Research

My scholarly work focuses on twenty-first-century opera performance practice as it relates to contemporary politics and social justice activism. The opera performance canon is filled with outdated and deeply problematic political ideas that increasingly clash with modern sensibilities when performed uncritically. I argue that production and performance are vital elements of opera, and that contemporary opera practitioners not only interpret but create operatic works when they put them onstage.

 

My forthcoming monograph, Rape at the Opera: Staging Sexual Violence (under contract with the University of Michigan Press), will be the first extended work to consider contemporary operatic production through an explicitly political lens. Rather than dismiss the political problems of canonic operas as being merely residues of the past, I explore the cultural work these operas do when we perform them today and model a way of evaluating problematic representations in light of contemporary feminist ethics.

My next research project broadens the scope of my dissertation along two axes. First, I expand my focus to issues of oppression in addition to misogyny and sexual violence including racism, ableism, colonialism, and transphobia. Second, I move beyond locating representations of oppression on the stage to consider how the structures of operatic creation and performance perpetuate systemic oppression in the opera industry. I am particularly interested in the experiences of racialized, queer, and disabled opera performers and directors. My work explores the ways their identities inform and interact with the characters and representations they create onstage. The research output of my new project is twofold: I will analyze representations of equity-seeking groups on opera stages and theorize the barriers to access that exist for individuals from these groups in operatic structures and norms historically and today. I will also continue to develop a scholarly-dramaturgical practice in the realm of opera composition and production.

Publications

Book

Forthcoming: Rape at the Opera: Staging Sexual Violence

  • Under contract for University of Michigan Press’s Music and Social Justice series

Conference Participation and
Invited Talks

Conferences Organized

  •  Music Graduate Students’ Society Symposium, McGill University, 23–25 March, 2018.

Invited Talks

  • “Re-envisioning Opera Studies: Musicology, Dramaturgy, and Activism.” With Rena Roussin. Speaker Series, Brock University, 4 February.

 

Papers Presented 

  • Forthcoming: “Ceremony and Sistering in Namwayut: Care Ethics, Indigenous Epistemologies, and Dramaturgy.” Feminist Theory and Music, University of Guelph, 7–10 July.

  • “Opera Dramaturgy as Musicological Praxis.” Stitching New Stories: Reimagining Music Theatre, Queens University and the Watershed Music Theatre Festival, May 27–28, 2021. 

  • “Where Do We Go from Here? Ethical Representation On- and Offstage in Opera.” Virtual meeting of the New York State-St. Lawrence chapter meeting of the American Musicological Society, April 15–16, 2021.

  • “Salome as Victim: Representations of Rape and Trauma in Twenty-First-Century Productions of Strauss’s Salome.” Virtual meeting of the American Musicological Society, 7–15 November, 2020.

  • “Identifying Sexual Assault in Operatic Repertoire: A Workshop for Music History Instructors.” With Julie Anne Nord. New York State-St. Lawrence chapter meeting of the American Musicological Society, Colgate University, 2–3 April, 2020. Conference cancelled due to COVID-19.

  • “‘Poor Mozart!’: Beauty and the Reception of Regietheater,” for Roundtable: “The Work of Beauty in Opera.” Canadian University Music Society (MusCan), University of British Columbia, 5–7 June, 2019.

  • “Reimagining the Seraglio in the Twenty-First Century: Staging Violence Against Women in Two Productions of Die Entführung aus dem Serail.” Opera and Violence, Oxford Brookes: Exploring Research Trends in Opera, 11 September, 2018.

  • “Trauma at the Opera: Sexual Abuse in Twenty-First-Century Productions of Salome.” Feminist Theory and Music, San Francisco State University, 27–30 July, 2017.

  • “Looking for the Light: Symbolism of Light and Darkness in Tristan und Isolde and Pelléas et Mélisande.” Death, Burial and the Afterlife in the Arts and Humanities, University College Dublin, 23–25 June, 2016.

  • “Automation and Autonomy: Conlon Nancarrow’s Player Piano and American Musical Politics in the Cold War.” Violation: Representations in Literature and Culture (Graduate Student Conference), McGill University, 20–22 February, 2015.

  • “Elysium on the Lido: Platonic Salvation in Benjamin Britten’s Death in Venice.” Confounding Expectations: Musical Intersections (Graduate Student Conference), University of Calgary, 28–29 April, 2015.

Education

2021

PhD Musicology

McGill University, Montéal QC

2015

MA Musicology

Western University, London ON

2013

BMus Honours Performance (Voice) with Distinction

Western University, London ON