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Composing Opera Under the Influence: of metafiction

Rogers, M. (2023). Composing Opera Under the Influence: of metafiction. (Unpublished Doctoral thesis, City, University of London)


This commentary hopes to illuminate certain conceptual and technical aspects of the opera She Described It to Death, which was written during a three year practice-based research residency at Guildhall School of Music & Drama in partnership with the Royal Opera House. The research-based practice focuses on the relationship between opera and metafiction, deriving techniques of opera composition from the concepts of postmodern literary theory.

Supported by a combination of primary and secondary sources, the commentary sets out an overview of metafiction in the contexts of opera studies and literary theory, followed by a
categorisation of the related compositional methods found in She Described It to Death. The Categories section details the conceptual frameworks used to generate the research-practice's four compositional categories – 'Description, Syntagms & the Narration of Fictional Time', 'Heteroglossia, Genre & Parody', 'Foregrounding the Animator & the Author', and 'Operatic Objects & Affordances' – and illustrates each category with examples from the opera, cross-referenced with its score. Since the opera's production was cancelled due to the COVID-19 pandemic, no recording is available.

Publication Type: Thesis (Doctoral)
Subjects: M Music and Books on Music > ML Literature of music
Departments: Doctoral Theses
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Text (Thesis) - Accepted Version
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Text (Full Score) - Accepted Version
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[thumbnail of Music and Sound] Audio - Accepted Version
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