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Opera and music drama

Interdisciplinary, historical and cultural-critical studies of opera from the nineteenth century to the present day.

We have considerable expertise in opera, music drama and new music theatre from the nineteenth century to the present.

Much of our work in this area is carried out by the Centre for Interdisciplinary Research in Opera and Drama (CIRO), which fosters close links between our School and local arts organisations, especially Welsh National Opera.

CIRO has overseen a series of research-led events intended to promote and enhance public engagement with opera and awareness of issues relating to its staging.

Past projects have centred on Bizet’s Carmen, Mendelssohn’s opera projects, European new music theatre c.1950-1977, and opera in cinema and on YouTube.


Current work in this area of research includes Dr Barbara Gentili’s exploration of the modern Italian female voice.

Wider work on opera from our School includes Dr Clair Rowden’s exploration of Bizet’s Carmen and its movement through time and place, in Carmen Abroad, and Opera and Parody in Paris, 1860-1900, exploring press caricatures, cartoons, popular song and parodies and their role in opera.

Other previous work in this area include Dr David Beard’s exploration of Harrison Birtwistle’s operas and music theatre, Dr Robert Fokkens’ Bhekizizwe, an opera exploring the concepts of race, identity and more through the life of a young South African Zulu Man, and insights into Felix Mendelssohn Bartholdy’s opera projects by Dr Monika Hennemann.

Dr Carlo Cenciarelli has also previously explored opera, through the lens of the twenty-first century.