Travesti: An operatic and theatrical tradition where a performer of one gender portrays a character of another.
Hi, I'm Bryce McClendon, and welcome to Beyond Travesti.
Join me as I interview trans and gender-expansive writers, singers, administrators, and voice teachers from the opera and music theater worlds about our history, our contemporary concerns, our needs at present, and our visions for the future of the vocal performing arts.
The italian verb travestire means 'to dress up' or 'to disguise.' I've had experiences where people who find out that - as a non-binary transfeminine person - I'm an opera professional, they'll say "oh, how nice, how good, opera has been so queer for so long." But the tradition of cross-dressing in opera and theater is obviously not the same as contemporary queer and trans experience. Even as an ancestor, it's complicated.
As a matter of fact, the idea that trans people are just 'in disguise' or 'playing dress up' has caused a lot of damage to our community. I'm so excited to engage in these conversations to think deeply about how we can push ourselves forward - not just in repertoire, but in all aspects of our professional lives.
We will talk about the repertoire, but we'll also talk about the voice studio; we'll talk about healthcare; we'll talk about politics and philosophy; we'll talk about the pitfalls of the rehearsal process, and what it feels like to be told that - in order to find a space - we have to make everything ourselves. Most of all, I want to offer this community a forum to get to know one another, and hear from one another about the things that matter us the most.