Dr Alexandra Wilson
Follow Alexandra on Twitter: @amwilson_opera
Alexandra is a musicologist and cultural historian specialising in late nineteenth- and twentieth-century opera viewed within its critical, cultural and political contexts. A particular focus of her research has been the reception and politicisation of Puccini’s works: her monograph, The Puccini Problem: Opera, Nationalism, and Modernity (Cambridge University Press, 2007) was awarded the American Musicological Society’s Lewis Lockwood Award for a work of outstanding musicological scholarship.
Alexandra Wilson’s research interests include music and national identity; opera and gender (particularly constructions of masculinity); singers and recording culture; the contemporary staging of opera; and the contemporary reception of opera through other artforms. Current projects include a study of operatic culture in 1920s Britain and a book for Oxford University Press on La bohème.
In addition to her academic work, Alexandra undertakes much high profile public engagement and media work. She can be heard regularly on BBC Radio 3 and has written programme essays, given talks and recorded podcasts or interviews for the leading UK opera companies. Radio 4’s PM programme recently called her “a real ambassador for opera”. Her second book, Opera: A Beginner’s Guide (Oneworld, 2010), seeks to demystify opera and demonstrate its relevance to contemporary life.
Dr Barbara Eichner
Follow Barbara on Twitter: @BarbaraEichner
Barbara Eichner (Co-Founder and Co-Director) is a music historian who counts, among her many and varied interests, the stage works of Richard Wagner, Richard Strauss and Ethel Smyth in their historical, cultural and aesthetic contexts. Several chapters of her monograph History in Mighty Sounds: Musical Constructions of German National Identity, 1848-1914 (Boydell, 2012) investigate the role of opera in the formation of a German national identity in the second half of the ‘long’ nineteenth century. She is particularly interested in works that are rooted in national myth and history (e.g. the Nibelungs or ‘Hermann the German’), and the question of transnational and cross-cultural transfer and reception. She wrote the entries on ‘German national identity’ and Lohengrin for the Cambridge Wagner Encyclopedia edited by Nicholas Vazsonyi, and a chapter on the reception of the Ring for the forthcoming Cambridge Companion to Wagner’s Ring.
Recent opera activities include presentations about Wagner’s minor characters at the Universities of Huddersfield and Birmingham, a paper on “Wagner in London and the Quest for an English National Opera” at the WagnerWorldWide2013 conference in Bern / Switzerland (now published in Gefühlskraftwerke für Patrioten); and a presentation about Zerbinetta at the study day Ariadne auf Naxos: A Centenary Workshop.
Barbara regularly participates in live broadcasts from the Royal Opera House for BBC Opera on 3 and has contributed to online opera guides such as Wagner: Making a National Hero. She writes programme notes for the orchestras and choruses of the Bavarian Radio and gives pre-concert talks, e.g. for the BBC Proms Extra series in 2016.
Dr Katharine Craik
Follow Katharine on Twitter: @kcraik1
Dr Katharine Craik is a Reader in Early Modern Literature (1550-1700) in the Department of English and Modern Languages at Oxford Brookes, and a librettist. Her current opera project, Watching, a collaboration with composer Dee Isaacs (University of Edinburgh), is an exploration of the history of sleep funded by an Arts Award from the Wellcome Trust. Previous works include The Quicken Tree (2011), also with Dee Isaacs; and works for Glyndebourne Education and ENO Baylis written in collaboration with composer David Knotts.