The explicit is the enemy of the voluptuous

Orgies — you’ve seen one, you’ve seen ’em all

Dalrymple notes that an orgy scene is now mandatory in opera productions,

just as doctoral theses in the Soviet Union used to need at least one quotation from Lenin.

Viewing the compulsory orgy scene in a production of Rigoletto (Giuseppe Verdi; first performed 1861), Dalrymple observes that orgies these days

are staged literally rather than suggestively.

It is as if, he says,

the ageing audience has to be reminded of what sex is.

Moreover, he points out, they are done up

like a tableau of Richard von Krafft-Ebing’s Psychopathia Sexualis [1886].

Richard von Krafft-Ebing, author of the dirtiest book ever written

‘Der unerwartet große buchhändlerische Erfolg ist wohl der beste Beweis dafür, daß es auch Der unzählige Unglückliche gibt, die in dem sonst nur Männern der Wissenschaft gewidmeten Buche Aufklärung und Trost hinsichtlich rätselhafter Erscheinungen ihrer eigenen Vita sexualis suchen und finden.’

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