Francesco Izzo

Primary position:
Senior Lecturer in Music


The University of Southampton

Francesco Izzo joined Music at the University of Southampton in 2007. He teaches undergraduate courses in music theory, Italian opera, music and society, and the musical expression of meaning and feeling, and supervises postgraduate research projects on various aspects of 19th- and 20th-century music and opera. He has served as Co-Director of Academic Programmes and in 2013-2014 will be Postgraduate Research Coordinator for Music.

His research focuses on 19th-century opera and song.
His articles appear in Acta Musicologica, Cambridge Opera Journal, Journal of the American Musicological Society, Journal of Musicology, Nineteenth-Century Music Review, Studi Musicali, and in several dictionaries and collections of essays. His book, Laughter between Two Revolutions: Opera buffa in Italy, 1831-1848 is forthcoming in 2013 in the Eastman Studies in Music series (University of Rochester Press). He has given papers at numerous international conferences and lectured at universities and institutions in Europe and North America. He serves as Co-Director of the American Institute for Verdi Studies.

As a writer and speaker Francesco is also committed to drawing bridges between academia and the general public and between scholars and opera practitioners. He is frequently invited as lecturer, contributor of program notes, and consultant at opera houses and festivals in Europe and the United States, including Glyndebourne, Sarasota Opera, the Welsh National Opera, the Royal Opera House, the Teatro di San Carlo in Naples, and the BBC.

As a pianist, he has performed extensively as a soloist, with orchestra, and as a vocal accompanist. He has collaborated with distinguished artists, including Rockwell Blake and Giuseppe Taddei; he provides stylistic advice, ornamentation, and cadenzas for opera singers; and is interested in the study and performance of neglected song repertoire from the 19th century.
Francesco 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, he held a Postdoctoral Fellowship in Italian Opera Studies at NYU (2003-2005), and taught at East Carolina University (2005-2007). He has also held visiting positions at Princeton University, the University of Chicago, and NYU.

Francesco is a passionate teacher. Being away from the classroom causes him considerable anxiety, which he fights with such palliatives as cooking, scuba diving, and copious quantities of chocolate.

Dr Francesco Izzo's photo



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


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 2013).

‘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.

'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.

'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, forthcoming).

'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.

'Censorship," in Oxford Handbook of Opera, ed. Helen M. Greenwald (New York: Oxford University Press, forthcoming).

Conference proceedings

‘Ampollose e sgangherate poesie': 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.




Research Interests

Francesco’s extensive 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, censorship, and the position of singers in society and the operatic marketplace.
His contributions include articles in leading musicological journals as well as chapters in miscellaneous volumes and handbooks.

His forthcoming book, Laughter between Two Revolutions: Opera buffa in Italy, 1831-1848, explores 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.

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, and 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.

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

Affiliate research group:  Musicology and Ethnomusicology


Dr Francesco Izzo
Building 2
Department of Music
University of Southampton
SO17 1BJ

Room Number: 2/2027

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