Student’s article on 18th-century opera published in journal

Maggie Pazur, a music student from Greensboro, recently had an article published on her research into an opera by Mozart and its cultural portrayals. (Audio Feature: Listen to Pazur discuss her research and demonstrate her skills on horn here.)

Maggie Pazur, a senior in Western Carolina University’s School of Music majoring in music education, recently had an article published in a peer-reviewed journal.

Her “Exoticism in 18th-Century Opera: Appreciation versus Appropriation” appears in “Explorations,” a journal of undergraduate research and creative activities, and a companion publication to the North Carolina Undergraduate Research and Creative Activities Symposium.

“Maggie’s interest in pursuing historical musicology at the graduate level has motivated her to eagerly pursue opportunities outside of the classroom to publish and present her research findings,” said Christina Reitz, WCU associate professor of music and Pazur’s faculty mentor. “Her acceptance to this peer-reviewed journal is a testament to her advanced methodology and exemplary writing skills. I could not be more proud of her.”

Pazur’s article explores a specific trend in Western drama called “seraglio stories,” which typically featured European women being captured by Turks, held in harems and eventually rescued by their European lovers. “My research specifically focused on an opera by Mozart, ‘The Abduction from the Seraglio,’ and its portrayal of the Turkish culture,” said Pazur, a senior from Greensboro. “I heavily discuss the idea of appropriation in my paper in regards to how European artists commercialized Turkish cultural traits, such as their music and traditional dress, while still demonizing the Turkish people themselves by portraying them as barbarians.

“We briefly covered seraglio stories in ‘Music History II’ class, and I was immediately interested in finding out more,” she said. “I am currently applying to graduate schools for historical musicology with the intention of concentrating in minority studies, so this topic allowed me to dive into ideas that I may get to work with professionally in the future. Working on this research has been an incredible opportunity. I had the chance to present my research at WCU’s Undergraduate Research Expo last semester and intend to apply to other research conferences this fall.”

A horn player and graduate of the N.C. School of Science and Mathematics, Pazur credited Reitz as a valued resource throughout the research and publication process.

“Not only is Maggie an adept performer, she also is a capable scholar and a warm, thoughtful presence on our campus,” said Milton Laufer, director of the School of Music. “She’s the type of well-rounded individual we strive to recruit and develop. Congratulations to her and to her mentor, Christina Reitz on this publication. I’m certain that it is the first of many more to come.”

More information about the WCU School of Music is available by calling 828-227-7242.