AboutParkorn’s research considers realism in opera and music drama as a means of inventing racial difference across the colonial modern. His work diagnoses the practice of dramatizing and musicalizing another/an Other’s ethnicity as an imperial tool for race-making in the colonial liminal, historicizing the discourse on race and opera away from contemporary identity politics. His current project focuses on Western art practices in nineteenth-century Siam, and examines how the selective emulation and criticism of Italian opera at the Siamese court served as a discursive site for negotiating ethnological imperialism.
Parkorn’s broader interests in opera studies include the performance of race and racialization, operatic masculinities and queer opera culture, new and old technologies of operatic sound reproduction, and colonial histories of Western opera. His article “Excavating operatic masculinity” is forthcoming with Cambridge Opera Journal.