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Francesca Vella

Francesca Vella

British Academy Postdoctoral Fellow, Faculty of Music

College Research Associate, St John's College


Biography:

I was born and grew up in Florence, where I studied Art, Music and Performing Arts at the University of Florence and piano at the Scuola di Musica di Fiesole, before moving to the UK to pursue my MMus and PhD at King’s College London. Prior to taking up my British Academy Postdoctoral Fellowship in Cambridge's Faculty of Music, I was a junior research fellow at St John’s College, Cambridge (2014-18).

My research considers histories and technologies of operatic performance, particularly in Italy, across the 19th and early 20th centuries. I’ve published articles on Verdi and Italian nation-building, operatic mobility, and vocal celebrity culture, and have a forthcoming essay about opera broadcasts on 1920s and ‘30s Italian radio. I’m currently completing my first monograph, Networking Operatic Italy, 1850s-1870s, which looks at how trans-municipal and transnational networks of opera production and critical discourse shaped Italian cultural identity during the years immediately preceding and following the country’s unification (1861).

My growing interest in broader sonic and auditory cultures has recently led to the establishment of the ‘Sounding (Out) 19th-Century Italy’ research project (2019-20). I’ve also been a founder of the Leverhulme-funded network ‘Re-imagining italianità: Opera and Musical Culture in Transnational Perspective’ (2016-19), based at UCL and with collaborators at Cambridge, Brown University and the Universidade Estadual de Campinas (https://www.ucl.ac.uk/centre-transnational-history/research-and-publications/re-imagining-ita). In the coming years, I hope to continue research for my next monograph project: Listening to Verdi, 1839-1939, which was awarded the Parma Rotary Club ‘Giuseppe Verdi’ International Prize in 2016.

Subject groups/Research projects

Nineteenth-Century Studies:

(Italian Opera Studies)

Colleges, Departments and Institutes

St John's College:

Key Publications

‘"When the Acts are Finished’": Italy and Opera on the Air, 1920s-1930s' (under review).

‘De(Railing) Mobility: Opera, Stasis, and Locomotion on Late-Nineteenth-Century Italian Tracks’, Opera Quarterly , 34/1 (2018), 3-28.

‘Jenny Lind, Voice, Celebrity’, Music & Letters, 98/2 (2017), 232-54.

‘Tamagno Otherwise’, Cambridge Opera Journal, 28/2 (2016), 235-7.

‘Milan, Simon Boccanegra and the Late-Nineteenth-Century Operatic Museum’, Verdi Perspektiven, 1 (2016), 93–121.

‘Bridging Divides: Verdi’s Requiem in Post-Unification Italy’, Journal of the Royal Musical Association, 140/2 (2015), 313–42.

‘Verdi and Politics (c. 1859-1861)’, Studi verdiani, 24 (2014), 79–121.

‘Verdi’s Don Carlo as Monument’, Cambridge Opera Journal, 25/1 (2013), 75–103.

Other Publications

Book reviews and Review articles

London Voices, 1820–1840: Vocal Performers, Practices, Histories. Ed. Roger Parker and Susan Rutherford, Music & Letters (forthcoming).

‘Review Article: Not in Their Minds', Journal of the Royal Musical Association, 145/1 (2020), 251-57.

Opera and Modern Spectatorship in Late Nineteenth-Century Italy. By Alessandra Campana, Nineteenth-Century Music Review, 15/1 (2018), 81-5.

Verdi, Opera, Women. By Susan Rutherford, Opera Quarterly, 33/2 (2017), 184-7. 

Experiencing Verdi: A Listener’s Companion. By Donald Sanders, Music & Letters, 95/3 (2014), 462–4.

Laughter between Two Revolutions: Opera Buffa in Italy, 1831-1848. By Francesco Izzo, Music & Letters, 95/4 (2014), 662–4.

‘Review Article: A Passion for Italy’, Cambridge Opera Journal, 23/3 (2011), 191–200.