Pasticcio Opera: An overview from 1600 to 2014

DEPT/SUBJECT AREA - Creative Writing (English)

SUPERVISOR(S) - Professor David Britton, Professor Derek Connon, Dr Mark Redknap, (external, National Museum of Wales)


THESIS TITLE - Pasticcio Opera: An overview from 1600 to 2014. Also a new pasticcio opera, commissioned by the National Museum of Wales, Llywelyn Fawr: Y Llyw yn y Llun.


Pasticcio opera is the practice of selecting existing musical sequences and re-arranging them to tell a new and different story. The music is transposed for different voice types, keys are often changed, new words are set and an entirely new opera is created. For the first 230 years of the art form’s existence, this was the usual method of creating opera. Pasticcio is inimical to the concept that compositional originality is central to great works positing, instead, the idea that each musical sequence has, latent within it, hundreds of possible dramatic uses and perhaps dozens of stories, some of which may be dramaturgically better than the composer’s original intentions. As well as the thesis I have been commissioned by Amgueddfa Cymru, National Museum of Wales to write a new pasticcio opera about Llywelyn Fawr. Using Handel’s music, this pasticcio goes into production next year.


‘Musical Property: Gender, Genius and Cultural Restriction’ accepted for the October 2017 for the Swansea Postgraduate Arts and Humanities Conference, ‘Freedom and Restriction’.


‘Island of Glass: Archaeology, Opera, and Community Engagement’, co-written with Mark Redknap, British Archaeology, Nov/December 2014. Issue 139, p.24.