George Halsell is looking for some musical depictions of sex (in any form).
Well, George, I think you must pay attention (in Opera) to Mozart's "Don
Giovanni". You can try an analysis of Da Ponte's vision over aristocracy
by comparing the characters of Don Giovanni and Count Almaviva.
Political/social and sexual power is, in Da Ponte's librettos, almost the
same thing. You can try, also, an analysis of disguises and costumes as
sexual devices, by comparing the fifth act of "Nozze di Figaro" with "Cosi
fan Tutte" (two soldiers wants to proof their ladies' fidelity, and then,
they try to seduce each other's girlfriends using a disguise). An
interesting case, also, in "Figaro" is the scene (Act II, scene 3) when the
Countessna dress up Cherubino with female clothes. I think you'll have a
lot of work just with Mozart's operas.
Madrigals: you can work with Monteverdi's VIII th book of Madrigals
(Madrigali Guerrieri e Amorosi [Madrigals of War and Love ]). Instead of
"code" words, you can investigate the way in which plain words as "love"
(and related) were musically depicted in XVI and XVII century. A good
example is "Ardo e scoprir".
Perhaps you must check out some items on baroque theory of "Affetti"
(passions, in english?). It would be interesting to show how harmony,
tempo, and texture changes abruptly in order to depict a single word,
and what specifical resources were used for it.
If I remember something else, I'll tell you.
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