Deadly diseases and unhealing wounds, visual impairments and deafness, lost limbs and spinal deformities: opera has long been an artform that depicts disability. Further to disability’s representation in librettos and scores, opera productions both on stage and on our screens provide a form of mediation between the cultural-historical origins of opera’s disability narratives and the politics and practice of “performing” disability amid contemporary debates about diversity, equity, and inclusion. In this way, opera provides a vantage point from which to explore key issues in music and disability studies: from inaccessible spaces and education programmes to demeaning, stereotypical roles and problematic performance practices. This chapter unpicks some of these issues by exploring the data gathered in the Musical Representations of Disability Database, and by highlighting operatic works and practices that interrogate and extend the creative possibilities of opera’s frequent engagement with disability.
|Title of host publication||Voices for Change in the Classical Music Profession|
|Subtitle of host publication||New ideas for tackling inequalities and exclusions|
|Editors||Anna Bull, Christina Scharff, Laudan Nooshin|
|Publisher||Oxford University Press|
|Publication status||Accepted/In press - 7 Dec 2021|