Feminine Vengeance II: (Over)Powered Politics

Kristi Brown-Montesano

in Understanding the Women of Mozart's Operas

Published by University of California Press

Published in print February 2007 | ISBN: 9780520248021
Published online May 2012 | e-ISBN: 9780520932968 | DOI:
Feminine Vengeance II: (Over)Powered Politics

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The Queen of the Night is arguably the most famous iconographic symbol of Mozart's operas, her star-encircled form appearing on legions of books, recordings, posters, coffee cups, and clothing. Reviled for her character and revered for her song, she is also the most enigmatic of all Mozart's creations. As the cases of Donna Anna and Donna Elvira have already shown, critical reception almost invariably views these qualities as unattractive in a woman, even when the story offers them some measure of validation. However, no other female character in Mozart's operas manifests these negative characteristics as thoroughly as the Queen—or is as severely punished. In the traditional critical literature, she has traditionally been cast as “Unenlightenment,” a nocturnal, female evil, a feminine principal with an unnatural drive to power.

Keywords: iconographic symbol; Mozart's operas; Queen of Night; critical reception; female evil

Chapter.  10628 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: Musicology and Music History

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