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St John’s Fellow receives international prize for Verdi project

St John’s Research Fellow Dr Francesca Vella has received the Parma Rotary Club ‘Giuseppe Verdi’ International Prize for a planned research project.

Dr Francesca Vella, Fellow of Music at St John’s, has been awarded the biennial prize for her research project entitled Listening to Verdi, 1840-1930.

Francesca’s research interests lie in Verdi’s operas—her doctoral work examined the place of the composer and his works in shaping Milanese identity during the late 19th century—as well as in opera’s relationship with urban and political developments. She is a co-founder of the Leverhulme-funded research network ‘Re-imagining italianità: opera and musical culture in transnational perspective’ (2016-19), based at UCL.

Francesca’s new research project intends to explore how Verdi’s operas were ‘heard’ and listened to in a range of specific cultural contexts throughout the mid-19th to early 20th century. Francesca plans to develop a number of case studies, which will address political discourse about Verdi’s ‘noisiness’ during the 1840s, the ‘soundscape’ of Aida, the voice of tenor Francesco Tamagno within the context of early sound reproduction technologies, and Verdian opera on early radio in Italy. The research and findings will then be compiled in a book.

The Parma Rotary Club ‘Giuseppe Verdi’ International Prize, established in 1983 and in association with the ‘Fondazione Istituto nazionale di studi verdiani’, is granted to a scholar for completing a research project on a Verdian topic. The project is carried out over the course of three years, and the final book is published in the Foundation’s specialised series.