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Katie Gardner

DPhil Student in Music
Katie Gardner image

I am a second year DPhil student in Music and the Wendell Herbruck scholar at The Queen’s College. Additionally, I serve as the Chair of the Wolfson College Music Society. I received my BA(cum laude) in English Literature and Music from Kent State University and my MFA in Voice from California Institute of the Arts, where I served as the Graduate Voice Assistant and the Graduate Teaching Assistant. As a selected participant in the Walt Disney Imagineering/CalArts Educational Initiative, I was mentored in creative entertainment and aerial spectacle at Walt Disney Imagineering in Glendale, CA.

My doctoral research developed out of my creative practice as a contemporary voice artist and aerialist. My dissertation, The Staged Aerial Body in Opera Spectacle, examines the dramaturgic role of the staged aerial body in contemporary opera performance. The staged aerial body, which is inclusive of the acrobatic and non-acrobatic body, has been largely ignored by opera scholarship even though its incorporation in staging opera has been a prominent performative feature since its inception in the late sixteenth century. The second chapter of my doctoral dissertation, Intermedii, Stage Machinery, and the Development of Staging Opera Spectacle, will examine the connection of the staged aerial body in relation to the music and dramatic texts it served from its utilization in intermedii to its development in early opera. With the support of TORCH and Fondazione Giorgio Cini, I will trace the visceral and audiovisual role the airborne body had in the creation of opera derived from intermedii and Italian courtly entertainments, with broader implications to the role of elaborate audiovisual spectacle in opera performances. My archival research and visits to historical opera sites in Venice will be documented on twitter (please see below)