Talk:Travesti (theatre)

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While unfamiliar with the series, I cannot see any clear relationship, based on the article's contents, between En travesti and 3rd Rock From The Sun, so I've removed the link.

Order of sections[edit]

Assuming that we have the page divided by gender at all (and that does make sense for this topic), I think that we should have men in female roles first, since it reads better —more chronologically— that way. In particular, the section on women in male roles makes reference to the castrati that are introduced in the other section. At the very least, this should be rewritten if we keep the other order, but I'll be bold and move things to how I think that they should be. (Also I'll swap the sides of the pictures, so that they won't intefere with each other or the gallery on wide screens.) —Toby Bartels (talk) 01:51, 30 March 2009 (UTC)


I'm not sure that this page move was the best one, and the added etmology section is very odd. "Travesti" is not "real Italian". The Italian word for "in disguise" or "disguised" and the past participle of "travestire" is "travestito". Furthermore at least one of the new sources added (The Oxford Dictionary of Opera) specifically says it is of French origin, i.e. the past partciple of the French verb "travestir" as does the OED for the word "travesty" (in all its senses). Can someone please quote from a reliable source which specifically says that "travesty", especially in the sense used in this article is derived from the Italian? When "travesti" in the theatrical sense is used in Italian, it is treated as a foreign word. Note that the Italian Wikipedia also treats travesti as a foreign term and gives prominence in the lede to "en travesti". [1]. The addition of "en" is the only pseudo-French part and regardless of how the term "en travesti" arose, the term itself is not "pseudo". It is widely used in Italian [2] [3]. Note also how widely used it is in English sources [4] and in French ones [5] Voceditenore (talk) 06:49, 7 February 2011 (UTC)

In light of my comments above, I have re-written the lede to give greater prominence to the other forms of the word and especially "en travesti", which many readers will be specifically looking for. In addition to wide usage of "en travesti" in English, Italian, and French, it also appears in German sources. [6] I also removed the assertion that the word is of Italian origin pending a reliable source which specifically states this. Voceditenore (talk) 07:15, 7 February 2011 (UTC)
Hmm. I see the sentence "Some sources regard 'travesti' as an Italian term, some as French. " has been removed. However it is factually accurate and it was referenced.
Julian Budden (in Grove Opera) and Michael Kennedy (in Oxford Music) both say that 'Travesti' is Italian (in contrast to Oxford Opera). Voceditenore can check this herself. If she knows better than them, that's fine by me. Just go ahead and give the information and sources - in the article, not the talk page! However the sentence that was removed was factually accurate - and it was referenced as a whole. (Also note that 'en travesti' is a redirect so anyone who searches for it will find it.) The so-called 'pseudo-French part' (an older part of the article) was also referenced. It may be right, it may not be, but it's in the book.
The reason I put the etymology in its own section was to highlight the lack of agreement about origins. I thought it could be developed later with OED info. etc. However putting it in the lead is no problem. Anyway - when all is said and done - this is a tricky subject. Please let's assume a modicum of good faith! --Kleinzach 08:18, 7 February 2011 (UTC)
Actually, I was adding the sources as you were writing this. I have restored the sentence since you have clarified that both the Kennedy and Budden sources say it is of Italian origin. It appeared that it was only referencing the different forms of the term. Having said that, Kennedy and Budden are wrong. But never mind. Wikipedia is about verifiability not truth. Voceditenore (talk) 09:26, 7 February 2011 (UTC)

Disambiguation page[edit]

Good. Now we are singing from the same hymn sheet - and we can certainly agree that someone is wrong since the experts all disagree - one of the problems here is that Travesty is a redirect pointing to the niche article Victorian burlesque. Would you agree that Travesty probably should be a disambig page? (Given the way the articles were structured I never knew this article here existed.) --Kleinzach 23:34, 7 February 2011 (UTC)

Yes I would agree that it ought to be a disambiguation page, unless someone can present a compelling argument that Victorian burlesque is the primary meaning/use of "Travesty". Travesty has a much older tradition, certainly present in English literature and drama in the 17th century, and has been used in a variety of contexts. It doesn't seem right to me to direct this to an article with such a narrow focus. Plus, readers who end up at Victorian Burlesque have no quick way of finding the "travesty" they're looking for. A hat note at the top of the page directing them to the dismabiguation page would be very helpful. Another way of getting round it is to create: Travesty (disambiguation). Voceditenore (talk) 07:31, 8 February 2011 (UTC)
Seems like a good idea to me. -- Ssilvers (talk) 15:00, 8 February 2011 (UTC)

I've made Travesty into a disambig. It could do with some development, but at least it points the reader to the three articles. --Kleinzach 01:26, 9 February 2011 (UTC)

The hatnote at Victorian burlesque needs changing. I'd do it myself, but I almost always ball them up.;-) Voceditenore (talk) 06:58, 9 February 2011 (UTC)

Actually, we no longer need a hatnote at Victorian Burlesque, as you will no longer end up there when searching for anything similar to "travesty". -- Ssilvers (talk) 07:49, 9 February 2011 (UTC)

"Breeches roles" in the lede[edit]

Somehow, this sentence had ended up the lede:

"For social reasons, female roles were played by boys or men in many early forms of theatre, and such roles, called 'breeches parts', continued to be common in several types of context even after female singers and actresses became accepted."

Breeches roles do not refer to men playing women's roles, quite the opoosite. I've corrected it to:

"For social reasons, female roles were played by boys or men in many early forms of theatre, and travesti roles continued to be used in several types of context even after actresses became accepted. The popular British theatrical form of the pantomime traditionally contained a role for a "principal boy", a breeches role played by a young woman, and also one or more pantomime dames, female comic roles played by men. Similarly, in the formerly popular genre of Victorian burlesque, there were usually one or more breeches roles."

Voceditenore (talk) 07:31, 8 February 2011 (UTC)

Thank goodness. Well done. Should it also mention the pantomime "dame"? Burlesques also sometimes had men play "dame" roles. Note that the pantomime dame is mentioned in the lead, but not in the body of the article. Indeed, pantomime is not mentioned in the body of the article. -- Ssilvers (talk) 15:03, 8 February 2011 (UTC)
I've added a bit about panto and burlesque to the body. I've also reorganized the material slightly so that plays (in which I include panto and burlesque), opera, and ballet each have their separate paragraph. It's easier on the reader and makes it easier for editors to know where to add material. Otherwise these articles start going down the road of randomly added bits of information. Voceditenore (talk) 17:59, 8 February 2011 (UTC)

Sidebar and "See also" section[edit]

I have moved that huge cross-dressing sidebar a bit further down the article. It distorts and restricts image placement and formatting and distorts the reader's perception of what this article is about, a very specific theatrical term and practice. The vast majority of the articles listed in the sidebar relate to sexual practice/identity and are only related to the topic of this article in the most tangential way, if at all. If this could be made into a collapsed format, it would be OK, or even better presented as a horizontal nav bar at the bottom of the page like Template:Opera terms and Template:Transgender. But in its current state it doesn't belong in a dominating position in the article.

I've also pruned the See also section. Some of the articles listed were already linked in the article text or the sidebar. Others were inappropriate listings of indvidual modern entertainers who use cross-dressing as part of their act, e.g. Verka Serduchka. Of the two that remain, I've added brief explanatory text as to why they appear in the section, since it is not immediately apparent to the non-specialist reader. Voceditenore (talk) 09:36, 8 February 2011 (UTC)

Voceditenore (talk) 09:36, 8 February 2011 (UTC)

Actually, I've now completely removed the sidebar for the reasons given above, plus the fact that's full of links to redirects from essentially deleted articles. I've replaced it with a link to Cross-dressing in the See Also section. If anyone wants to re-add it to this specific article, I'd appreciate some sort of discussion here first. Voceditenore (talk) 10:40, 8 February 2011 (UTC)

Primary subject?[edit]

Arguably this (long) article should be the primary subject and Travesti should have a disambig such as Travesti (South America) or Travesti (Spanish). Opinions? --Kleinzach 01:09, 9 February 2011 (UTC)

I don't think so. That article received over 5,000 views in January. It apparently is of interest to most searchers. -- Ssilvers (talk) 02:38, 9 February 2011 (UTC)
Is popularity the sole determinant? It's also a stub. --Kleinzach 03:16, 9 February 2011 (UTC)
Yes, popularity seems to be the most important factor. See WP:PRIMARYTOPIC. -- Ssilvers (talk) 03:36, 9 February 2011 (UTC)
This is not all that important, however I see no way of distinguishing between Wikipedia readers looking for travesti (theatre) and travesti (transgender), since both lots of people would have accessed Travesti. On Google, 'Travesti' gets 13.2 million hits, 'Travesti theatre' gets 9.5 million, 'Travesti transgender' only gets 379,000. --Kleinzach 04:16, 9 February 2011 (UTC)
It's hard to judge popularity from Wikipedia's page view statistics. For all we know, the South American term gets a lot of page views from people who were actually looking looking for the theatrical term. But if you look at the type of sites that come up first in a Google search, (as opposed to the actual number of hits), the sexual meaning is clearly the most 'popular'. The term in relation to gender identity, also appears to be used in other languages and outside South America. On the other hand, internet searches tend to be skewed to sex, and there's no reason why an encyclopedia should be. If it were to be disambiguated Transvesti (gender identity) would probably be the most accurate, as it seems it doesn't always refer to transgendered people. Anyhow, maybe it would be a good idea to get the view of people at WikiProject disambiguation. Voceditenore (talk) 06:45, 9 February 2011 (UTC)
It would also be possible to disambig both articles, of course. (I take the point about gender identity.) --Kleinzach 07:17, 9 February 2011 (UTC)

Breeches roles in Italian baroque opera[edit]

The statement “However, travesti mezzo-sopranos had been used earlier by both Handel and Mozart, sometimes because a castrato was not available, or to portray a boy or very young man, e.g. Cherubino in The Marriage of Figaro”, does not seem completely accurate to me and might turn misleading. In fact:

  • apart from Rome, the practice of women (mostly contraltos, but also sopranos) performing en travesti in the eighteenth century Italian operas appears to have been exceedingly common (there were also several of them who specialized in breeches roles);
  • that practice does not seem to have been confined to the absence of castratos or to portraying page-boys or very young men (as has been usual since about 1830); it just suited the period tastes for the marvellous which considered no odd at all that the light voice of a woman interpreted (young) male amatory roles (or, previously, that the heavy voice of a man interpreted old awkward woman ones);
  • that practice involved many other composers besides Handel and Mozart: in Vivaldi operas, for instance, (apart from those which were written for Rome) the leading male roles are probably more often allotted to women than to men (e.g.: Ottone, Nerone, Farnace in both La costanza trionfante degl'amori e de gl'odii and Farnace, Teuzzone, Orlando, Tamerlano).

I regret not feeling able to integrate the article myself.--Jeanambr (talk) 23:16, 6 February 2013 (UTC)

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