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Sophie Horrocks

Pgr Combined Role

Pgr Combined Role in the Department of Music


Sophie is in her second year of a Northern Bridge AHRC-funded PhD exploring nineteenth-century French touring troupes. Her research focuses on the working practices of travelling opera and theatre performers across provincial France during the period 1824-64, and the relationship between theatrical culture and the national imaginary. The project explores questions concerning patterns of artistic dissemination and musical mobility, power dynamics between the capital and the provinces, and the processes of taste formation and aesthetic criticism in provincial French towns. Sophie was a PGR Representative for the Music Department between 2019-20, organising the weekly seminar series, and continues to be a student representative for the Northern Bridge Management Committee in Durham. 

Sophie studied as an undergraduate at the University of Cambridge, completed a Masters at King’s College London and worked in the arts outreach sector for three years. She is also an active performer, most recently appearing in Durham as Nurse Filippyevna (Eugene Onegin – Assembly Theatre) and the mezzo soloist in Mendelhssohn’s Elijah (Durham Cathedral). 

Public Engagement:

In July and August 2020, Sophie collaborated with Northern Opera Group for their online ‘Leeds Opera Story’ mini-exhibition, researching operatic life in nineteenth-century Leeds and participating in a virtual panel discussion entitled ‘Researching Opera’. She will continue helping with the research and curation of the physical exhibition in 2021 when this is able to take place. 

In October 2019, Sophie researched and presented a talk about opera and politics in 1920s Germany for the Durham Opera Appreciation Society (DOAS). 

Between 2016-2018, Sophie organised English National Opera’s Pre-Performance Talk series, collaborating with academics and artists to offer insights into the repertoire and productions staged at the London Coliseum. Sophie also organised a series of Salon Discussions dedicated to opening up the theatre industry for young people and students. 

'The appearance and disappearance of theatrical communities: the troupe d'arrondissement and regional identity'
Appearing/ Revealing/ Disappearing. Cultural practices of staging in 19th-century France
, October 2020 (Université de Lausanne) 

'The study of staging materials as a way of investigating the dual local-national role of touring troupes'
Northern Bridge Lockdown Seminar Series, June 2020 (Hosted by Northern Bridge University Cohort, online) 

CANCELLED 'Performing Networks: singers and actors in French troupes d’arrondissement in the mid-nineteenth century'
19th Century Music Biennial Conference, June 2020 (University of British Columbia) 

'The other 'catalogue aria': Offenbach's Tromb-al-ca-zar and the performance practices of French provincial theatre'
Royal Musical Association Student Conference, January 2020 (The Open University) 

'Breaking the fourth wall: iconography and alternative operatic narratives in Parisian quadrilles of the late nineteenth century'
Music and Iconography, November 2019 (SOAS) 

'“Mon père! J’ai peur!” Fatherhood and the construction of male identity in Halévy’s La Juive (1835)'
OBERTO Student Research Conference, September 2019 (Oxford Brookes University) 

'Stone dancers in the city: the ‘ballet girl’ and the nineteenth century public imagination'
Annual Oxford Dance Symposium: Dance and the City, April 2015 (University of Oxford)

MUSI1261 – Historical Studies 1
MUSI2691 - Historical Studies 2

Research interests

  • Centre-periphery relationships
  • French social and cultural history
  • Material culture
  • Music, mobility and cultural transfer
  • Nineteenth century music
  • Opera studies
  • Performance practice
  • Popular theatre