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Maupin, infamous French soprano; b. 1670; d. Provence, 1707. She was the daughter of the secretary to the Count of Armagnac. In 1690 she made her operatic debut as Pallas in Lully’s Cadmus et Hermione at the Paris Opéra, where she continued to sing until 1705. She possessed a remarkable voice of great beauty, which was complemented by her physical attributes. Her life outside the theater was as exciting as any role she played on the stage. A penchant for donning men’s clothing gave rise to situations in which she defended herself in duels. Her sexual appetite led to various bisexual encounters. For many years she was the mistress of the Elector of Bavaria. Her notorious life served as the basis of Gautier’s novel Mademoiselle Maupin, double amour (Paris, 1835–36).


G. Letainturier-Fradin, La M. (1760–1707): Sa vie, ses duels, ses aventures (Paris, 1904).

—Nicolas Slonimsky/Laura Kuhn/Dennis McIntire