SPOILERS Queen Magrat of Lancre (nee Garlick) Character Discussion

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RathDarkblade

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Mar 24, 2015
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#21
Hmm ... *thinks* I don't think that Pterry's jokes were very cruel. There have been authors (and indeed playwrights) who made much worse jokes about fat people; for instance, in Gilbert and Sullivan's plays, the alto soloist is almost invariably made out to be an unsympathetic "fine figure of a woman" role. Consider Lady Jane in "Patience", Katisha in "The Mikado", Ruth in "The Pirates of Penzance", The Fairy Queen in "Iolanthe" etc. She is also always given some beautiful lines and songs to perform. Whether that makes things any better is up to the individual performer and theatre-goer.

Coming back to Pterry: I think I can see where he's coming from with Agnes, for instance. There's an expectation that she would be very fat but with beautiful hair (and a wonderful personality), because she represents the "Fat Lady" opera singer stereotype that was so common before the 1960s and 70s. (Maria Callas weighed over 200 pounds and no-one held it against her. Pavarotti, one of the best tenors of all time, weighed almost 400 pounds in the 70s. here are some facts about opera singers, their weight, and why it should - or shouldn't - matter. And from ABC News, here is a related story about opera, weight, and critics).

So there's an element of truth to this stereotype - and if we're honest, there's an element of truth to every stereotype.

Besides, isn't body weight in the eye of the beholder? It's one of those linguistic things like irregular verbs: I say "fat", you say "voluptuous", he says "incredibly attractive". ;)

One last thing: I've been performing music for nearly 15 years now, and the "fat opera singer" is definitely a myth. Not every opera singer is fat, as I'm sure you all know. :) So how did the myth start? At the end of Wagner's Gotterdamerung (1871), the soprano playing Brunnhilde has to sing for nearly 20 minutes. Traditionally, she was always played by a bigger woman, which is why the myth exists in the first place. In the Victorian era, there was definitely no such thing as "fat-shaming" - indeed, the bigger the better, because it meant you weren't a little street-urchin. :p But times change, and society's expectations change with them.

Personally, I think the expectation that all women must have a tiny waist is ridiculous. You are what you are, and don't let anyone tell you different! :)
 

Tonyblack

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Jul 25, 2008
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#22
I think the idea of having a thin attractive female singer was more about the Musical version of singing - Terry alludes to Classic Opera as well as Musical Theatre, in particular the Lloyd Webber version of Phantom. As to large ladies singing operatic roles -
Montserrat Caballe, singing the part of Mimi, in La Boheme was stretching things a little. This was also something that Terry was hinting at. But that's Opera, folks!
 

RathDarkblade

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#23
Umm, Tony ... what do you mean by "Musical version of singing"? I'm confused. Surely all singing is musical. :)

I personally subscribe to the Dr Undershaft model, i.e. if a person is talented and a good singer, it shouldn't matter that they are a little on the large size. There are operatic roles for large ladies just as there are for large men.

This whole discussion reminds me of an anecdote I read once about Luisa Tetrazzini (1871-1940), the world-famous Italian soprano.

Tetrazzini was not concerned about either her size nor about the amount she needed to eat. She shared her love for Neapolitan dishes with her friend Enrico Caruso. On one occasion, after a late spaghetti lunch with Caruso, she had to sing Violetta in La Traviata.

When her co-star John McCormack attempted to raise the dying Violetta in his arms, he was unable to do it. He did not know that she had consumed so much pasta that she had had to remove her corsets.

The amazement that he could not conceal started her giggling, and to the audience's astonishment, both performers in this tragic death scene were soon convulsed with laughter. ;)
 

RathDarkblade

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#25
Hmm. Well, where does operetta (or light opera) fit into the Opera/Musical Theatre divide? Works like the Gilbert and Sullivan canon, The Merry Widow, etc. :) And is there a difference between operetta and light opera?

Just wondering ...

(And oh, yes - I'm well aware of the hilarious distinction Nanny makes between "light opera" and "heavy opera" in Maskerade. "Beer! Beer! Beer! Beer! I like to drink lots of beer!") *LOL*
 

=Tamar

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May 20, 2012
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#26
Well, this is the closest to Lancre-rulers-in-general I could find. On reddit.com/r/discworld a pun I never caught was just posted:

Posted byu/signor_biscottazzi
2020-01-07
King Verence... is it a pun?! (Wyrd Sisters)

So... king in my language (italian) is "re", so in the editions of the books in my language King Verence is Re Verence (= Reverence). I just thought it was too funny not to share it. I think this could be intentional?
==
Then that led me to the thought that maybe the "re" could be associated with the "repeat" idea, since Re-Verence is Verence II.
 

Tonyblack

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Jul 25, 2008
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#27
Interesting observation. I had always assumed the name was based on Terence, Terry's own name and therefore a little self mockery. I think I like your comment better.
 

=Tamar

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May 20, 2012
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#28
There's no reason they couldn't both be true.

"Verence" by itself doesn't seem to be an official word, and neither Verence I nor Verence II seems to have had a first name. If they had, and if that first name had been "Percy", that could have made a pun with "perseverance", a quality both of them had.
 

Dotsie

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Jul 28, 2008
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#29
Surely Verence would be their first name.

(Sorry for calling you Shirley)
 
May 20, 2012
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#30
You are correct. Well, that does avoid the problem of the patronymic, though in Lancre that doesn't seem to be an issue.
 

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