Courtney Kleftis

Program: CCS (Critical & Comparative Studies)

Term Graduated: Spring 2016

Dissertation: "Operatic Transvestism, Disguise Roles, and Women's Sexual Agency in Handel's Operas (1727-1741)"

Bio Information:

Courtney graduated as a PhD student in the Critical and Comparative Studies program specializing in a feminist and queer studies approach to opera studies. She graduated from Lawrence University in 2010 after completing a semester of K-12 student teaching with a B.Mus. degree in choral/general music education. She is currently in the early stages of planning a dissertation about “gender trouble” in Handel’s operas, moving beyond the figure of the castrato to look into the equally fascinating expressions of female sexuality in his operas (especially “male disguise” roles as in Partenope). Courtney also has a bizarre infatuation with operatic portrayals of madness/hysteria, and is completely obsessed with Strauss’ vengeful madwoman Elektra and her seven-veil-dancing “sister” Salome. In her rather limited spare time Courtney enjoys reading about and watching controversial opera productions most of which hail from Germany, unfortunately only on DVD, and dreaming about someday actually traveling to Germany to experience them live. When she is not reading about femmes fatales like her much adored Elektra, or about mezzos in eighteenth-century opera’s abundant “travesti” (pants) roles, she enjoys swimming, trying to cook (with an emphasis on “trying”), indulging in various gourmet teas at local coffee shops, reading amusing opera blogs (at least from time to time), and exploring a relatively newfound interest: hilariously campy media representations of vampires as seen in TV shows like Buffy the Vampire Slayer.


McIntire Department of Music
112 Old Cabell Hall
P.O. Box 400176 Charlottesville, VA 22904-4176