Emma Kavanagh

Research Interests

Music in France in the nineteenth and twentieth centuries; opera studies; gender studies; postcolonial studies; musical exoticism

Area of proposed thesis

I am a musicologist and cultural historian of opera and performance in France during the nineteenth and early twentieth centuries, with a focus on race, gender and identity. My thesis will focus on presentations of masculinity in French exotic opera of the Belle Époque (1870-1914). By placing these operas in their social, political and cultural contexts, I will investigate the degree to which they reveal the crisis of masculinity which is often associated with this period in France’s history. My doctoral research is supervised by Professor Daniel Grimley.


(Forthcoming).“‘Du Paradis Rêvé’: The Orient in the Male Imagination in Saint-Saëns’s La Princesse Jaune” Conference proceedings for The East, The West, The In-Between. LMU Munich: Allitera (Münchner Publikationen zur Musikgeschichte, Vol. II).

Conference Presentations

“A ‘Paradis rêvé’: The Imagined Orient in Saint-Saëns’s La Princesse Jaune”, Annual Conference of the American Musicological Society, Boston, 31 October-3 November 2019

“The Reception of Pelléas et Mélisande and Fin-de-Siècle Anxious Masculinity”, France: Musiques, Cultures Pre-Conference for the American Musicological Society, Boston, 30-31 October 2019

“Édouard Lalo’s Exotic Brittany: The Case of Le Roi d’Ys”, OBERTO Postgraduate Research Conference, Oxford Brookes University, 9 June 2019

“‘Du paradis rêvé’: The Orient in the Male Imagination in Saint-Saëns’s La Princesse Jaune”, Young Musicology Munich: The East, The West, The In-Between, Ludwig-Maximilians-Universität Munich, 9-10 November 2018

“‘Non! Non!’: Pelléas, Symbolism, Consent”, OBERTO Conference: Opera and Violence, Oxford Brookes University, 11 September 2018

“Chivalry and Hysteria: Musical Explorations of Golaud in Debussy’s Pelléas et Mélisande”, Masculinities and their Clichés in Music and Theatre, Kunstuniversität Graz, 27-28 October 2017



Oxford-Louis Curran Graduate Scholarship

Subjects Taught

– Strauss and the Representation of Women
– Women and Music in the Nineteenth Century