The Art of Pizza


Opera for 2 sopranos, mezzo, high tenor, 8 or 9 singers doubling small roles and chorus, accompanied by 14-piece ensemble

Libretto by Anna Maria dell’Oso

The Art of Pizza was commissioned by Chamber Made Opera with funding from the Australia Council.

About the work

The Art of Pizza is about money, the corporate world and greed. It is set in a shopping mall in the Sydney suburb of Cabramatta in the early 1980s, at a time when there was still a significant Italian population based there as Asian immigrants were moving into the area. The story focuses on 3 women. Gina, an Italian woman whose husband has left her, runs a struggling pizza joint. Rosie, a Cambodian refugee is her volatile cook. She also works at night as an office cleaner and with her fellow cleaners gambles on the stock exchange with information gleaned from the office rubbish bins to raise money for her daughter’s higher education. Thida, her daughter, is still at school and works part-time in the mall’s supermarket.

The pizza joint is taken over by a pizza franchise, but Rosie continues to make her unorthodox pizzas rather than following the approved recipes. Gina falls for her contact in the pizza world, then her ex returns, now reformed — he has seen the light. And Rosie, haunted by her memories of the Pol Pot years, gambles with her employer’s money.

Written as an opera, but with rather too complex a story line, this piece would work well as a musical by retaining the songs, converting the recitative to dialogue and conveying the Cambodian back story in film, with traditional Cambodian musicians, rather than text, evoking the flashbacks.


The Art of Pizza is scored for: flute/piccolo, oboe, clarinet/bass clarinet, bassoon; horn, trumpet (C), trombone; percussion (2), harp; violins (2), viola, cello and double bass. Tape of electronic sounds also required.


Borrow the score from SOUNZ.

The Art of Pizza — SOUNZ