Parodies, paradox, pair o'divas: An oral history scrapbook of feminist opera's Derivative Duo

Walter Eugene Grodzik. "Parodies, paradox, pair o'divas: An oral history scrapbook of feminist opera's Derivative Duo." Diss. U of Washington, 2007.

This dissertation, titled Parodies, Paradox, Pair O'Divas: An Oral History Scrapbook of Feminist Opera's Derivative Duo, draws upon the stories of the Derivative Duo to create an oral history. This dissertation covers the years 1982-1999. The Derivative Duo, Barbara Glenn and Susan Nivert, are feminist comedienne opera singers who live in Seattle, Washington, and who have traveled across the United States for over the past twenty years, singing parodies of opera songs that queer, ironize, and feminize the themes and style of "high opera." The Derivative Duo also parody the iconic diva with their costumes which are high camp, both glamorous and a mockery of glamour. This dissertation not only creates an oral history, but also functions as an archive preserving the Derivative Duo's memorabilia, including photographs, performance programs, posters, and other records from their travels. There are over two hundred and fifty images, black and white and also color, from the Derivative Duo's scrapbooks.
The final chapter of the dissertation, Chapter VII, "Curtain Call," includes a brief travelogue, written by Barbara Glenn, that summarizes the Duo' travels and performances since the conclusion of the interview process in May 1999 through their retirement of their act on May 29, 2006. The dissertation ends with a discussion of the Derivative Duo's place in the historical context of queer performance, as representative of their times through their songs and travels, and as the only lesbian comedienne feminist opera singers in the world. The interviews for this dissertation were conducted over a six-month period, from October 30, 1998 to April 18, 1999.

Research Type: 
Status of Research or Work: 
Completed/published