Research seminars

Anne Desler: Rethinking Creative Roles and Hierarchies in 18th-Century Italian Opera

Event details

Speaker: Anne Desler (University of Edinburgh)

Date: 1 November 2018 

Time: 5.15 - 6.30pm.  

Venue: Lecture Room A, Alison House, 12 Nicolson Square, Edinburgh, EH8 9DF


18th-century Italian opera may not be the focus of your research interests but I hope my colloquium talk will offer everyone something useful to take away nevertheless. 

The session will start with an overview of my current research project on the star castrato Nicola Grimaldi (known as 'Nicolini') whose varied activities during his international 47-year operatic career defy many longstanding beliefs about 18th-century opera, including the sole focus on vocal virtuosity, inadequacy of operatic acting and absence of stage direction.  The details are fascinating and sometimes quite entertaining.  But more importantly, they demonstrate that creative roles and hierarchies (both social and artistic) were a lot less clear cut than generally assumed. 

The second part of the session will be a conference paper I gave this summer that explores a slice of my research in greater detail.  It deals with an early libretto by Pietro Metastasio (if you don't know this name, do take a look at Grove Online­ - he was the most influential librettist in music history), whose truly meteoric career was largely launched by Grimaldi.  However, being very ambitious and writing his first libretto for a city where he truly wanted to impress, Metastasio made a few errors that caused much mirth among his contemporaries - for example, making Julius Caesar, Cato the Younger and Pompey's widow appear in sewer.  This will lead to... 

... the third part of the session, which will deal with writing and presenting conference papers.  I will explain the reasoning behind the choices I made for the above paper, how I prepared for it and so forth.  This part of the session will be fairly open - everyone will be welcome to ask questions, chip in with their own ideas and experiences and hopefully we'll get a nice discussion going. 


Anne Desler's profile page

Nov 01 2018 -

Anne Desler: Rethinking Creative Roles and Hierarchies in 18th-Century Italian Opera

Anne Desler presents a recent conference paper on the castrato Grimaldi and the publisher Metastasio, and uses this to lead into a discussion about what makes a good conference paper.

Lecture Room A
Alison House
12 Nicolson Square