Dr Clair Rowden
PhD MA BMus (Hons) FHEA
Reader in Musicology
I am a graduate of Goldsmith's College, University of London, and gained my PhD at City University, London in 2002.
My research deals mainly with opera and nineteenth-century France, and I have published widely on the critical reception and cultural history of opera, stage production, dance, iconography and press caricature.
I am co-director of CIRO (Cardiff Interdisciplinary Research in Opera and Drama) which works in close collaboration with Welsh National Opera and other performing and professional institutions, and I regularly write programme notes and give pre-performance talks for major opera houses and festivals in Europe.
I have held visiting fellowships in France, Brazil and Mexico.
Education and Qualifications
2009: FHEA, Cardiff University
2002: PhD City University, London
1996: MA (Performance), City University, London
1994: DALF, Institut français, London
1992: BMus (Hons), Goldsmiths' College, University of London
- Visiting lecturer at City University
- Visiting lecturer at Université de Rouen
- Visiting lecturer at Royal Holloway, University of London
I regularly give conference papers and invited lectures, as well as participating in conference programme committees and chairing conference sessions. Papers given since 2013:
June 2017: 'Carmen reception in Paris 1875-1904’, Carmen Singer of the World Conference, Cardiff University.
March 2017: 'Glitter and be gay: a singer's jewels', Operatic Objects, OBERTO conference, Senate House, London.
November 2015: '"C'est la fille d'un roi...". Caroline Miolan Carvalho and Christine Nilsson: Parisian princesses?', American Musicological Society Annual Meeting, Louisville, USA.
November 2015: 'Du grand au petit: Faust on Parisian stages in 1869', Opera, Politics, and Parody in Nineteenth-Century France, University of Kentucky, Lexington, USA.
October 2015: 'Parodying Tannhäuser on the Parisian popular stage, 1861’, The théâtre musical léger in Europe: From the Operetta to the Music-hall, Centro Studi Opera Omnia Luigi Boccherini, Lucca, Italy.
September 2015: 'The Second Swedish Nightingale: Christine Nilsson, a very Nordic talent', OBERTO conference, Oxford.
March 2015: 'Deferent Daisies: The battle of the Marguerites at the Paris Opéra, Spring 1869', University of Nottingham.
September 2014: 'Wilde, Mariotte and Strauss: an entente cordiale?', Friends of Wexford Festival Opera, Irish Embassy, London.
December 2013: 'Parodying Tannhäuser on the Parisian popular stage, 1861’, International Symposium Traces of Perfromance: Opera, Music Theatre, and Theatre Music in the Long 19th Century, Sibelius Academy, Helsinki.
May 2013: ‘Salome/Trouhanowa: Her Multiple Dances of Death’, Stages of Death: Men, Women and Suffering in Opera and Ballet, part of ‘Before I die: A festival for the living about dying’, Cardiff University.
December 2017: 'Refitting the slipper: Massenet's slant on the age-old tale of Cendrillon', with Richard Langham Smith, Royal Northern College of Music, Manchester.
August 2017: Proms Extra in conversation with Clemency Burton Hill and Richard Langham Smith, Saint-Saëns Organ Symphony, Imperial College Union, London.
December 2016: Offenbach's La Vie Parisienne, with Hugh MacDonald, Royal Northern College of Music, Manchester.
I'm happy to supervise PhDs on all areas of opera studies, both musicological and practice-based research, as well as French music and music in France during the long nineteenth century, and gender studies.
At undergraduate level, I teach modules on French and Italian opera in the nineteenth century, the business of opera, musical theatre, and music in Paris 1850-1900.
I also run the third-year dissertation module, supervising a wide range of topics.
My research focuses on nineteenth-century opera and France, with activities ranging from music editing and archival study to microhistory and reception studies, and including operatic staging and dance, iconography and gender.
Current research entails a book on opera and parody in France during the second half of the nineteenth century, and the co-edited collection Musical Theatre in Europe 1830-1945 (Brepols, 2017) with Michela Niccolai.
In June 2017, I organised the public conference 'Carmen Singer of the World', in collaboration with BBC Cardiff Singer of the World, the BBC National Orchestra of Wales and Welsh National Opera, which brought together a group of eighteen academics from across Europe, Australia and the Americas to focus on processes of cultural exchange, and how the most widely performed opera globally – Carmen – was first performed, produced, disseminated, appropriated and received worldwide. Each day comprised an open-access public lunchtime event:
- Annabel Arden, ‘Speech and song: exploring the mixed form of Carmen’
- Clair Rowden in conversation with Dame Kiri Te Kanawa
A co-edited collection with Richard Langham Smith, Carmen Abroad will be published in 2020.
I am co-director of CIRO (Cardiff Interdisciplinary Research in Opera and Drama) with Dr Monika Hennemann and have co-organised a number of events and symposia:
- February 2017, Opera creation, translation and surtitling, Public study day, Welsh National Opera
- November 2016, International Artistic Creation during WWI, National Museum Cardiff
- May 2016, Mametz Wood, poetry and song, Public study day in collaboration with Welsh National Opera, Wales Millennium Centre
- May 2014, International Interdisciplinary Symposium: Translation in Music, Cardiff University
The Commemorating WWI: Conflict and Creativity project was supported by an AHRC Cultural Encounters Fellowship.
I am a steering group member of the AHRC network 'Francophone Music Criticism 1789-1914', and have been responsible for the preparation of on-line editions of various corpora of nineteenth-century French music criticism made available as part of the FMC's creation of a valuable web resource for researchers.
I am the Music Book Placement Editor for H-France.