"I Only Wish I Could Draw it as Fine as it was" : the Romanticization of Baby Doe and Violetta Valery
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The courtesan has been a subject of fascination for thousands of years. Even today, the courtesan is still portrayed in movies like Pretty Woman and Moulin Rouge. The most famous operatic courtesan is Violetta Valery from Verdi's "La Traviata." Operatic standard "La Traviata," composed in 1853, has a connection to a 20th century American opera heroine, Baby Doe, found in Douglas Moore's "The Ballad of Baby Doe." The purpose of this study was to musically analyze both "La Traviata" and "The Ballad of Baby Doe" to show that: 1. both protagonists share similarities in the harmonic structure, as shown in their arias and confrontations scenes; 2. both characters were inspired by historical figures; and 3. these portrayals fit the role of the "romantic courtesan," a 19th century literary idea which presents a courtesan with redeeming qualities.
Valery, Violetta (Fictitious character)--Opera
Verdi, Giuseppe, 1813-1901. Traviata--Criticism and interpretation
Baby Doe (Fictitious character)--Opera
Moore, Douglas, 1893-1969. Ballad of Baby Doe--Criticism and interpretation