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Professor Francesco Izzo 

Professor of Music and Head of Music Department

Professor Francesco Izzo's photo

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

Higher education is one of my great passions, and my teaching interests are wide-ranging. Here at Southampton I offer a variety of undergraduate modules in music theory and history, opera, and the representation of meaning and feeling. I was recently the lead tutor for a first-year module—Antique Music Roadshow 2, and for a module on the operas of Benjamin Britten for second- and third-year students. I often teach modules in opera and in introductory music theory; in 2018-19, I am teaching Exploring Music II for first year-students, as well as a module on nineteenth-century Italian opera, concentrating on the works of Rossini, Bellini, Donizetti, and Verdi. I will also be closely involved in the delivery of performance teaching, offering masterclasses and workshops on the performance of Italian opera to voice students.


In my lectures I aim to create an informal and collegial environment conducive to student participation and interaction. It is by asking questions and discussing them openly and critically, I believe, that we can truly enhance the learning experience beyond the mere sharing of information. My lectures often include a certain amount of music-making—be it explore a Beethoven composition or a pop song at the piano, or sing through an opera chorus or Christmas carol as a group. I have supervised undergraduate research projects on a variety of subjects, including film music, late twentieth-century musical theatre, the analysis of Beethoven’s piano works, and a range of opera topics. Here at Southampton I have also supervised numerous MMus and PhD theses, including various critical editions of instrumental and vocal music. One of my recent PhDs supervisees, Candida Mantica, reconstructed and edited Donizetti’s L’ange de Nisida, and her research and edition led to the world premiere of this work by Opera Rara at the Royal Opera House in July 2018.

My research focuses on 19th-century opera, concentrating in particular on the works of Giuseppe Verdi.
 I have published articles in leading journals such as Acta Musicologica, Cambridge Opera Journal and the Journal of the American Musicological Society, 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 regularly present papers at leading international conferences, as well as lectures and seminars at universities and institutions in Europe and North America, including the Universidad Complutense de Madrid, the University of Pavia, New York University, and the University of Chicago. I currently serve as Co-Director of the American Institute for Verdi Studies and as 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.

My work on opera and critical editions involves a significant amount of presentations to general audiences, media appearances, and consulting with opera companies. I collaborate regularly with opera houses in Europe and North America, including the Welsh National Opera, the Royal Opera House, the leading opera houses of Bilbao, Madrid, Munich, Naples, and Palermo, the Donizetti Festival, the Glyndebourne Festival, and the Salzburg Festival. I am also the scholar-in-residence at Sarasota Opera, and since 2017 I direct the Scientific Committee of Festival Verdi in Parma, where I regularly provide guidance and support for leading operatic productions.  In the recent past I’ve had the pleasure of working and consulting with such conductors as Roberto Abbado, Daniele Callegari, and Victor DeRenzi, stage directors as Hugo de Ana and Graham Vick, and singers including Ramón Vargas, Annick Massis, and Michele Pertusi. I also deliver workshops and seminars on vocal style and operatic performance, and have recently worked with talented young artists at the Juilliard School in New York and the Accademia Verdiana in Parma. A former student in the United States, mezzosoprano Deborah Nansteel, recently made her Metropolitan Opera debut, and I was thrilled to have the chance to applaud her in person.

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

Musicology and Ethnomusicology

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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 Chapters


Professor Francesco Izzo
University of Southampton
SO17 1BJ

Room Number: 2/2027

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