Sarah McCleave

Direct phone: +44 (0)28 9097 5207

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Research Statement

My book for University of Rochester Press, Dance in Handel's London Operas, respresents over two decades of research. In this historiographical survey of London theatre practices in the first half of the eighteenth century, I chronicle the actual practice with regards to theatrical dance in lyric entertainments and situate Handel's response to theatrical dance in relation to his immediate theatrical environment. I challenge the notion that theatrical dance was necessarily peripheral to Italian opera before Gluck, while suggesting that the London theatre scene may have had more impact on opera reform on the continent than has previously been assumed.

I continue my exploration of London theatre historiography with my re-evalution of theatre manager John Rich, whose role as an active participant in contemporary aesthetic debates regarding opera has previously been unrecognised. My article on Italian dancers is significant as it contributes to a wider study of cultural transmission; my 2009 article on Marie Sallé offers an inventive approach to appreciating a seminal theatrical work that has left no "trace" (in published form).





Research Interests

In 2010, Sarah McCleave  was appointed a co-editor of Theatre Notebook.   She continues to develop her interests in theatrical dance of the long eighteenth century through published work which calls on disciplines as varied as source studies, reception history, textual criticism, musical analysis, and gender studies.  She has  completed the twice-AHRB funded monograph, Dance in Handel’s London Operas  (University of Rochester Press, Feb. 2013). In October 2012 she appeared as an invited speaker for the project 'Les Arts Vivants au prisme du genre' (Paris). She is a keynote speaker for 'Plays, Places, and Participants,' at the Norwegian University for Science and Technology, Trondhemin, November 2013.  She is a regular reviewer for Eighteenth-Century Music and, formerly, ECCB. She  is also a New Grove contributor, and has published in Dance Research, Music and Letters, The Consort,the Göttinger Handel-Beiträge, and the Cambridge Handel Encyclopedia. She  is  a founding member of Irish RISM and was a Council member for the Society of Musicology in Ireland (2003-2006).  McCleave  is twice the recipient of the Society for Theatre Research’s “Anthony Denning” award (1992, 2012). She has acted as a peer reviewer for Music and Letters, the AHRC, SSHRCC, and also the IRCHSS. She served on the committee for the JISC project awarded to the Department of Music, Cardiff University (2011-12).


Her research interests include:

London theatre and its personnel during the long eighteenth century

G.F. Handel (1685-1759), particularly his extra-musical influences

Marie Sallé (1709-1756)

Thomas Moore (1779-1852), particularly his relationship with his music publishers.

Sarah McCleave is  developing a project regarding the Gibson-Massie Moore collection at Queen's University Belfast.


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