Tuesday, July 7, 2009


Vittoria Tesi, a famous singer in the 18th century, refused to play pants roles because it was "harmful to her health." What does that even mean?

Maria Cere was considered so ugly that she was never allowed to take female roles. Therefore, she "specialized" in pants roles. What a compliment.

Metastasio's libretto "Achille in Sciro" tells the story of Achilles who's dressed as a woman until the end of the night where he throws off his trappings and reveals his true gender. However, the part of Achilles was played by a woman at the premiere. Strange, much?

1 comment:

Tyler said...


I enjoy all of these little pieces of trivia you give us about opera. How would we ever know about such things without you? If you do not mind revealing your source[s], from where do you garner such interesting information as you provide us?

Concerning the final paragraph of your post, I cannot imagine how the end of that opera worked. Knowing the state of morality in Europe, that is to say insofar as it has been presented to me thus far in my study of history, in the eighteenth century, likewise I cannot fathom a woman revealing herself in public, but then I also know that people on the stage were rather more lax then than their ordinary counterparts in society. Sometimes opera's history shocks me.