Emma Kavanagh

I am a musicologist specialising in opera and musical culture in France between the Revolution and the First World War. I hold an undergraduate degree from the University of Cambridge, a master’s from the University of Nottingham, and recently completed my DPhil at the University of Oxford.

My current research focuses on opera and representation during the Belle Époque (1870–1914), with a particular interest in race, class and gender. I was the inaugural recipient of the Oxford-Louis Curran Graduate Scholarship at Linacre College, and in 2021 was awarded the Ralph Gibson Bursary from the Society for the Study of French History in recognition of the interdisciplinary contribution of my work.

I have been a College Tutor in Oxford for several years, and have held lectureships at Magdalen College and St Hugh’s College. As the Lord Crewe Career Development Fellow in Music, I will spend the next year (until December 2023) working on journal articles arising from my doctoral thesis and preparing for a future monograph project on women opera composers in nineteenth-century France.

Peer-Reviewed Articles 

‘“Qu’il est loin mon pays”: Staging (Be)longing in Massenet’s Sapho’. Dix-Neuf (2023). Pre-prints available online, forthcoming in print. 

Book Chapters

‘“Du paradis rêvé”: The Orient in the Male Imagination in Saint-Saëns’s La Princesse Jaune’. In The East, The West, The In-Between in Music, ed. David Vondráček, 59-69. Munich: Allitera, 2021.


(with Dylan C. Price) ‘Review: Natalie Abrahami and Ann Yee (dir.), Rusalka (Royal Opera House), 21 February – 7 March 2023’. Forthcoming in Romance, Revolution and Reform, 2023. 

Public Engagement

‘Camille Saint-Saëns: A Belated Centenary’.  Oxford Musician, Issue 12 (Summer 2022).

‘Declaration of the Rights of Woman and of the Female Citizen, read by Emma Kavanagh’. Guest episode, The French History Podcast, July 2022.

Notre Dame in Adaptation: Louise Bertin’s La Esmeralda’. Guest episode, The French History Podcast, June 2021.

Music (particularly opera) in France during the long nineteenth century; music and gender; musical exoticism; music and the press; opera and adaptation; opera and stagecraft; singers and performance