So some attempt at deception had been made.
     
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