Opera Through a Queer Lens

June 18, 2022, 4:00 pm

Share this Post

Orestes and Pylades, barely clothed, heavy contrast between skin and background, oil painting
Pylades and Orestes, by François Bouchot, Public domain, via Wikimedia Commons

Opera has always been a place for audiences to see gender confusion, androgynous sidekicks, and friendships that test the boundaries of the platonic ideal. This week, Oliver surveys some of opera’s queerest moments.



Giuseppe Verdi: “O Carlo, ascolta” from Don Carlos
Dmitri Hvorostovsky, baritone
Philharmonia of Russia
Constantine Orbelian, conductor
Verdi Opera Scenes
Delos DE-3403

Francesco Cavalli: La Calisto
Act I, Scene 4 & 5
Maria Bayo, soprano
Simon Keenlyside, baritone
Marcello Lippi, baritone
Concerto Vocale
René Jacobs, conductor
Cavalli: La Calisto
Harmonia Mundi HMC 901515.17

George Frideric Handel: “Ricordati, mio ben” from Flavio, Re de’Longobardi, HWV 16
Renata Pokupić, mezzo-soprano
Hilary Summers, contralto
Early Opera Company
Christian Curnyn, conductor
Handel: Flavio
Chandos CHAN-0773

Handel: “O fatal day!” from Saul, HWV 53
Lawrence Zazzo, countertenor
Concerto Köln
René Jacobs, conductor
Handel: Saul
Harmonia Mundi HMC 901877.78

Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart: “Deh per questo istante solo” from La clemenza di Tito, K. 621
Tatiana Troyanos, mezzo-soprano
New York City Opera Orchestra
Julius Rudel, conductor
Handel and Mozart Arias & Duets
MusicMasters 01612-67080-2

Christoph Willibald Gluck: Iphigénie en Tauride
Act III, Scenes 3 & 4
Mireille Delunsch, soprano
Yann Beuron, tenor
Simon Keenlyside, baritone
Les Musiciens du Louvre
Marc Minkowski, conductor
Gluck: Iphigénie en Tauride
Archiv Produktion 471 133-2

Jacques Offenbach: “Voici sous l’archet frémissant” from Les Contes d’Hoffmann
Anne Sofie von Otter, mezzo-soprano
Staatskapelle Dresden
Jeffrey Tate, conductor
Offenbach: Les Contes d’Hoffmann
Philips 422 374-2

Georges Bizet: “Au fond du temple saint” from Les pêcheurs de perles
Jerry Hadley, tenor
Thomas Hampson, baritone
Orchestra of Welsh National Opera
Carlo Rizzi, conductor
Hadley & Hampson
Teldec 9031-73283-2