Operatic objects


Institute of Musical Research, Senate House (London)

Saturday 18th March 2017

Conference organisers: Alexandra Wilson and Anna Maria Barry

(OBERTO opera research unit, Oxford Brookes University)

While historians and literary scholars have become increasingly interested in material culture over recent decades, musicology has been slower in responding to this broader ‘material turn’. As a visual and dramatic art-form, opera is a branch of music in which physical objects have a particular significance.

This conference will explore both the interface between material culture and performance practice and the rich potential objects offer to scholars researching mechanisms of life writing. It will consider how physical objects acquire ‘meaning’ in an operatic context and how such meanings may change across time.

10.00 Welcome and coffee

SESSION 1: Instruments and Puppets

10.20-10.40 Lewis Jones (London Metropolitan University): ‘The Alien and his Instruments: Giuseppe Naldi on Stage, at Home, and in Death’

10.40-11.00 Hayley Fenn (Harvard University): ‘Voice-Objects: Marionette Opera, Sound Technologies, and the Poetics of Synchronization’

11.00-11.15 Discussion

SESSION 2: Personal Possessions

11.20-11.40 Anna Maria Barry (Oxford Brookes University): ‘Locating Singers in the Archive: Interpreting Personal Possessions’

11.40-12.00 Clair Rowden (University of Cardiff): ‘Glitter and be Gay: A Singer’s Jewels’

12.00-12.15 Discussion

12.20-13.30 Lunch (own arrangements)

SESSION 3: Notes and Memories

13.30-13.50 Carrie Churnside (Birmingham Conservatoire): ‘“Memorie per la mia pastorale”: Personal Accounts of Opera, c. 1700’

13.50-14.10 Michael Burden (New College, Oxford): ‘Ruling the Roost: Louisa Pyne’s ‘Rules and Regulations’ for running an opera company’

14.10-14.30 Henrike Rost (Musikwissenschaftliches Seminar Detmold/Paderborn, Universität Paderborn): ‘Autograph Albums as Operatic Objects’

14.30-14.45 Discussion

14.45-15.15 Tea break

SESSION 4: Paraphernalia and Place

15.20-15.40 Matteo Paoletti (Genoa) ‘A Collection to be Saved: Pipein Gamba, Master of the Italian Belle Époque’

15.40-16.00 Mark Tatlow (University of Stockholm): ‘The C18th Theatre of Drottningholm as 21st-Century Operatic Object’

16.00-16.15 Discussion

16.15-16.30 Closing comments

The conference will be free to attend. However, delegates are asked to book because we need firm numbers for catering and room capacity reasons. To book a place please email conference assistant Hannah Snelling (16038835@brookes.ac.uk) by Friday 3rd March. We will provide coffee and tea, but delegates are asked to make their own lunch arrangements.

The OBERTO opera research unit at Oxford Brookes University organises an annual conference in Oxford each September as well as additional conferences and study days in London. For further information about OBERTO, visit https://obertobrookes.com/ or follow us on Twitter @ObertoBrookes.