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Susan Rutherford

Prof, Emerita Professor of Music

  • Emeritus Professor, Music

Personal profile

Further information

Additional Information



I studied voice with Frederic Cox at the Royal Northern College of Music in both undergraduate and postgraduate programmes; and later took my PhD here at the University of Manchester.

In 2003, I was awarded the biennial 'Premio internazionale: "Giuseppe Verdi"' by the Istituto Nazionale di Studi Verdiani, Parma.  I also received the 2007 Pauline Alderman Award for 'outstanding research on women and music' for my monograph The Prima Donna and Opera, 1815-1930 (CUP, 2006). I have presented public lectures and/or written programme notes for Glyndebourne, Royal Opera House, Opera North, English National Opera, Buxton Opera, the BBC Proms, BBC Symphony Orchestra, and ABAO Ópera de Bilbao. As well as various interviews about opera and theatre for BBC Radio, I have written and presented two documentaries on opera for BBC Radio Three.

Research interests

Specific research interests:

My research and teaching interests centre on interactions between music and drama, including opera (particularly nineteenth-century Italian opera), music-theatre, musicals on stage and screen, and film music. A long-standing absorption in the history of opera singers (including social and cultural discourses, tuition, professional life, vocal techniques and performance practices on the operatic stage) resulted in a monograph entitled The Prima Donna and Opera, 1815-1930 (Cambridge University Press, 2006).  My most recent monograph, Verdi, Opera, Women  (Cambridge University Press, 2013), explores the literary and musical composition, operatic conventions and socio-historical context of the female characters in Verdi's operas.

Current research projects:

My current project (funded by a three-year Leverhulme Trust Major Research Fellowship from 2016-19) is entitled 'A History of Voices: Singing in Britain from 1690 to the Present'.

External positions

Honorary Professor of Music, University of Cambridge

Honorary Fellow of Jesus College, University of Cambridge


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