Dr. Christy Thomas Adams joined the musicology faculty at the University of Alabama School of Music in 2019, having previously held faculty positions at the Yale School of Music, Bowdoin College, and Bates College. She received her Ph.D. with distinction in Music History from Yale University. Originally from Baltimore, MD, she also holds undergraduate degrees in Music, Art History, and History. Dr. Adams’ broad research interests include the history and theory of opera, reception studies, cultural history, the history of media technologies, and the theoretical and conceptual issues of performance and mediation. In her current book project, entitled Operatic Encounters with New Media: Sound Recording and Silent Cinema, she explores the ways in which new media technologies from the turn of the 20th century appropriated 19th-century Italian operatic repertoire and, in turn, impacted operatic creation and circulation. Specifically, she considers the evolving responses of the Italian opera industry to the emerging cinematic medium in the early decades of the twentieth century, focusing particularly on Casa Ricordi, the foremost Italian music publisher of the nineteenth and twentieth centuries.
Dr. Adams has presented at both national and international conferences, including the American Musicological Society, the Transnational Opera Studies Conference, and Music and the Moving Image, and has published an article on a 1911 film adaptation of Giuseppe Verdi’s Aida in The Opera Quarterly. Her next article uses Giacomo Puccini and his 1910 opera La fanciulla del West as a case study for understanding historically contextual approaches to operatic engagement with cinema. Dr. Adams has also given talks on Bach, Debussy, Beethoven, Wagner, verismo, opera staging, and opera and multimedia, has lectured on Puccini’s operas in both English and Italian, and has published an article on women in jazz.
As an educator, Dr. Adams is committed to inclusive education and to using Western art music as a subject through which to train critical skills for the 21st century: critical thinking and listening, written and oral communication, creativity, and collaboration. As a music historian with a background in both art history and history, she encourages her students to engage with the historical and cultural contexts in which the repertoire was created as well as to understand how these works, though received differently, are still relevant today. She has experience teaching a diverse body of students, both majors and non-majors, in a wide range of graduate and undergraduate music history courses, as well as music appreciation and introductory through intermediate music theory.
Aside from her research and teaching, Dr. Adams also maintains an active presence as a performer. A classically trained singer, she has performed in a variety of venues as both a soprano soloist and a choral member, including with the Alabama Symphony Orchestra Chorus, Opera Maine, ChoralArt Masterworks, Colby College, the Oratorio Chorale, Bryn Mawr Presbyterian Church, and Battell Chapel, and also worked as a supernumerary for the late Baltimore Opera Company.