- Early modern opera
- Patronage and systems of music production
- Singers and performance practice
- Nineteenth-century light musical theatre
- Operatic translations and adaptations
My main areas of interest are early opera and nineteenth-century musical theatre.
I worked extensively on seventeenth-century opera and society, looking in particular at the ways in which class and gender influenced the patronage of musical entertainments in seventeenth-century Italy. My recent book, The Politics of Princely Entertainment: Music and Spectacle in the Lives of Lorenzo Onofrio and Maria Mancini Colonna (1659–1689) (2020) looks at music and theatrical entertainments as political tools through which members of the Roman aristocracy enhanced their social and political agendas. The book also addresses questions about the circulation of musical scores, and the careers of musicians, singers and composers across the worlds of the courts and the public theatres. Other projects related to seventeenth-century music and culture include the study of stage costumes in early modern opera, the soundscape of early modern Rome, and some “detective” research I conducted at the Metropolitan Music of Art, New York, to identify the provenance of a 400-year-old harpsichord, now housed in the Met collection of musical instruments. My work on seventeenth-century music and culture has been published in several volumes and musicological journals including The Oxford Handbook of Opera, Renaissance Studies, The Journal of Musicology, Early Music and the Journal of Seventeenth-Century Music. I am the editor of Fashioning Opera and Musical Theatre: Stage Costumes in Europe from the Late Renaissance to 1900 (2014) and the co-editor with Christine Jeanneret of The Great Theatre of the World: Sound, Space and the Performance of Identity in Early Modern Rome (2020).
More recently I became interested in how operetta and light opera travelled from one country to another during the nineteenth century, and in the ways they were translated and adapted to please diverse audiences in a variety of political and social contexts. My chapter on “Operetta in Italy” appeared in The Cambridge Companion to Operetta (2019) and I am currently working on parodies and burlesques based on Italian opera on the Victorian London stage.