The University of Southampton
MusicPart of Humanities
(023) 8059 3558

Professor Francesco Izzo 

Head of Music, Professor of Music

Professor Francesco Izzo's photo
Related links

Professor Francesco Izzo is a Head of Music at the University of Southampton.

Undergraduate education is one of my great passions, and my teaching interests are wide-ranging. Here at Southampton I have offered a variety of modules in music theory and history, opera, and the musical expression of meaning and feeling. This year I am the lead tutor for two first-year modules: Foundations in Analysis, Counterpoint and Harmony (MUSI 1007), and Antique Music Roadshow 2 (MUSI 1003). I will also offer a new module on the operas of Benjamin Britten to second- and third-year students. I am currently supervising PhD projects on the 19th-century French romance, and Benjamin Britten’s Death in Venice. Being away from the lecture room causes me considerable stress, which I fight with such palliatives as cooking, scuba diving and copious quantities of chocolate.

My research focuses primarily on 19th-century opera.
 I have published articles in such journals as Acta Musicologica, Cambridge Opera Journal, Journal of the American Musicological Society, Journal of Musicology, and in numerous dictionaries and collections of essays. My book, Laughter between Two Revolutions: Opera buffa in Italy, 1831–1848, appeared in 2013 with University of Rochester Press. I have given papers at numerous international conferences, and lectured at universities and institutions in Europe and North America. I currently serve as Co-Director of the American Institute for Verdi Studies, and I was recently appointed General Editor of the ‘Works of Giuseppe Verdi’ – a series co-published by Ricordi and the University of Chicago Press that will make available all of Verdi’s works in complete and textually accurate readings.

I am especially interested in opera and politics, and in the complex relations between written musical texts and their performance, both historically and pragmatically. I love to explore the intellectual and cultural processes that bring music and opera to life in composition and performance. As a writer and speaker, I am also committed to drawing bridges between academia and the general public, and between scholars and opera practitioners. I am frequently invited as lecturer, as a contributor of programme notes, and as a consultant at opera houses and festivals in Europe and the United States (including Glyndebourne, Sarasota Opera, the Welsh National Opera, the Royal Opera House and the BBC). As a pianist, I have performed extensively as a soloist, with orchestras and as a vocal accompanist; I have collaborated with distinguished opera singers including Rockwell Blake and Giuseppe Taddei, and I provide stylistic advice, ornamentation and cadenzas for opera singers.

I earned undergraduate degrees in piano and music history in Italy, and went on to receive the MA and PhD in musicology from New York University. Before coming to Southampton, I held a Postdoctoral Fellowship in Italian Opera Studies at NYU (2003–2005), and taught at East Carolina University (2005–2007). I have also held visiting positions at the University of Chicago and NYU.




Research interests

My publications explore numerous aspects of opera and song in 19th-century Italy, France and North America, addressing issues that range from politics and religion to censorship, genre, conventions, textual criticism, and the position of singers in society and the operatic marketplace. I have published articles in leading musicological journals, as well as chapters in miscellaneous volumes and handbooks.

In my recent book, Laughter between Two Revolutions: Opera buffa in Italy, 1831–1848, I explore the culture of comic opera during the post-Rossinian period – an age ostensibly dominated by quintessentially serious concerns and tragic subject matter – offering a contextual discussion of well known operas by Gaetano Donizetti alongside forgotten works by Luigi and Federico Ricci, Lauro Rossi and other composers.

My current projects include a critical edition of Verdi's Un giorno di regno for the ‘Works of Giuseppe Verdi’ (to be published by the University of Chicago Press and Ricordi), which received its first performance at Sarasota Opera (Florida) in March 2013. I am also working on essays exploring the end of theatrical censorship in Risorgimento Italy, the Italian reception of Herold’s opéra comique, Zampa, and the representation of the lévant in Giuseppe Verdi’s Jérusalem.

My research has been supported by grants from the American Musicological Society, the National Endowment for the Humanities and the British Academy.


Affiliate research group(s)

Musicology and Ethnomusicology


Laughter between Two Revolutions: Opera buffa in Italy, 1831-1848, Eastman Studies in Music. Rochester: University of Rochester press, 2013.



Ottocento e oltre: Scritti in onore di Raoul Meloncelli, co-edited with Johannes Streicher. Rome: Editoriale Pantheon, 1993.


Music Editions

Giuseppe Verdi, Un giorno di regno. Critical Edition. The Works of Giuseppe Verdi 2. Chicago: University of Chicago Press and Milan: Ricordi, forthcoming 2015.

Luigi Luzzi, Sei romanze per voce e pianoforte. Bologna: Ut Orpheus Edizioni, 2003.

Michele Carafa, Calipso: scena lirica per soprano e pianoforte. Bologna: Ut Orpheus Edizioni, 1997.



‘Verdi, Solera, Piave, and the Libretto for Attila.’ Cambridge Opera Journal 21 (2009): 357–365.

‘William Henry Fry's Leonora: the Italian Connection.’ Nineteenth-Century Music Review 6 (2009): 7–25.

‘Verdi, the Virgin, and the Censor: The Politics of the Cult of Mary in I lombardi alla prima crociata and Giovanna d’Arco.’ Journal of the American Musicological Society 60 (2007): 557–97.

‘Donizetti's Don Pasquale and the Conventions of Mid-Nineteenth-Century Opera Buffa.’ Studi Musicali 33 (2004): 387–431.

‘Comedy Between Two Revolutions: Opera Buffa and the Risorgimento, 1831–1848.’ Journal of Musicology 21 (2004): 127–74.

‘Verdi's Un giorno di regno: Two Newly-Discovered Movements and Some Questions of Genre.’ Acta Musicologica 73 (2001): 165–88.

‘Lo sviluppo del pianoforte negli Stati Uniti dell’Ottocento: economia, società e cultura.’ Lo Spettacolo 44 (1994): 335–46.

‘Un americano a Parigi [L. M. Gottschalk].’ Piano Time No. 119 (July–August 1993): 68–71.


Book Chapters

‘Years in Prison: Giuseppe Verdi and Censorship in Pre-Unification Italy.’ In Oxford Handbook of Music Censorship, ed. Patricia Hall. New York: Oxford University Press, forthcoming 2014.

‘Censorship.’ In Oxford Handbook of Opera, ed. Helen M. Greenwald. New York: Oxford University Press, forthcoming 2014.

‘A Tale of Survival: Choral Music in Italy.’ In Nineteenth-Century Choral Music, ed. Donna M. Di Grazia. London: Routledge, 2012. 305–331.

‘Divas and Sonnets: Poetry for Female Singers in Teatri arti e letteratura.’ In The Arts of the Prima Donna in the Long Nineteenth Century, ed. Rachel Cowgill and Hilary Poriss. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2012. 3–20.

‘Comic Sights: Stage Directions in Luigi Ricci’s Autograph Scores.’ In The Fashion and Legacy of Nineteenth-Century Italian Opera, ed. Hilary Poriss and Roberta M. Marvin. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2010. 176–195.

‘Beaumarchais (and Da Ponte) Romanticized: Luigi Ricci’s Le nozze di Figaro.’ In D’une scène à l’autre: L’opéra italien en Europe, ed. Damien Colas and Alessandro di Profio. Liège: Mardaga, 2008. 201–16.

‘Michele Carafa e Le nozze di Lammermoor: Un oscuro precedente della Lucia.’ In Ottocento e oltre. Scritti in onore di Raoul Meloncelli, ed. Francesco Izzo and Johannes Streicher. Rome: Editoriale Pantheon, 1993. 161–93.


Conference Proceedings

‘“Ampollose e sgangherate poesie&rsquo”: Componimenti encomiastici per Rossini, 1829–1864.’ In “Alle più care immagini”: Atti del convegno di studi in memoria di Arrigo Quattrocchi, ed. Philip Gossett and Daniela Macchione. Milan: Il Saggiatore, forthcoming.

‘Suoni festivi: struttura e drammaturgia di un topos donizettiano.’ In Il teatro di Donizetti. Atti dei convegni delle celebrazioni 1797/1997-1848/1998, tome 3: Voglio amore, e amor violento: Studi di drammaturgia, ed. Livio Aragona e Federico Fornoni. Bergamo, Fondazione Donizetti, 2007. 195–208.

‘I cantanti e la recezione di Verdi nell'Ottocento: trattati e corrispondenza.’ In Verdi 2001: Atti del convegno internazionale, ed. Fabrizio Della Seta, Roberta Marvin and Marco Marica. Florence: Leo S. Olschki, 2003. 1:173–87.

‘Singing Fidelio: Some Questions of Vocal Writing and Performance Practice.’ In Fidelio/Leonore: Annäherungen an ein zentrales Werk des Musiktheaters, Kongreßbericht Salzburg 1996, ed. Peter Csobádi, Gernot Gruber et al. Anif-Salzburg: Verlag Ursula Müller-Speiser, 1998. 173–85.

‘Rachmaninoff in Italy: Criticism, Influence, Performance.’ Studies in Music from the University of Western Ontario 15 (1995): 75–86.

‘Feste, congiure e delitti in alcune opere serie di Gaetano Donizetti.’ In Und jedermann erwartet sich ein Fest: Fest, Theater, Festspiele, Kongreßbericht Salzburg 1995, ed. Peter Csobádi, Gernot Gruber et al. Anif-Salzburg: Verlag Ursula Müller-Speiser, 1996: 343–48.

‘Exoticism, Colonialism and Oppression in Italian Early Romantic Opera.’ In “Weine, weine du armes Volk!”. Das verführte und betrogene Volk auf der Bühne, Kongreßbericht Salzburg 1994, ed. Jürgen Kühnel and Ulrich Müller. Anif-Salzburg: Verlag Ursula Müller-Speiser, 1995. 317–26.



Book Section(s)


Professor Francesco Izzo
University of Southampton
SO17 1BJ

Room Number:2/2027

Telephone:(023) 8059 3558
Facsimile:(023) 8059 3197

Share this profile Facebook Google+ Twitter Weibo

We use cookies to ensure that we give you the best experience on our website. If you continue without changing your settings, we will assume that you are happy to receive cookies on the University of Southampton website.