This is part of a series of articles exploring opera in the 21st century. Read Dr Caitlin Vincent on gender and sexual violenceagainst female characters in our March 2022 magazine, and Shamistha de Soysa on racism and representationin recent Australian opera productions,

One gratifying aspect of working at one of America’s most prestigious conservatoires is the intense academic discussion that balances out the creative preoccupation of my work as a director. And nowhere is the intersection of research and theatrical practice more pronounced than in consideration of the “standard” repertoire and its performance history, particularly where it engages with issues of (mis)representation and interpretation. 

Author intent

Working here at the University of Cincinnati with soprano and doctoral candidate Heidi Miller (whose thesis handbook Towards a Feminist Performance Practice of Nineteenth-Century Opera Repertoire I recommend to you in advance of its publication), we’ve discovered that contextualising pieces from the operatic canon within the social philosophies...