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Königin der Nacht. Ope...
Wayne Koestenbaum
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Königin der Nacht. Oper, Homosexualität und Begehren.

3.76 of 5 stars 3.76  ·  rating details  ·  144 ratings  ·  11 reviews
Why do so many gay men love opera? What makes an "opera queen"? What is the connection between gay sexuality and the full-throated longing that emerges from the diva's mouth? In The Queen's Throat: Opera, Homosexuality, and the Mystery of Desire, self-proclaimed opera queen Wayne Koestenbaum investigates the hidden--and unexpected--mysteries that opera and sexuality produc ...more
Hardcover, 363 pages
Published February 1st 1996 by Klett-Cotta (first published 1993)
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Full disclosure: I am a gay man. I enjoy opera, find certain operas to be truly sublime. But I am not an opera queen

Koestenbaum writes with a kind of feverish elegance that is impressive. But this book - a set of highly idiosyncratic meditations on opera - just bristles with cringe-inducing stereotypes. In particular, his apparent willingness to embrace the 'gay man as ostracized outsider' role is distinctly unappealing.

I enjoyed two of the book's seven chapters - Koestenbaum's reflections on "
At times Koestenbaum's ideas can be too showy to be enjoyable, but when first person experience comes out, it gives a profound and beautifully perceptive take on gay identity, and even something as opaque as "gayness." A few choice moments:
Gay people have compensated for silence by enjoying the ironic or tragic transformation of power into pathos. We relish falls. Sublimity turns into degradation and our interest quickens—not because we are sadistic sickos but because we like to see reputations,
Insightful, incisive... and ultimately more than a bit of exhausting. I'm drawn to the structure and style, which is primarily made up of reflective fragments that are arranged in associative clusters of memories and content, but the text's greatest quality—the deep immersion into the author's psyche and his personal obsessions and desires—is also, ultimately, its greatest drawback (after a while one pines for some critical distance).

But as someone like myself who is interested in opera in a cu
Sarah Smith
Jul 26, 2007 Sarah Smith rated it 4 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: fanboys & fangirls, anybody who's read "Orality and Literacy"
There's a certain variety of essay writing which I find both eloquent and assertively readable, much harder to come by than you might think. (And by "assertively readable," I mean that it's the kind of book you would happily read all day on the couch with a big glass of ice water and some cigarettes, postponing all obligations.) Wayne Koestenbaum writes a lot of these essays. (I hear that an article in the Believer called them "lyric essays," but the term "lyric" is overwrought enough that I don ...more
Nella vergogna troverò il paradiso

Koestenbaum entra prepotentemente nell'olimpo dei miei personali miti viventi. Lo fa con la forza dirompente del suo acume, del suo linguaggio forbitissimo, col suo amore per l'opera, per l'introspezione intellettuale. Come la chiave e la sua armatura all'inizio di uno spartito ci permette di accedere alla lettura delle note, Koestenbaum con questo saggio ci fornisce gli strumenti necessari per penetrare un mondo sommerso, un universo parallelo, che è quello d
"There is nothing prosaic about a diva. But diva prose is often banal: an ordinariness touched by sublimity. The diva writes to amplify herself, to state the obvious--floridly. (When a nondiva writes diva prose, she writes to admire or to impersonate.) Diva prose is amusing and pathetic because the divas who writes about themselves so grandly are often dead, no longer household words. Because a diva is rarely a dictator, we can afford to be charmed and transported bu the tragicomedy of diva pros ...more
Oct 29, 2007 Peter rated it 5 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: opera loves, glbt readership, those conversant in post-structuralism
This book appeared in the early 1990's and I have just now gotten around to reading it. It is superbly written and an elegant traversal of opera and its cult and audience from the perspective of a very sophisticated gay man. The strongest chapter is a reminiscence of Maria Callas as soprano and legend. It takes operatic experience as paradigmatic not only for aesthetic experience in general but also as a system of signs in which the definition of sexuality and identity can be located. This is al ...more
Long story short -- out looking for books on opera -- found this. Stars? Well, they're as they need to be but may or may not reflect an accurate measure of the book for technical reasons, shall we say? I plan to finish this one day when I have the time while listening to Gounod's Faust on a repeat loop. Inside joke, that.
Hank Stuever
Another one of those books that just seemed to come along at the right time and teach me something I didn't know (certainly about opera; also about gay identity) but mostly just left me agog at the THINKING and the WRITING. I've been a fan of Wayne Koestenbaum ever since.
Interesting thoughts, but so clogged up with pretentious prose it was a real slog to get through. To be naughty and paraphrase Christopher Hitchens, if you gave this book an enema it would end up a pamphlet.
opera and gays. gays and opera. thoroughly entertaining even for the non-opera buff. or the non-gays.
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In addition to Hotel Theory (Soft Skull, 2007), Wayne Koestenbaum has published five books of nonfiction prose: Andy Warhol, Cleavage, Jackie Under My Skin, The Queens Throat (a National Book Critics Circle Award finalist), and Double Talk. He has also published a novel, Moira Orfei in Aigues-Mortes, and five books of poetry: Best-Selling Jewish Porn Films, Model Homes, The Milk of Inquiry, Rhapso ...more
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“The beauty and magnitude of a diva's voice resides, so the iconography suggests, in her deformity. Her voice is beautiful because she herself is not-and her ugliness is interpreted as a sign of moral and social deviance. Reading biographies of divas, I can't ignore the repeated references to physical flaws-for example, Benedetta Pisaroni's "features horribly disfigured by small-pox," prompting spectators to shut their eyes "so as to hear without being condemned to see." Audiences speculated that Maria Malibran was not anatomically a woman, but an androgyne or hermaphrodite-an aberrant physique to match her voice's magic power.” 1 likes
“Listeners love when opera dethrones or kills language; the regicide, on these occasions, is the revolutionary, pleasure-seeking, penetrated, tickled ear. Opera theory tells us that words master music, but we, in our secret hearts, know music's superiority; and this destruction of language, this reversal of hierarchy, makes opera a fit object for the enthusiasms of sex-and-gender dissidents.” 1 likes
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