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Faculty of Modern and Medieval Languages and Linguistics


Aubrae Wilson

College: St. Catharine’s College


Supervisor: Prof Mark Darlow

Research Topic: Opératrice dans les coulisses: Re-evaluating eighteenth-century filles de l’Opéra through the case of Élisabeth-Claire Le Duc (1721-1793)





Aubrae’s thesis seeks to move beyond the actress/prostitute trope explore the material realities of the filles de l’Opéra through the case study of a figurante (a low-ranking dancer) at the Académie royale de musique. It examines the opportunities afforded to women of the institution, if they so desired, in the domains of finance, proprietorship, social mobility, and cultural patronage.

Aubrae is particularly interested in the ways that female singers and dancers at the Opéra were both liberated and constrained by the institution, as well as the kinds of prospects available to them for financial independence, investments, and personal proprietorship. Before switching to French, Aubrae studied interior architecture, and as such she is also intrigued by how residences owned by filles de l’Opéra reflected their upward social and financial mobility during the Old Regime—a time when many have assumed that womens’ agency was significantly limited.


Conference papers

‘Villain or Victim? Gendered Discourse and Narrative at the Trial of Marie-Babin Grandmaison’, DIGITENS Cabals, Plots, and Conspiracies: The Sociability of Intrigue in the Long Eighteenth-Century, 10/01/2020, Maison de la Recherche de Sorbonne-Université


Other activities and roles

Served as accommodation officer in St. Catharine’s MCR 2019-2020.


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