Brian Luedloff

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Opera, as an art form and historical vocal practice, continues to be a field where self-expression and the representation of the human experience can be portrayed. However, in contrast to the current societal expansion of diversity and inclusion movements, vocal range classifications within vocal music and its use in opera are arguably exclusive in nature. In an attempt to expand the inclusivity of the vocal arts, this study examines the vocal properties of the countertenor and their inherent socially ambiguous androgyny within opera, in addition to their its predecessors. These themes and their intersections were explored through the lens of social perception in current and historical practices in relation to voiced gender. The study concludes that a redefined countertenor vocal classification should be pursued and applied as the first step toward improvement of gender identity inclusion within the vocal arts.

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