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date: 17 October 2019

Abstract and Keywords

The singing and acting performer in staged opera has and also performs a body that is both a biological entity and an ideological construct: its race, sex, physique, and age are all given meaning by directors—and audiences. Within the contexts of feminist, queer, and disability studies, this chapter reads the “marked” body of the protagonist of David Alden’s 2008 production of Gaetano Donizetti’s 1835 Lucia di Lammermoor as the literal embodiment of the excruciating vulnerability of Lucia as subject through the medium of her youthfulness and her mixed race: a Down syndrome child sexually abused by her brother on stage. Just as the opera’s use of coloratura is a marked musical gesture of madness in dramaturgical terms for the “voice in performance,” so the specifically marked corporeal body of Lucia was crucial to this production’s dramatic power, as well as the ethical and political issues it raised.

Keywords: staged opera, “voice in performance”, singing and acting body, Lucia di Lammermoor, Down syndrome

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