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Endowment support for new publication

13 December 2011


prima donna

Professor Rachel Cowgill’s forthcoming publication, The Arts of the Prima Donna in the Long Nineteenth Century, has been awarded a generous endowment by the American Musicological Society.

The book, due to be published in March 2012 by Oxford University Press, has received the $3000 Dragan Plamenac Endowment. This money will enable the OUP to bring the book to a wider audience by lowering the price of the paperback edition.

Discussing the book, Professor Cowgill said: “During the long nineteenth century, female operatic characters became increasingly prominent and for contemporary audiences, many of these characters still define opera at its finest. But who were the singers who created and inhabited these roles? The flesh and blood women who embodied  these fabled ‘doomed women’ onstage?”

The Arts of the Prima Donna in the Long Nineteenth Century is the first collection of essays on the prima donna to focus more on the actual performers than the characters they portrayed. Editors Rachel Cowgill and Hilary Poriss lead a cast of renowned contributors in an impressive display of current approaches to the lives, careers and performances of female opera singers.

The different perspectives reflect several broad themes surrounding the female singer: the emergence of the quasi-mythical figure of the diva; explorations of the arts associated with the prima donna, and with her representation in the media; and the diversity and complexity of contemporary responses to her.