2016, Karen Henson (Editor). "In Technology and the Diva, Karen Henson brings together an interdisciplinary group of scholars to explore the neglected subject of opera and technology. Their essays focus on the operatic soprano and her relationships with technology from the heyday of Romanticism in the 1820s and 1830s to the twenty-first-century digital age. The authors pay particular attention to the soprano in her larger than life form, as the 'diva', and they consider how her voice and allure have been created by technologies and media including stagecraft and theatrical lighting, journalism, the telephone, sound recording, and visual media from the painted portrait to the high definition simulcast. In doing so, the authors experiment with new approaches to the female singer, to opera in the modern - and post-modern - eras, and to the often controversial subject of opera's involvement with technology and technological innovation.
The rise of the diva on the sixteenth-century commedia dell'arte stage
2015, Rosalind Kerr. "The Rise of the Diva on the Sixteenth-Century Commedia dell Arte Stage examines the emergence of the professional actress from the 1560s onwards in Italy. Tracing the historical progress of actresses from their earliest appearances as sideshow attractions to revered divas, Rosalind Kerr explores the ways in which actresses commodified their sexual and cultural appeal."
2014, edited by Eddie Shapiro. "Angela Lansbury faced a serious challenge when she was auditioning for the title role in Mame. "I don't know how to sing except in the role. I never knew how to do exercises and I don't to this day. I just stand up and sing," she recalls looking back over half a lifetime. "But there wereseveral people who helped me build my voice and when it came to Mame, and the songs I got to sing, they were natural for me." The part was a perfect fit - and it made her a Broadway superstar.In Nothing Like a Dame, theater journalist Eddie Shapiro opens a jewelry box full of glittering surprises, through in-depth conversations with twenty leading women of Broadway. He carefully selected Tony Award-winning stars who have spent the majority of their careers in theater, leaving aside thosewho have moved on or occasionally drop back in. The women he interviewed spent endless hours with him, discussing their careers, offering insights into the iconic shows, changes on Broadway over the last century, and the art (and thrill) of taking the stage night after night. Chita Rivera describes the experience of starring in musicals in each of the last seven decades; Audra McDonald gives her thoughts on the work that went into the five Tony Awards she won before turning forty-one; and Carol Channing reflects on how she has revisited the same starring role generationafter generation, and its effects on her career. Here too is Sutton Foster, who contemplates her breakout success in an age when stars working exclusively in theater are increasingly rare. Each of these conversations is guided by Shapiro's expert knowledge of these women's careers, Broadway lore,and the details of famous (and infamous) musicals. He also includes dozens of photographs of these players in their best-known roles.This fascinating collection reveals the artistic genius and human experience of the women who have made Broadway musicals more popular than ever - a must for anyone who loves the theater."
The Arts of the Prima Donna in the Long Nineteenth Century
2012. Rachel Cowgill (Editor); Hilary Poriss (Editor). "Female characters assumed increasing prominence in the narratives of nineteenth- and early twentieth-century opera. And for contemporary audiences, many of these characters--and the celebrated women who played them--still define opera at its finest and most searingly affective, even if storylines leave them swooning and faded by the end of the drama. The presence and representation of women in opera has been addressed in a range of recent studies that offer valuable insights into the operatic stage as cultural space, focusing a critical lens at the text and the position and signification of female characters. Moving that lens onto the historical, The Arts of the Prima Donna in the Long Nineteenth Century sheds light on the singers who created and inhabited these roles, the flesh-and-blood women who embodied these fabled "doomed women" onstage before an audience. Editors Rachel Cowgill and Hilary Poriss lead a cast of renowned contributors in an impressive display of current approaches to the lives, careers, and performances of female opera singers. Essential theoretical perspectives reflect several broad themes woven through the volume-cultures of celebrity surrounding the female singer; the emergence of the quasi-mythical figure of the diva; explorations of the intricate and sundry arts associated with the prima donna, and with her representation in other media; and the diversity and complexity of contemporary responses to her. The prima donna influenced compositional practices, determined musical and dramatic interpretation, and affected management decisions about the running of the opera house, content of the season, and employment of other artists--a clear demonstration that her position as "first woman" extended well beyond the boards of the operatic stage itself. The Arts of the Prima Donna in the Long Nineteenth Century is an important addition to the collections of students and researchers in opera studies, nineteenth-century music, performance and gender/sexuality studies, and cultural studies, as well as to the shelves of opera singers and enthusiasts."
Fame: What the classics tell us about our cult of celebrity
2010, Tom Payne. "We may regard celebrities as deities, but that does not mean we worship them with deference. From prehistory to the present, humanity has possessed a primal urge first to exalt the famous but then to cut them down (Michael Jackson, anyone?). Why do we treat the ones we love like burnt offerings in a ritual of human sacrifice? Perhaps because that is exactly what they are. From Greek mythology to the stories of the Christian martyrs and Dr. Faustus, Payne makes the fascinating argument that our relationship to celebrity is perilous, and that we wouldn't have it any other way. He also shows that the people we choose as our heroes and villains throughout the ages says a lot about ourselves--and what it says is often quite frightening. Fame even brings new life to all the literary figures from our high school English classes. In these pages, the most ephemeral reality television stars (those "famous for being famous") find themselves in the same VIP lounge as the characters of The Iliad. With great wit, scholarship, and insight, Tom Payne draws the narratives of the past and the present into one intriguing story. Fame is a dazzling, hilarious look at the mortals, and the immortals--us and them."
Disco Divas: Women and popular culture in the 1970s
2003, edited by Sherrie Inness. "Wedged between the idealism and activism of the 1960s and the avarice of the 1980s, the 1970s tend to be allocated a slender role in American cultural and social history. Only now have scholars begun to examine the suspect decade--perhaps in part because it has seemed too close, at least for many who lived through it, and in part because cultural critics have rendered it synonymous with cultural stagnation and overall frivolity. Ironically, in everything from retro fashion to interior design to music, American culture today is heavily influenced by this decade so routinely scorned by the academy. Proceeding from the idea that the preoccupation with nostalgia veils the decade's true cultural significance, the essays in Disco Divas reveal that the 1970s, far from being an era of cultural stasis, were a time of great social change, particularly for women. Disco Divas argues that 1970s popular culture provided an arena in which women's roles could be negotiated in new ways and, through individual chapters on topics ranging from film, music, television, and advertising to cheerleaders, teen-idol fans, and second-wave feminists, demonstrates how these roles were renegotiated. The great cultural shifts of the 1960s were still reverberating in the 1970s, and American society, while holding onto the ideal of the nuclear family and the white picket fence, had to come to terms with these shifts. This tension created a time of intriguing, if complicated social opportunity for women; the essays here chart the history of the women's movement from a genuinely liberating movement to a tool of corporate profits. Offering commentary on the sources of our fascination with the period, Disco Divas is an ambitious tour of how the mass-mediated popular culture of the 1970s shaped public perceptions of women and the actuality of women's lives."
Ladies of Soul
Publication Date: 2001-03-01
2001, David Freeland. "American soul music of the 1960s is one of the most creative and influential musical forms of the twentieth century. With its merging of gospel, R&B, country, and blues, soul music succeeded in crossing over from African American culture into the general pop culture. Soul became the byword for the styles, attitudes, and dreams of an entire era. Female performers were responsible for some of the most enduring and powerful contributions to the genre. All too frequently overlooked by the star-making critics, seven of these women are profiled in this book -Maxine Brown, Ruby Johnson, Denise LaSalle, Bettye LaVette, Barbara Mason, Carla Thomas, and Timi Yuro. Getting started during the heyday of soul, each of these talented women had recording contracts and gave live performances to appreciative audiences. Their careers can be tracked through the popularity of soul during the 1960s and its decline in the 1970s. With humor, candor, pride, and honest recognition that their careers did not surge into the mainstream and gain superstardom, they recount individual stories of how they struggled for success. Their oral histories as told to David Freeland address compelling issues, including racism and sexism within the music industry. They discuss their grueling hardships on the road, their conflicts with male managers, and the cutthroat competition in the recording business. As each singer examines her career with the author, she reveals the dreams, hopes, and desires on which she has built her professional life. All seven face up to the career swings, from the highs of releasing the first hit to the frustrating lows when the momentum stops. Although the obstacles to stardom are heartbreaking, these singers are committed to their art. With determination and style these seven have pressed onward with club appearances and recordings. They survive through their savvy mix of talent, hubris, and honesty about their lives and their music. David Freeland is an oral historian and artistic adviser of a performance series at Columbia University's Miller Theatre. He has been a guest lecturer at Columbia's School for Social Work."
Trouble Girls: The Rolling Stone Book of Women in Rock
1997, edited by Barbara O'Dair. "Essays by leading music critics look at the most important female rock musicians, singers, and groups, with profiles of Bonnie Raitt, Carol King, Tina Turner, Janis Joplin, Madonna, and many others."
The Diva's Mouth: Body, voice, prima donna politics
1996, Susan J. Leonardi; Rebecca A. Pope. "Like the divine, divas, it seems, are omnipresent. From the sirens to Madonna, from castrati to Callas, from opera stage to drag shows to TV commercials, from George Eliot to writers of detective fiction, the diva has been worshipped, feared, maligned, parodied, and appropriated. The Diva's Mouth: Bodies, Voice, and Prima Donna Politics examines how and why, from the eighteenth century to the present, divas have been talked about with so much passion and written up, down, and over with so much ambiguity and contradiction. The book explores the myriad roles the diva plays in masculinist, feminist, and queer imaginations--in opera itself and in other fictions, films, and fantasies, including the divas' (and the authors') own. Finally, it examines how and why pop and "pomo" singers, like Madonna, Annie Lennox, and Diamanda Galas, in very explicit ways both flirt with and fling off the fantasy of the woman with a voice. In this very witty and highly readable book, the authors tell everything you always wanted to know and make you want to know even more about the diva."
This encyclopedia's 30,000 entries cover all genres and periods of popular music from 1900 to the present day, including jazz, country, folk, rap, reggae, techno, musicals, and world music. The expanded Fourth Edition includes thousands of new entries on trends, styles, record labels, venues, and music festivals. Key dates, biographies, and further reading are provided for artists covered, along with complete discographies
"A tour through the best of the country's popular music, giving you the story behind the sounds of more than twenty regions. Features of this unique handbook include: Critical overviews of the crucial performers and styles, from Appalachian bluegrass to New Orleans jazz, from New York klezmer to San Francisco psychedelia. Concise reviews of the essential recordings and publications in each category."
2005. Richard Taruskin. The Oxford History of Western Music is a magisterial survey of the traditions of Western music by one of the most prominent and provocative musicologists of our time. This text illuminates, through a representative sampling of masterworks, those themes, styles, and currents that give shape and direction to each musical age. Taking a critical perspective, this text sets the details of music, the chronological sweep of figures, works, and musical ideas, within the larger context of world affairs and cultural history. Written by an authoritative, opinionated, and controversial figure in musicology, The Oxford History of Western Music provides a critical aesthetic position with respect to individual works, a context in which each composition may be evaluated and remembered. Taruskin combines an emphasis on structure and form with a discussion of relevant theoretical concepts in each age, to illustrate how the music itself works, and how contemporaries heard and understood it. It also describes how the context of each stylistic period--key cultural, historical, social, economic, and scientific events--influenced and directed compositional choices.
Covers all topics related to music, including musical instruments, compositional forms and scientific topics. Biographical entries cover composers, performers and writers. Offers links to related sites including sound archives. Grove Music online is part of Oxford Music Online.