Pagan Studies

Learn how Classical Music harbors subliminal and not-so subliminal Pagan messages.

  • Home
    Home This is where you can find all the blog posts throughout the site.
  • Tags
    Tags Displays a list of tags that have been used in the blog.
  • Bloggers
    Bloggers Search for your favorite blogger from this site.
  • Login
    Login Login form

Gender Role Switching in Opera-A Source List

Peter Ringo asked if I would write an article on Gender Roles in Opera.  I can't.  There are already so many good ones out there and I'd just be stealing their work.  I would much rather create a list of good articles so we can get a good discussion going about how these things came about and continue today, and see what may possibly apply to modern day GLBTQ-types of Pagans and our music at large.

So, here are some articles and my own little paraphrases of what they are about:


    • "Brief History of Cross-Dressing in Opera."  Pretty self-explanatory, but contains a short description of several operas, photographs, and short descriptions of who the role is written for, and finishes with a critique of modern voices.
    • An introduction to cross-dressing in Opera. Covers intro topics, such as roles that are written such that women play youthful boys or effeminate men.

Homosexual Composers and Operatic Themes

    • Benjamin Britten, and Ancient Gay Greeks. What could be better?
    • Gay Tchaikovsky, the Ideas of Fate, and Fatalistic Symphony (and one or two operas)

Lesbians in Opera

    • A discussion and interview of two successful lesbian opera singers. Who are together, yes.
    • Synopsis of Fidelio.  Okay, this is more of a cross-dressing/mistaken identity opera, but Beethoven wrote it, and the heroine is so bad-ass that she pulls a gun on the bad guy.  She's like the Angelina Jolie of the Romantic Period. And she sings. 

Trans-people in Opera

    • First Openly Trans Opera Student at SF Conservatory. Bio and interview of African-American m-to-f transgender singer Breanna Sinclaire.
    • Transgender Opera Singer. Tona Brown, Bio and interview.


So, I hope this gave a general overview of LGBTQ issues in opera today.  We'd have to comb historical operas to find transgendered characters.  I'm sure they are there, however, quite a few operas have been written and then left aside for the ages.  I'm sure that some of us could find an opera written for Hermaphroditos somewhere, likely by Handel, on IMSLP.....







Last modified on
Amarfa has been studying the occult, wicca, and paganism for 17 years and counting.  She has been a musician since age 5, studying first guitar, then accordion for 10 years, placing 2nd in her division in the 1995 ATARI/ATAM New England Regional Competition,  and has been studying voice for 9. She has directed small early music ensembles, performed publicly, and starred in local theatre works, particularly the World Premiere of Nightsong, a musical theatre piece with direction and book by Jon Brennan and music by Kari Tieger and Kevin Campbell, as well as composing a musical of her own and writing music in her spare time.


Additional information