Aspects of Celebrity in Three Recent British Operas

  • Elizabeth Grange

Student thesis: Master of Philosophy


This thesis seeks to establish an academic framework for the analysis of the role of celebrity in three recent British operas: namely John Casken's God's Liar, Thomas Ad├Ęs's Powder Her Face and Mark-Anthony Turnage's Anna Nicole. In doing this it draws heavily on recent theories of celebrity, particularly Chris Rojek's taxonomy relating to different types of celebrity status including the evolution from confirmatory to transgressive. The latter is discussed in relationship to female sexuality in nineteenth-, twentieth- and twenty-first century cultural and sexual norms. The thesis also discusses the primary means for the dissemination of celebrity and the increasing role of mass and social media. The operas are discussed not only in relation to pertinent literature in the form of reviews, programme notes, articles, libretti and monographs but also in terms of substantial interviews with John Casken, Philip Hensher and Mark-Anthony Turnage. This provides first-hand insights into the creative intentions behind the operas discussed, and these are placed in the wider context of the discourses surrounding celebrity culture and its dissemination. The thesis concludes that the three operas examined here make a significant contribution to the portrayal of celebrity.
Date of Award31 Dec 2015
Original languageEnglish
Awarding Institution
  • The University of Manchester
SupervisorDavid Fanning (Supervisor) & Susan Rutherford (Supervisor)


  • Powder Her Face
  • Anna Nicole

Cite this