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David G. Frey Distinguished Professor

Naomi AndréDr. Naomi André (David G. Frey Distinguished Professor) received her B.A. in music from Barnard College and M.A. and Ph.D. in musicology from Harvard University. She was previously a professor at the University of Michigan in the Departments of Afroamerican and African Studies, Women’s and Gender Studies, and the Residential College.

Dr. André’s research focuses on opera and issues surrounding gender, voice, and race. Her publications include topics on Italian opera, Schoenberg, women composers, and teaching opera in prisons. Her books, including, Voicing Gender: Castrati, Travesti, and the Second Woman in Early Nineteenth-Century Italian Opera (2006) and Blackness in Opera (2012, co-edited collection) focus on opera from the nineteenth to the mid-twentieth centuries and explore constructions of gender, race and identity. African Performance Arts and Political Acts (2021, co-edited collection) focuses on how performance and the arts shape the narratives of cultural history and politics on the African continent. Black Opera: History, Power, Engagement (2018) is a monograph on staging race and history in opera today in the United States and South Africa. She has served on the Graduate Alumni Council for Harvard University’s Graduate School of Art and Sciences, the Executive Committee for the Criminal Justice Program at the American Friends Service Committee (Ann Arbor, MI), and has served as an evaluator for the Fulbright Senior Specialist Program.

In 2019, Dr. André was named the inaugural Scholar in Residence at the Seattle Opera which has continued to the present. In her role, she advises Seattle Opera staff and leadership on matters of race and gender in opera; consults in artistic planning as it relates to representation of race and gender; and participates in company panel discussions, podcast recordings, and contributes essays to opera programs. She has continued to work with major and regional opera companies through panels, short residencies, and program essays.

In addition, Dr. André has worked with every major opera company in the United States and many regional opera companies and festivals. This summer she is a scholar-in-residence for the Des Moines Metro Opera. She has written program essays for recordings of Blue (CD, Tesori and Thompson, 2022) and Fire Shut Up in My Bones (DVD Blanchard and Lemmons 2022). On February 4, 2022 she testified before the Committee on the Judiciary as a Witness for House Resolution 301 hearing “Examining the History and Importance of ‘Lift Every Voice and Sing’ to become a National Hymn” (sponsored by Congressman James E. Clyburn, South Carolina).

Books and Editions

African Performance Arts and Political Actsedited by Naomi André, Yolanda Covington-Ward, and Jendele Hungbo. Ann Arbor: University of Michigan Press, 2021.

Black Opera: History, Power, Engagement. Champaign: University of Illinois Press, 2018.

Blackness in Opera, edited by Naomi André, Karen M. Bryan, and Eric Saylor. Champaign: University of Illinois Press, 2012.

Voicing Gender: Castrati, Travesti, and the Second Woman in Early-Nineteenth-Century Italian Opera. Bloomington and Indianapolis, Indiana University Press, 2006.

Office: 202A Hill Hall