New York University will host the University of Southampton’s Francesco Izzo for a public lecture, “The Transformative Life of Giuseppe Verdi,” on Tues., April 8, 6-8 p.m. at 20 Cooper Square, 5th Floor, between 5th and 6th Streets.
The event is co-sponsored by NYU’s Center for the Study of Transformative Lives and the Humanities Initiative at NYU.
An RSVP is required by calling 212.998.4291 or emailing firstname.lastname@example.org. Subways: 6 (Astor Place); N, R (8th Street).
In published accounts of the process of liberation and unification that led to the formation of the Kingdom of Italy in 1861, few individuals stand out more prominently than does opera composer Giuseppe Verdi (1813-1901). Biographies that appeared during the composer’s long life and beyond often describe him as the “bard of the Risorgimento”—the artist and intellectual who gave the struggling people of Italy a voice. In particular, the ostensibly patriotic choruses found in Verdi’s early operas were broadly viewed as unequivocal statements in support of the Italian national cause—and as vehicles that contributed substantially to the formation of a national conscience among the Italian people. But recent scholarship has questioned the validity of such widespread assumptions.
This lecture will probe the question of Verdi’s broader transformative impact during the 19th century and beyond. It will show how at least some of his influence on the establishment and perception of a united Italy developed after the fact—and how Verdi transformed crucial aspects of operatic culture of his time, including the relation and balance of power between composer and librettist and composer and singer, the idea of freedom of expression, ideas of authorship and intellectual property, and the development of copyright legislation in Italy.
A pianist, Izzo is a senior lecturer of music at the University of Southampton in the United Kingdom and co-director of the American Institute for Verdi Studies.
The Center for the Study of Transformative Lives at New York University fosters research, teaching, and education centering on the lives of exemplary individuals whose dedication, genius, and moral vision helped shape the course of human events. The work of the Center is motivated by the conviction that the example of a great and good life, studied in depth and at length, can become a guiding influence on people’s lives today as they confront their own choices, decisions, and opportunities. Focusing on well-known and less-well-known figures from the present and the past, students and researchers study inspiring individuals in the context of their times and the circles in which they moved, using them as powerful lenses through which to view history and understand societal change. For more, go to: http://www.transformativelives.org.
Created in 2007, the Humanities Initiative at NYU draws on the diverse talents and interests of NYU’s humanities faculty and students while taking advantage of the university’s location in New York City. The Initiative is committed to bringing NYU’s humanists together as well as to exploring the role of the humanities in the larger university and global community. For more, please visit http://humanitiesinitiative.org.