The Shrinking Opera Diva: The Impact of Sociocultural Changes upon the Casting of Women in the 20th and 21st Centuries
Description: For most of the twentieth century, opera singers were not beholden to the ideal physical standard of women dictated by popular culture, but rather focused on serving the music and perfecting their artistry. Unprecedented sociocultural changes throughout the twentieth century exposed the shifting ideals of each generation and how they were promoted through mass media and advertising. This thesis surveys the time period of the 1890s to the present day for the purpose of analyzing cultural trends, philosophies and technologies that shaped the century. Societal pressure to make the body a project and the focus of one's own intense attention now reflects back onto the opera stage where audience members expect to see what society has dictated to be an acceptable female form. Artistic and stage directors are influenced by society's decree that only thin is beautiful, imbedding into the mindset of the art form notions that now affect how female professional opera singers are depicted and even employed.
Date: May 2017
Creator: Feldman, Lauren Nicole McNeese