Marian Smith

Marian Smith's picture
Professor of Musicology
210 Frohnmayer Music Building
PhD 1988, Yale University
BMus 1980, University of Texas at Austin
BA 1976, History, Carleton College
Giselle production in which Smith collaborated named one of the Ten “Best of the Best” of 2011 by Pointe Magazine
Thomas A. Herman Award for Distinguished Teaching, University of Oregon, 2007
de la Torre Bueno award for best work of dance history in English in 2000 for Ballet and Opera in the Age of 'Giselle' (Princeton University Press)
Research grants from the National Endowment for the Humanities

Marian Smith, Professor of Music, joined the University of Oregon faculty in 1988.  She teaches undergraduates and graduate students, majors and non-majors on various aspects of music in historical context, and has recently devised a new course on American Musical Theater.  Her graduate seminars have included Six Figaros, Ethnic Balanchine, Staging Verdi, Processions at the Opéra, and 19th-century Staging of Opera and Ballet.  In Fall 2004 she was Benedict Distinguished Visiting Professor at Carleton College, and in 2007 she was given the Thomas F. Herman award for excellence in teaching.

She has published two books (Ballet in Opera in the age of Giselle, Princeton University Press, 2000, and an edited volume, La Sylphide:  Paris 1832 and Beyond, Dance Books, 2012) as well as articles in both music and dance journals (including the Cambridge Opera Journal, Dance Chronicle, Journal of the American Musicological Society, and Dance Research).  She has also contributed chapters to, e.g. The Cambridge Companion to Grand Opera, The Cambridge Companion to Ballet, Stage Music and Cultural Transfer:  Paris 1830-1914 and Reading Critics Reading. Her essays on opera and ballet appear in program books of the Royal Opera and Royal Ballet in London, the Paris Opéra, and the Teatro alla Scala. 

Smith has also worked with the dance reconstructionist Doug Fullington on devising two full-length historically-informed ballets:  Giselle (2011; revived 2014), with artistic director Peter Boal at the Pacific Northwest Ballet in Seattle, and then Paquita with Alexei Ratmansky at the Bayerisches Staatsballett in Munich (2014-2015).  Both productions were favorably reviewed in the New York Times.

Her current projects include a book on 19th-century ballet reconstruction (with Fullington), studies of Balanchine's opera ballets in Monte Carlo in the 1920s and at the Metropolitan Opera in New York in 1930s, and staging practices at the Paris Opéra in the 1860s as revealed in a set of little-known manuscripts housed at the Wahn Castle outside of Cologne.  She will be presenting research in April 2015 in Bern at the "Moving Meyerbeer" conference, and in October in Bordeaux at the conference "From Bordeaux to St. Petersburg, Marius Petipa (1818-1910) and the 'Russian' Ballet".

Smith was chair of Music History at the University of Oregon from 1996-2003, and has also served on the editorial board of the Society of Dance History Scholars, and as President of the Pacific Northwest chapter of the American Musicological Society. She is currently on the editorial board of the Cambridge Opera Journal.   

Selected Publications: 

Books, Ballet Production

Articles and Chapters

  • 2012   “The Forgotten Cortège”, Bewegungen zwischen Hören und Sehen. Denkbewegungen über Bewegungskünste [Movements Between Listening and Watching: Moving Reflections on the Arts of Movement], Würzburg:  Königshausen & Neumann
  • 2011  “Adolphe Adam:  New Appreciation,” Dance Critics Association News (Winter 2011 Spring 2012), 25-27.
  • 2011   “Giselle’s Seattle Revival”, with Doug Fullington, Dancing Times 101, no. 1210 (June 2011), 30-33.
  • 2010   "Ballet at the Opéra - Frequency of Performance, Scene Types Shared with Opera", Le Répertoire de l'Opéra de Paris (1671-2009):  Analyse et interprétation, études réunis, ed. Michel Noiray and Solveig Serre (Paris:  Ecole des Chartes, 2010), 321-36.
  • 2009  "La Sylphide and Les Sylphides", in Stage Music and Cultural Transfer: Paris, 1830-1914, ed. Annegret Fauser and Mark Everist (University of Chicago Press), 256-275.
  • 2007  "A Century of Ballet Music," Cambridge Companion to Ballet Cambridge (University Press), ed. Marion Kant, 138-150.
  • 2007  "The Disappearing Danseur" Cambridge Opera Journal 19, no. 1 (2007), 1-25.
  • 2003  "Dance and Dancers", in the Cambridge Companion to Grand Opera (Cambridge University Press), ed. David Charlton (2003), 93-107.
  • 2001  “Music in Oregon in 1876”, Oregon Historical Quarterly 103 no. 4 (Winter 2001), 495-500.
  • 2001  "Drawing the Audience in: The Theatre and the Ballroom," in Verdi in Performance (Oxford University Press), ed. Roger Parker and Alison Latham (2001), 113-119.
  • 2001  "About the House" in Reading Critics Reading, ed. Roger Parker and Mary Ann Smart (Oxford University Press, 2001), 215-236.
  • 2000  "Ecoutez-moi," co-author with Giannandrea Poesio, in Preservation Politics, ed. Stephanie Jordan (London:  Dance Books, 2000), pp. 178-184.
  • 1997  National Dance in the Romantic Ballet," co-author Lisa C. Arkin, Rethinking the Sylph, ed. Lynn Garafola (Wesleyan University Press, 1997), 11-68 and (appendix) 245-252.