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Michael Burden

Professor in Opera Studies
Michael Burden

Michael Burden is Fellow in Music at New College, and Reader in Opera Studies in the University. He did his undergraduate and graduate work at the University of Adelaide in South Australia, and his PhD at the University of Edinburgh. He has served on the Council of the Royal Musical Association, is a patron member of the American Society for Eighteenth-century Studies, a trustee of Répertoire International des Sources Musicales (RISM), and is currently serving as President of the British Society for 18th-century Studies. 

He is Dean of the College, and also holds the offices of Chattels Fellow and Portraits Fellow. He has served for some years on the University of Oxford Committee for the Museums and Scientific Collections, and is currently a Visitor of the Ashmolean Museum. Outside music, his interests are in art, architecture, and detective fiction.   


He teaches music history across the course from Medieval to 21st century. His special subjects include most opera topics, music historiography, and music analysis. He is also director of New Chamber Opera, which during the term stages performances involving undergraduates.

Research Interests

His research interests are centered on the history of the London stage 1660 to 1860, and beyond, with an emphasis on staging techniques and processes in opera, and on the performance of dance. Much of his published research is on the music of Henry Purcell. Some of his research has resulted in stagings of newly recovered works, most recently of Francesco Cavalli's Erismena, for which he produced a new edition of the score and directed the performances. He is a member of both the Scientific and Editorial Committees for the new complete Stradella edition, ETS Pisa, and of the Scientific Committee of the complete John Eccles edition, A-R Editions, Wisconsin. With Jennifer Thorp, he organises the annual Oxford Dance Symposium, now over a decade old.

His ongoing research projects include the career of the London soprano Louisa Pyne (who in 1856 took her opera company down the Mississippi to New Orleans and back on a paddlewheeler), the use and re-use of Italian arias at the King's Theatre (The Italian Opera Aria on the London Stage 1705-1801, with Christopher Chowrimootoo) and the adaptation of Metastasio for the London stage. He is currently heading The London Stage Project 1800-1900, which has been underway since October 2007, and which will provide a calendar of stage performances (of operas, ballad operas, pantomimes, plays, and so on) in the London theatre. 


Selected Publications

Metastasio in London: a Catalogue and Critical Reader, Royal Musical Association Research Chronicle, xxxix (2007), whole issue.

Imaging Mandane: Character, Costume, Monument, Music in Art: International Journal for Music Iconography, xxxiv/1-2 (2009), 107-136

Henry Purcell, The Fairy-Queen (London: Eulenberg, 2009); the first complete edition of both the text and the music

The Ballet de La Nuit, in Le Ballet de la Nuit: Rothschild B1/16/6, ed. Michael Burden and Jennifer Thorp (New York: Pendragon, 2010)

Essays on aspects of the London theatre in The Cambridge Companion to the Theatre (Cambridge, 2007), The Cambridge Companion to Eighteenth-century Opera (Cambridge, 2009), Pietro Alessanro Guglielmi (1728-1804) Musicista italiano nel Settecento europeo, Musica Tuscana XV (2009), The Cambridge History of Eighteenth-Century Music (Cambridge, 2009), and Ancient drama in music for the modern stage (Oxford, 2010).