Georgiana - the making of a new eighteenth-century pasticcio

Open lecture by former SKH professor Mark Tatlow.

The lecture "Georgiana - the making of a new eighteenth-century pasticcio" by Mark Tatlow is the first in a series of digital lectures within Nord Opera. 

The lecture is open to all interested via zoom below 16 September at 17:30-19:00.

There will be time for questions and talk afterwards. 


Photo: Genevieve Girling. Samantha Clarke as Georgiana.


In 2018 I was invited to compile and conduct a new opera pasticcio based on the remarkable and ultimately tragic life of Georgiana Cavendish, Duchess of Devonshire (1757-1806). Georgiana was one of the most colourful and intriguing figures in late eighteenth-century London. She was deeply involved in politics, science and the arts; she was an incorrigible gambler, and lived openly in a ménage a trois. The pasticcio was commissioned to celebrate the 40th anniversary of the Buxton Festival in 2019, in the context of the long relationship between the town of Buxton and the Devonshire family, whose country seat, Chatsworth House, lies 25 km to the east of the town.

My presentation will outline the process of putting the pasticcio together, including the principles used in choosing, cutting, transposing and rearranging the music, and will be illustrated by recorded video excerpts. It will mention the complex and delicate negotiations needed to create a piece recognisably if not literally eighteenth-century in style. These centre around issues of musical structure and dramaturgy on the one hand, and on the other, questions of language, textual repetition, and matters related to the inbuilt flexibility of Italianate vocal music of the period.

Finally I will briefly summarise the reception of the opera, and suggest how opere pasticci could contribute to the renewal of opera today.