Staff Profiles

Professor Alexandra Wilson

BA (Hons), MA, PhD

Professor of Music and Cultural History

School of Arts

Faculty of Technology, Design and Environment

Alexandra Wilson

Phone number: +44 1865 484985



Professor Alexandra Wilson is a musicologist and cultural historian, with research interests focusing primarily upon Italian opera and British operatic culture from 1900 to the present.

Her monograph The Puccini Problem: Opera, Nationalism, and Modernity (Cambridge University Press) was awarded the American Musicological Society's Lewis Lockwood Award for a work of outstanding musical scholarship. She returned to her long-standing interest in Puccini with her most recent book, Puccini's La Bohème (Oxford University Press).

Professor Wilson's book Opera in the Jazz Age: Cultural Politics in 1920s Britain, which was funded by a British Academy Mid-Career Fellowship, marked a first step into exploring historic British attitudes towards opera. She is currently pursuing this work in greater depth, writing a book tracing the history of the opera/elitism stereotype and investigating the history of popular opera in Britain from 1920-2020. 

Committed to sharing the findings of her research with a wider public, Professor Wilson has a high profile as a public musicologist. She has presented numerous broadcasts for BBC Radio 3 (including Opera on 3, Building a Library and Proms concerts), and was recently called ‘a real ambassador for opera’ on Radio 4’s PM programme. She regularly writes programme essays, gives talks, and/or contributes to podcasts for opera companies including the Royal Opera, Opera North, Welsh National Opera, Scottish Opera, Glyndebourne, ENO, English Touring Opera, and Opera Holland Park. She has written about opera for The Times and The Guardian online and for Opera magazine and BBC Music Magazine (for whom she also regularly reviews CDs and DVDs).

Future projects include editing a book called Puccini in Context and writing a Cambridge Music Handbook on Cavalleria rusticana and Pagliacci, both for CUP.

Alexandra Wilson is Co-Director (with Dr Barbara Eichner) of the OBERTO opera research unit. When not on leave, she runs the MA in Music and is Research Coordinator for Music at Oxford Brookes.