Jane Sylvester

Jane Sylvester
Assistant Professor of Musicology
Musicology Area Coordinator

Contact Info
Grant Hall, Room 123


Dr. Jane Sylvester’s work centers on studies of material and scientific cultures, embodiment, gender, and politics within nineteenth- and twentieth-century Italian opera. Jane’s current book project explores the intersections between verismo opera and histories of science in post-Unification Italy, and her most recent research explores contemporary operatic revivals through performance collaboration and haute couture fashion design in Rome. She completed her Master’s and Ph.D. in Musicology at the Eastman School of Music in 2021, and also holds Bachelor’s degrees in Music Education and Saxophone Performance from Michigan State University.

Jane’s article, “Dramatised Deviancy: ‘Tosca’ at the Dawn of Criminal Anthropology” was published with the Cambridge Opera Journal in 2022 and her piece, “Puccini’s Material Girls: Tensions of the Spiritual Body in ‘Le Villi’” is in press with Opera Quarterly. Most recently, she contributed a chapter about Italian operatic criticism at the turn of the twentieth century, which is forthcoming in “Puccini in Context” (edited by Alexandra Wilson) with Cambridge University Press.

Her research has been supported by external fellowships and grants from the American Council of Learned Societies, the American Musicological Society, and the Presser Foundation, among others. Her ongoing research throughout Italy has also been supported by UMKC’s Faculty Funding for Excellence Award and an Early Career Faculty Award from the UMKC Emeritus College. She has presented her research nationally and internationally at numerous meetings of the American Musicological Society, the Transnational Opera Studies Conference, and the North American and International Conferences on Nineteenth-Century Music.At UMKC, Jane has taught both semesters of the undergraduate music history survey, graduate courses in research and bibliography in music, and has designed and offered graduate courses on the history of opera, the Romantic and Classical eras, and music and the supernatural.
Committed to engaging with public audiences, Jane has collaborated with the Lyric Opera of Kansas City as a Pre-Opera Talk Artist as well as a lecturer for their Opera Dives Deep series. She has also collaborated with Michigan Opera Theatre to compose a multimedia article about Mascagni’s “Cavalleria rusticana” for its 2021-22 season, and with the Amics del Liceu of Barcelona (Gran Teatre del Liceu, Barcelona) for their 2022-23 season production of Puccini’s “Tosca.”