The Queen's Throat: Opera, Homosexuality, and the Mystery of Desire

Wayne Koestenbaum, Author Poseidon Press $21.5 (0p) ISBN 978-0-671-75457-0
Koestenbaum, who is gay and teaches English at Yale, calls himself an ``opera queen'' because he is addicted to opera, fetishizes records, tries to befriend divas and keeps lists of his opera ``highs.'' A literate amalgam of speculation, gossip, reminiscences and historical lore, his confessions are one fan's passionate love letter to the opera, illustrated with photographs and memorabilia. But Koestenbaum ( Ode to Anna Moffo and Other Poems ) strains to find reasons for the reputed affinity of gay men for opera. He views singing as analogous to gays' coming out of the closet and relates the diva's body movements, vocal attack and public persona to ``a style that gay people, particularly queens, have found essential . . . a camp style of resistance and protection.'' He presents 12 psychosocial explanations for the ``gay cult'' of Maria Callas. One chapter, ``A Pocket Guide to Queer Moments in Opera,'' analyzes 28 opera highlights from a gay perspective. (Feb.)
Reviewed on: 02/01/1993
Release date: 02/01/1993
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