Always and already excessive: Theorizing diva performativity in a TAMU studio soprano | Intellect Skip to content
Volume 8, Issue 3
  • ISSN: 1750-3159
  • E-ISSN: 1750-3167



There is no word that brings to mind simultaneous bodily, vocal and affect excess quite like ‘diva’. Contrary to popular belief, the opera diva’s behaviours both in and outside performance are results of her training and the Euro-classical repertoire. On the levels of the body, voice and affect, the student soprano studies and performs a particular kind of ‘divaness’. She inures herself into a particular tradition that teaches discipline through repertoire. Through an analysis of Euro-classical pedagogical discipline on a soprano’s body, voice and affective display, this article presents a theory of diva performativity using Judith Hamera’s definition of virtuosity, Roland Barthes’ ‘The grain of the voice’, Wayne Koestenbaum’s discussion of ‘divaness’, and Naomi Cumming’s illuminations of Richard Schechner’s ‘not me, not not me’. At these levels, a soprano’s vocal study teaches her to be always and already excessive.


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  • Article Type: Article
Keyword(s): diva; performativity; repertoire; soprano; vocal pedagogy; vocal performance
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