The aim of this project is to trace the use and re-use of arias in Italian which appear in the opera librettos prepared or printed for London. Today's general understanding of an opera text as being a fixed object is far from the reality of the 18th-century London opera house; the works were subject to constant change at every point of the production and performance process, primarily to satisfy the demands of the singers, but also those of the audience and musical director.
At its most basic level, the project resolves a range of bibliographic problems relating to London sources; in a wider context, it allows for the first time, the possibility of thorough study of the aria in the context of the commercial and aesthetic issues of Italian opera for London. The first phase, which will allow a general search of the aria lists, is due to be completed by September 2012.
The project was started with Christopher Chowrimootoo as Research Assistant; he has now become Co-Researcher.