Skip to content

Toggle service links

You are here

  1. Home
  2. Dr Patricia Howard

Dr Patricia Howard

Profile summary

  • Visiting Fellow
  • Faculty of Arts & Social Sciences
  • School of Arts & Humanities
  • Music

Professional biography

Educated at King Edward VI High School, Birmingham, Lady Margaret Hall, Oxford, and the University of Surrey, Patricia Howard’s degrees and awards include BA Hons (Music), Oxford 1959; MA Oxford 1964; Susette Taylor Travelling Fellowship, Lady Margaret Hall 1970-71; PhD Surrey 1974; Leverhulme Research Fellowship 1978-79.  She has been employed by the Open University since 1973, as Course Tutor (1973-2001),  Lecturer in Music (1979-2003), and Visiting Research Fellow (2008-present).  In addition to working for the Open University (in the course of which she wrote some 33 course units), she has written and broadcast extensively as a free-lance, contributing in particular to the BBC’s ‘Music Magazine’ and ‘Music Matters’, and writing regularly for the Musical Times and Il saggiatore musicale.


Research interests

Eighteenth-century opera, particularly the operas of Gluck
Eighteenth-century singing technique and interpretation, particularly the castrato voice
Theatrical production in the eighteenth century

Publications: a select list


Gluck and the birth of modern opera (Barrie & Rockliffe, 1963)

The Operas of Benjamin Britten: an Introduction (Barrie & Rockliffe, 1969)

C.W. Gluck: ‘Orfeo’ Cambridge Opera Handbooks (CUP, 1981)

Benjamin Britten: ‘The Turn of the Screw’ Cambridge Opera Handbooks (CUP, 1985)

Gluck: An Eighteenth-century Portrait in Letters and Documents, (Clarendon Press, Oxford, 1995).

In Defence of Modern Music and its Celebrated Performers, translation & critical edition of Vincenzo Manfredini, Difesa della music moderna (1788), (Mellen Press, New York, 2002)

Gluck: A Guide to Research (Garland, 1987, 2nd edn, Routledge, New York, 2003).

The Modern Castrato: Gaetano Guadagni and the coming of a new operatic age, New York: OUP, 2014.  Also available on Oxford Scholarship Online, OUP, 1 May 2014.

(Editor) Gluck. The Late Eighteenth-Century Composers (Ashgate, Farnham, 2015).

Book chapters

‘Quinault, Lully and the Précieuses: Images of Women in Seventeenth-Century France’, in Cecilia Reclaimed: Feminist Perspectives on Gender and Music, ed, Susan Cook & Judy Tsou, University of Illinois Press, 1994, pp. 52-70.

‘Gluck à Paris: Les Iphigénies’, in Iphigénies, ed. Marie Mergeay, De Munt, Brussels, 2009, pp. 17-32.

'Glucks Orfeo: een verhaal van transformaties', in Orphée et Euridice: Christoph Willibald Gluck / Hector Berlioz, Brussels, De Munt (2014), pp. 27-42.


'Guadagni the composer: a modest addition to his portfolio', The Musical Times (Autumn 2019): 1-6.

‘Lully and the Ironic Convention’, Cambridge Opera Journal 1,2 (1989): 139-153.

‘The Positioning of Women in Quinault’s World Picture’, Jean-Baptiste Lully: Kongreßbreicht, Laaber, 1990, 193-197.

‘The Influence of the Précieuses on Content and Structure in Quinault’s and Lully’s Tragédies-Lyriques’, Acta Musicologica 63/1 (1991): 57-72.

‘An Opera for the Age of Enlightenment: Gluck’s Orfeo ed Euridice’, CD booklet, Philips Classics Productions, 1993.

'For the English. Orfeo in London in 1773: a reconstruction',  The Musical Times, 137 (1996):   13-15

‘Gluck the Family Man: an Unpublished Letter’, Music & Letters  77/1 (1996): 92-96.

'Did Burney Blunder?' The Musical Times, 139 (1998): 29-32.

'Orfeo-Orphée: a reception history'  (review article), Il Saggiatore musicale, 5/1 (1998): 198- 200.

'Guadagni in the Dock',  Early Music, 27/1 (1999): 87-95.

‘“Mr Justice Blindman” and the “Priestess of Fashion” ’, Il Saggiatore musicale, 7/12(2000): 47-59

The wandering minstrel: an eighteenth-century fiction?’, Eighteenth-Century Fiction, 13/1 (2000): 41-52.

‘The Orpheus myth: the singing hero’,  About the House, 1/3 (2001): 20-23.

‘Finding a voice for Orpheus’, Royal Opera House Programme Book, May 2001, pp. 14-17.

Orfeo: a performance history’, Royal Opera House Programme Book, May 2001, pp. 19-23.

‘Pedagogy and performance practice in Gluck’s operas’, The Opera Journal, 34 (2001): 3-14.

‘Perceptions of the castrati in eighteenth-century London’, Handel House Museum catalogue for ‘Handel and the castrati’ exhibition, 2006.

‘Happy birthday, Cosimo Gaetano Guadagni!’, The Musical Times, 148 (2007): 93-96.

‘No equal on any stage in Europe: Guadagni as Actor’, The Musical Times, 151 (2010): 9-22.

‘Orpheus on a (shoe-)string: Guadagni’s marionette theatre’, Il saggiatore musicale, 17/1 (2010) : pp. 5-18.

'The castrato composes: Guadagni's setting of "Pensa a serbarmi, o cara"
The Musical Times, 153 (2012): 3-30.

'Christoph Willibald Ritter von Gluck', in Oxford Bibliographies in Music, ed. Bruce Gustafson. New York: Oxford University Press.

'The Castrato', in Oxford Bibliographies in Music, ed. Bruce Gustafson, New York: OUP, 2014.

'James Bowman', 'Castrato', 'Farinelli', 'Alexis de Garaudé', 'Manuel Garcia', 'Manuel Garcia, junior', 'Luigi Marchesi', 'Portamento', 'Andrea von Ramm', 'Johann Friedrich Schubert', Nicola Vaccai', in The Cambridge Encyclopedia of Historical Performance in Music, edited by Colin Lawson and Robin Stowell, Cambridge, CUP, 2018.

Talks and Conference Papers

'Guadagni in Padua', ('Tartini 2020', conference in Padua, 6 November 2018).

'Out of Court in Soho Square' (paper read at the Tenth International Conference on the Enlightenment, Dublin, July 1999).

‘Pedagogy and performance practice in Gluck’s operas’  (paper read at 46th annual convention of National Opera Association, New York, 2000).

‘A very individual talent for teaching singers: Gluck’s pedagogy’ (paper read to the Institure of Advanced Musical Studies, King’s College London,  December 2001).

‘Larger than life: the castrato on and off the stage’ (paper read at Handel House Museum, summer 2007).

‘Orpheus for the English’, pre-concert talk and programme essay for a performance of J C Bach’s edition of Gluck’s Orfeo (London, 1770), February 2010.

‘The singer and the scholar’, Study Day, St Mary’s School, Cambridge, May 2010.

‘Guadagni and modern singing’, Queen Anne’s Terrace, July 2011.


‘Pensa a serbarmi’, Guadagni; recorded by Iestyn Davies, to be issued by Hyperion, June 2012, CDA67904.

Request your prospectus

Request a prospectus icon

Explore our qualifications and courses by requesting one of our prospectuses today.

Request prospectus

Are you already an OU student?

Go to StudentHome