Tamsin Alexander (Selwyn College, Cambridge)

Tamsin Alexander recently completed her PhD dissertation at Selwyn College, Cambridge, under the supervision of Prof. Marina Frolova-Walker and funded by the AHRC. She is now a lecturer in the music department at Goldsmiths. Her PhD research investigated how Russian operas were first disseminated and received abroad, considering contrasting reactions to this repertoire in three cities where it was most prominently supported: Prague, London and Nice. As well as tracing the mechanics of cultural exchange, the thesis examined how, in the course of these events, Russia became a mirror for local and national musical concerns, such as the place of opera in society, the relationship between music and politics, and the potential shape of the musical future.

Her upcoming project concerns exchange between France and Russia in the years surrounding the signing of the Franco-Russian Alliance in 1894. Music played a prominent role in consolidating the union, both as a propaganda tool and as a source of mutual cultural and economic gain. This research will analyse the products of these new lines of exchange as well as considering the asymmetries of the transfer process, and the anxieties that arose as a result. In so doing, the goal is to go beyond comparative or transfer narratives to generate an entangled cultural history of France and Russia in this period.

Keywords: Opera – Theatre – Music and Diplomacy – Music and Politics – Music as Propaganda – Musical Migrations – Entangled History – Cultural History – Russia – France – Britain – Czech Lands – Nineteenth Century
Contact: t.alexander@gold.ac.uk
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