Would Octavian shave his legs?

click for a run-through of JDD’s Octavians

It may be a whimsical (yet burning) question but think about it: trouser roles are supposed to be men. Would they shave their legs? I’m sure a dude like Orlando wouldn’t even think the razor was for something other than offing enemies. Tancredi wouldn’t either. Neither would Holofernes, unless he was convinced that would win Juditha’s heart (maybe that’s what Dalila should’ve done to Samson). Cherubino’s probably smooth as a baby’s arse and I don’t see Sesto as particularly hairy, though you never know, he’s Mediterranean… Annio might, he’s a bit dapper and strikes me as a budding control freak.

Anyway, a few of these were originated by men, so maybe the answer is a decided hell no. But what about a bona fide trouser role like Octavian? Especially since it’s the one most likely to show some leg, both because of Mariandel and because he first comes to our attention whilst in bed. He’s older than Cherubino so he might’ve sprouted some. I think he’d be proud of it. As would The Composer, since nobody’s taking him seriously.

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About dehggial

opera lover with a predilection for Mozart and Baroque

Posted on August 28, 2016, in 20th century, acting in opera, mezzos & contraltos, opera humour, richard strauss and tagged , , . Bookmark the permalink. 8 Comments.

  1. do you think it depends on whether there was growth hormone and whether they drank milk? nobody in our family has hair on legs except my younger brother who came to the US when he was 7, drank lots of milk, and has tons of hair everywhere on leg!

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    • lucky lot! There might be something to the milk thing, though I’m milk intolerant and without getting into too much detail… Is your younger brother also taller than the rest of the family?

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      • he wished 😉 . no, i think genetic caught him there.. though statistically immigrant vietnamese kids growing up in the US are taller than their older siblings (as i “see”, haven’t conducted a true stat collection..)
        (and interesting thought too, that this “shaving” notion is a western thing.. because we don’t even have shaver in vietnam and i think it was something we would have never thought of! clearly, we don’t have leg hairs (maybe!) 😀

        In the end, as you somehow noticed here Oktavian’s leg is hairless.. but that’s only because western society emphasizes shaving them? If that is not a focus at all, then if they have hair, they do, else they don’t, but nobody would even discuss, you think?

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        • If that is not a focus at all, then if they have hair, they do, else they don’t, but nobody would even discuss, you think?

          true, I’m not sure if this would’ve been an issue when it was written because I have no idea when this whole women’s shaving thing took off (probably only when dresses shortened). The thing is, these days, at least with Western women, if you see a bare leg you check for hair. Maybe it’s just me 😉

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  2. He is prepping for the Tour de France

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Can’t see Polinesso shaving his legs. He might shave Dalinda (her legs, man do you have a dirty mind) but probably with a blunt razor.

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