Demythologizing Gluck

Fri, Mar 24, 2023
3:00 pm EDT - 4:30 pm EDT

The works of Christoph Willibald Gluck—and the critical controversies that surrounded them—have long formed a central point of reference in studies of opera in late eighteenth-century France. This panel seeks to contextualize and “demythologize” the composer’s role within the landscape of pre-revolutionary lyric theater.


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Julia Doe is Assistant Professor of Music at Columbia University. Her first book, The Comedians of the King (University of Chicago Press, 2021), traces the impact of Bourbon patronage on the development of pre-revolutionary opéra comique. Her essays have appeared in the Journal of the American Musicological Society, Studies in Eighteenth-Century Culture, Eighteenth-Century Music, Cambridge Opera Journal, and in the edited collection, Histoire de l’opéra français du Roi-Soleil à la Révolution. Prof. Doe is the recipient of the Alfred Einstein and M. Elizabeth C. Bartlet awards from the AMS, as well as grants from the National Endowment for the Humanities and the Fulbright Program. She is currently working on a new project on the Franco-Caribbean musical networks of Joseph Bologne, Chevalier de Saint-Georges.

Hedy Law is Associate Professor of Musicology at the School of Music of the University of British Columbia. Her book, Music, Pantomime and Freedom in Enlightenment France (Boydell and Brewer 2020) explains how composers used pantomime as a type of expressive dance and acting style that marked an aesthetic rupture between Louis XIV’s absolutist governance and the Enlightenment ideals of free expression. Her articles have appeared in Cambridge Opera Journal; The Opera QuarterlyMusique et Geste en France; Oxford Handbook of Music Censorship; Oxford Handbook of Music and Disabilities Studies; Oxford Handbook of Music and the Body; Noise, Audition, and Aurality; and the special issue on music and architecture in the journal CENTER: Architecture and Design in America.

Annalise Smith is a Lecturer of Musicology in the School of Music at Memorial University. Her research focuses on 18th-century operatic music in France, emphasizing the role institutions play in shaping musical cultures and traditions. Her research also explores issues of sexual violence and perceptions of beauty in musical stage works. Her research, supported by a grant from the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada, has received awards from MusCan and regional AMS. Her most recent publications include “Looking Eastward in Handel’s Operas” (EMAg: The Magazine of Early Music America) and “Beyond the Canon: Using Contemporary Works to Address Sexual Violence in the Music Drama” in the forthcoming collection Teaching Difficult Topics in the Music Classroom. In addition to her teaching work, she currently serves as the Project Coordinator for the Research Centre for the Study of Music, Media, and Place at Memorial University.