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OU T OF T H E CLOSET A N D I N TO T H E L I M EL IGH T LGBTQ audiences have long been drawn to the opera. Now they can see their stories onstage.

was at the theater and at Carnegie Hall that Paul really lived. ... The moment the cracked orchestra beat out the overture from Martha, or jerked at the serenade from Rigoletto, all stupid and ugly things slid from him, and his senses were deliciously, yet delicately fired,” wrote Willa Cather in “Paul’s Case,” her short story about a sensitive young outsider who seeks refuge and belonging in opera and classical music. Though Cather never explicitly identifies Paul as a gay man, there is something decidedly queer about how he finds escape and liberation at the opera house. “There has always been something about opera that has been connected to LGBTQ culture, whether it’s a sensibility wafting through works like Norma or Rosenkavalier or the content of the story itself,” says Gregory Spears, composer

20  O P E R A A M E R I C A

Dan Norman

By ST E V E N J U DE T I ETJ E N

Profile for OPERA America

Opera America Spring 2019 Preview  

Opera America Spring 2019 Preview  

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