This colloquy grew out of an especially lively panel discussion at the 2016 annual meeting of the American Musicological Society, entitled “Sexual Violence on Stage.” Inspired in part by rising public concern over the frequency and institutional mishandling of sexual assaults on college and university campuses and by the reemergence into public awareness of the term “rape culture,” the participants also found themselves responding to well-publicized remarks by political figures that seemed to celebrate acts that met the legal definition of sexual assault; to the controversial proliferation of opera productions that strike some as gratuitously explicit; and to the sparse but powerful critical literature on sexual assault in opera.

In 2015 the American Association...

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