Three members of staff at the department work on Italian topics
Amy Brosius specialises in Italian singing culture of the Baroque period (1580–1750), more specifically in vocal music, early modern singers and early modern gender construction. Her approach to research on Italian singing culture is interdisciplinary, employing methodologies from art history, critical theory, gender studies, and performance studies. She also runs an Early Modern Vocal Ensemble, which gives students the opportunity to explore Italian vocal chamber music and the issues of performance practices of such music.
Ben Earle works on the analysis, history and criticism of mid twentieth-century Italian music, with a special emphasis on the issue of cultural politics, particularly during the fascist period (1922–45) and its immediate aftermath.
Arman Schwartz’s research on Italian opera focuses on the years between the mid-19th century and the present, considering Verdi, Puccini, and their contemporaries as well as more ‘avant-garde’ figures from the Futurists to Luciano Berio. His approach to this repertoire is informed by his interests in sound and media studies, theatre and performance studies, and by larger debates about realism and modernism. He is a member of the editorial board of Opera Quarterly and scholar-in-residence for the 2016 Bard Music Festival, devoted to ‘Puccini and his World’.
The study of Italian music at the University of Birmingham has a distinguished history, beginning with the appointment in 1959 of the late Nigel Fortune, a noted scholar of Monteverdi and early seventeenth-century monody. Our professors emeritus include Colin Timms and John Whenham, both of whom have published extensively on Italian music of the Baroque period, Timms with a special focus on Agostino Steffani, Whenham on Monteverdi. The Barber Music Library has outstanding holdings not just in seventeenth-century music, but also in twentieth-century Italian repertory, where it benefits from donations from the libraries of the two leading British scholars in the field, the late David Osmond-Smith and John C. G. Waterhouse, of whom Waterhouse worked for many years in the university’s extra-mural department.
‘Singers Behaving Badly: Vengeance, Shame and the Singers of Cardinal Antonio Barberini’, Women and Music: A Journal of Gender and Culture, 19 (2015), 45–53.
‘“Il suon, lo sguardo, il canto”: The Function of Portraits of Mid-Seventeenth-Century Virtuose in Rome’, Italian Studies, 63 (2008), 17–40.
‘Puccini, Fascism, and the Case of Turandot’, in Arman Schwartz and Emanuele Senici (eds.), Puccini and His World (Princeton: Princeton University Press, in press).
‘The Politics of the New Music’, review article on Angela Ida De Benedictis and Ulrich Mosch (eds.), Alla ricerca di luce e chiarezza. L’epistolario Helmut Lachenmann – Luigi Nono (1957–1990) (Florence: Olschki, 2012), in Music & Letters, 94 (2013), 664–71.
Luigi Dallapiccola and Musical Modernism in Fascist Italy (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2013), pp. xvi+304
‘“In onore della Resistenza”: Mario Zafred and Symphonic Neorealism’, in Robert Adlington (ed.), Red Strains: Music and Communism Outside the Communist Bloc, Proceedings of the British Academy, 185 (Oxford: British Academy/Oxford University Press, 2013), 149–71.
‘Verdi, Dallapiccola and Operatic “Gesture”: Ottocento Practice in Il prigioniero’, in Lorenzo Frassà and Michela Nicolai (eds.), Verdi Reception (Turnhout: Brepols, 2013), 217–55.
Review article on Fiamma Nicolodi (ed.), Luigi Dallapiccola nel suo secolo. Atti del convegni internazionale (Firenze, 10–12 dicembre 2004) (Florence: Olschki, 2007), in Il saggiatore musicale, 15 (2008), 329–42.
Dallapiccola and the Politics of Commitment: Re-reading Il prigioniero’, Radical Musicology, 2 (2007), 83 pars. www.radical-musicology.org.uk
‘Dallapiccola’s Early Synthesis: No. 1, “Vespro, tutto riporti”, from Cinque frammenti di Saffo’, Music Analysis, 25 (2006), 3–38.
‘The Avant-Garde Artist as Superman: Aesthetics and Politics in Dallapiccola’s Volo di notte’, in Roberto Illiano (ed.), Italian Music during the Fascist Period (Turnhout: Brepols, 2004), 657–716.
Also many prefaces for reprints of rare Italian repertory from the first half of the twentieth century by Leone Sinigaglia, Giovanni Salviucci and Mario Pilati (Munich: Musikproduktion Hoeflich).
Puccini’s Soundscapes: Realism and Modernity in Italian Opera (Florence: Olschki, forthcoming 2016).
Puccini and His World, co-edited with Emanuele Senici (Princeton: Princeton University Press, forthcoming 2016).
‘Realism and Skepticism in Puccini’s Early Operas’, in Puccini and His World, co-edited with Emanuele Senici (Princeton: Princeton University Press, forthcoming 2016).
‘Medium Specificity: Response to Rebecca Schneider’, Opera Quarterly, 31 (2015), 176–81.
‘Opera and the Avant-Garde’ (guest-edited special journal issue) Opera Quarterly, 30 (2014).
‘The Absent Diva: Notes toward a Life of Cathy Berberian’, Opera Quarterly, 30 (2014), 93–104.
‘Puccini, in the Distance’, Cambridge Opera Journal, 23 (2012), 167–89.
‘Mechanism and Tradition in Puccini’s Turandot’, Opera Quarterly, 25 (2009), 28–50.
‘Manon in the Desert, Wagner on the Beach’, Opera Quarterly, 24 (2008), 51–61.
‘Rough Music: Tosca and Verismo Reconsidered’, 19th-Century Music, 31 (2008), 228–44.
‘Prospero’s Isle and the Sirens’ Rock’, Cambridge Opera Journal, 15 (2003), 81–106.