Books for the News, Music

Philip Gossett—resurrecting the masterpieces of the 19th-century Italian opera

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Though he works behind the scenes, Philip Gossett, the Robert W. Reneker Distinguished Service Professor in Music and the College at the University of Chicago, has become nearly a household name amongst aficionados of the modern opera, for decades having played an instrumental role in bringing to the stage some of the greatest masterpieces of the nineteenth century Italian repertoire. As this article from the University of Chicago News Office points out, among his many contributions to the stage, Gossett has acted as a consultant to some of the worlds most renown opera companies and superstars—including conductor Riccardo Muti, and soprano Renée Fleming—as well as taken on a role as general editor of the critical editions of the works of Verdi and Rossini—work which has attached his name to nearly every contemporary performance of 19th-century Italian opera.
The piece from the U of C’s News Office, (complimented by a nice slideshow and video from the Chicago Multimedia Initiatives Group), offers an interesting look at Gossett’s career and the important role he has played in producing some of the most critically acclaimed modern operatic productions, but in his 2006 book, Divas and Scholars—Performing Italian Opera, you can find Gossett’s own first-hand account of his storied career bringing the masterpieces of 19th century Italian opera to the modern stage. In a series of lively tales and anecdotes detailing the author’s experiences working with major opera companies at venues ranging from the Metropolitan and Santa Fe operas to the Rossini Opera Festival at Pesaro, in Divas and Scholars Gossett brings to life the triumphs and failures, problems, and occasionally the scandals, that attend the production of some of our most favorite operas.
For more, read the article on the University of Chicago website, or read this excerpt from the book.