Maria Virginia Acuña

Maria Virginia Acuña
Assistant Professor (Limited term)
Music History, Musicology

Music Dip. (Capilano University), B.A. (UBC), M.A. (UBC), Ph.D. (University of Toronto)


Areas of research and creative activity

European music history and culture, 1500–1750 (Spain, Italy, France, England); Spanish musical theatre of the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries; postcolonialism; orientalism; nationalism; the representation of gender and sexuality in opera, 1600–1900.  


MUS 116 (Music Appreciation)
MUS 220A (Western Music from 1750 to 1885)

Brief biography

I began my musical studies at the Conservatorio Nacional Superior de Música in Buenos Aires, Argentina. I hold degrees from the University of British Columbia (B.A. and M.A.) and the University of Toronto (Ph.D., 2016). My research has been funded and recognized by a Joseph-Armand Bombardier Canada Graduate Scholarship for doctoral studies, awarded by the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada (SSHRC), the Eugene K. Wolf Grant awarded by the American Musicological Society, the SOCAN Foundation/George Proctor Prize, the “Pilar Sáenz Essay Prize” awarded by The Ibero-American Society for Eighteenth Century Studies, and the “Best article” prize awarded by the Canadian Association of Hispanists.

My research on Spanish musical theatre appears in Eighteenth-Century Music, the Bulletin of the Comediantes, and in conference proceedings. I am also co-author (with Susan Lewis) of Claudio Monteverdi: A Research and Information Guide (Routledge, 2018). I am currently working on a book project on female operatic cross-dressing in early modern Spain. Other research projects include witchcraft and musical theatre in early modern Europe, representations of race and ethnicity in opera, and the representation of Spain in operas by non-Spanish composers.

Prior to coming to UVic, I was a SSHRC postdoctoral fellow in the Schulich School of Music at McGill University. I also taught music and opera history courses at Kwantlen Polytechnic University, Simon Fraser University, and the University of British Columbia.

Selected publications

  • Co-authored with Susan Lewis. Claudio Monteverdi: A Research and Information Guide. Routledge, 2018. 242 pp.

  • “Love Conquers All: Cupid, Philip V, and the Allegorical Zarzuela during the War of the Spanish Succession (1701–16),” Eighteenth-Century Music 15.1 (2018): 29–45.   

  • “Sobbing Cupids, Lamenting Lovers, and Weeping Nymphs in the Early Zarzuela: Calderón de la Barca’s El laurel de Apolo (1657) and Durón and Navas’s Apolo y Dafne (ca. 1700),” Bulletin of the Comediantes 69.2 (2017): 69–95. “Best article” (Premio al major ensayo escrito por un/a professor/a o investigador/a) awarded by the Canadian Association of Hispanists (Asociación Canadiense de Hispanistas), 2018.

  • ““Muera Cupido!”: Una lectura sobre la filosofía del amor en Salir el amor del mundo (c.1696),” in Musicología global, musicología local, edited by Pilar Ramos López, Javier Marín López, Germán Gan Quesada y Elena Torres Clemente (Madrid: Sociedad Española de Musicología, 2013), 2157–2169.

  • “Violencia y desesperación: la utilización de los afectos en las obras de música teatral de Sebastián Durón,” in Sebastián Durón (16601716) y la música de su época, edited by Paulino Capdepón and Juan José Pastor Comín (Vigo, Galicia: Editorial Academia del Hispanismo, 2013), 137–50.