March 6, 1997
Vol. 16, No. 12

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    Gossett awarded Italy's highest civilian honor for research on opera

    Philip Gossett, Dean of the Humanities Division and the Robert W. Reneker Distinguished Service Professor in Music, has been awarded the highest honor given to a civilian by the President of the Republic of Italy.

    The honor, the Diploma di Grande Ufficiale dell'Ordine al Merito, names Gossett as a grand official of the republic for his research in Italian opera. The citation was presented by Pasquale D'Avino, the Counsel General of Italy, in February.

    "It's very rare for someone who is not an Italian citizen to receive this honor," D'Avino said. "But Professor Gossett is very well respected in Italy by the entire music community. He has kept alive international research on Italian opera. He is also a friend to this consulate, since he has given many lectures on Italian music and culture here over the years."

    "Italy has been a second home to me since I began research on Italian opera in the 1960s," Gossett said. "I'm deeply gratified for this recognition from the Italian government."

    This is not the first honor Gossett has received from Italy. In 1985 the Italian government granted him the Medaglia d'Oro, prima classe, for his services to Italian culture, education and the arts. In 1992 he was inducted into the Accademia Filarmonica di Bologna as an honorary member, one of a only a select few to be so honored in the past 100 years.

    Gossett is known internationally for his work in 19th-century Italian music. He is general editor of The Works of Giuseppe Verdi, a $3 million project of the University of Chicago Press and Casa Ricordi that aims to complete, over the next 25 years, a new critical edition of Verdi's works. Gossett is also general editor of the Edizione critica delle opere di Gioachino Rossini, published by the Fondazione Rossini in Pesaro, Italy.

    He has been instrumental in the discovery of many compositions, including the score of a lost Rossini opera, Il viaggio a Reims. His Anna Bolena and the Maturity of Gaetano Donizetti (1985) won the Deems Taylor award of ASCAP in 1986. His many other publications include Le sinfonie di Rossini (1981); Early Romantic Opera (1978-1983, with Charles Rosen); a facsimile edition of the autograph manuscript of Il barbiere di Siviglia, with an introduction (1993); and critical editions of Rossini's Tancredi (1984) and Ermione (1995, with Patricia Brauner). He is currently completing a book on the performance of Italian opera.

    Gossett has worked extensively with opera houses and record companies on such projects as preparing ornamentation for singers, planning recordings and developing new repertory. Among the theaters with which he has collaborated are the Rossini Opera Festival in Pesaro, Italy; the Metropolitan Opera in New York; the Chicago Lyric Opera; the Teatro Comunale in Bologna, Italy; the Santa Fe Opera; and the Teatro dell'Opera in Rome. He has worked closely with singers Cecelia Bartoli, Rockwell Blake, Samuel Ramey, Marilyn Horne, Gianna Rolandi and Cecelia Gasdia.

    A University faculty member since 1968, Gossett was awarded the Quantrell Award for Excellence in Undergraduate Teaching in 1974.