A PhD candidate in historical musicology at Harvard University, Ms. Natasha Roule has just been awarded a 2017-2018 Mellon/ACLS Dissertation Completion Fellowships for “Reviving Lully: Opera and the Negotiation of Absolutism in the French Provinces, 1685-1750.”
Her project explores the history of the first French operas—the tragédies lyriques of Jean-Baptiste Lully (1632-1687)—in the French provinces between 1685 and 1750. Scholars typically focus on productions of Lully’s operas in Paris or at court, where the operas premiered. Provincial productions of Lully’s operas, however, offer a crucial perspective on a period of unprecedented expansion of royal authority over France and the ascendance of Paris as the French cultural capital. This project argues that provincial productions of Lully’s operas voiced tension and compromise between regional identity and royal absolutist ideology. An analysis of scores, libretti, and contemporary criticism of the productions reveals a thriving practice among artists of affirming or subverting the operas’ frequent allusions to Louis XIV through musical and textual adaptations or satire. An epilogue studies modern revivals of Lully’s operas to reflect further on the repertoire’s adaptability to the identities and ideologies of performers.
Natasha was already the recipient of numerous academic awards, including the American Graduate Fellowship from the Council of Independent Colleges, the Anne Louise Barrett Fellowship from Wellesley College, and a Pforzheimer Fellowship at Harvard University’s Houghton Library, for which she contributed extensively to the music database RISM (Répertoire International des Sources Musicales). Complementing her work as a musicologist, Natasha is the Co-Artistic Director of Les Enfants d’Orphée, a professional chamber ensemble dedicated to the performance of French baroque music. Her research on 17th-century French music manuscripts can be found on the Houghton Library Blog (July 2015), and she is currently completing an article on 18th-century Burgundian parodies of airs from Lully’s operas.