Anthony Phelan

Tony Phelan came to Oxford after a long career in German Studies at the University of Warwick: he joined what was a very new University in 1971 and found that, with its expanding campus and the arrival of a major Arts Centre, it provided a growing range of intellectual and artistic stimuli – including the Centre for Research in Philosophy and Literature and a succession of student drama productions with actors who went on to become household names. Playing in Twelfth Night (Duke), King Lear (Edgar), Troilus and Cressida (Achilles) and Webster’s White Devil (Duke Francisco), as well as work by Edward Bond (The SeaThe Worlds), Peter Barnes, David Edgar, David Hare, Snoo Wilson, and even T.S. Eliot’s Cocktail Party (Henry Harcourt O’Reilly) hugely enriched his interests in the politics of text and performance. It was a great privilege to sing in what became the Richard Dering Consort (directed by Rowland Cotterill), an ensemble of twelve voices that was among the first to use smaller forces to explore the full range of Monteverdi’s madrigals – particularly Books VII, VIII, and IX. 

Dr Phelan is Emeritus Fellow in German at Keble, which he joined as Tutor in 1998, teaching German Literature in the period since 1770. He has strong interests in German Romanticism, and contributed ‘Prose Fictions of the German Romantics’ to the Cambridge Companion to German RomanticismReading Heinrich Heineis a major study of one of the authors most prolifically set by Lieder composers. With Joanna Neilly (St Peter’s), he’s currently working on the dissemination of German Romantic themes and structures in contemporary Latin American authors – Andrés Neuman, César Aira, and Roberto Bolaño. He has been an enthusiastic supporter of Oxford Lieder since he discovered the Festival in 2003.

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