B1724. Philip Gossett. Anna Bolena and the Maturity of Gaetano Donizetti. Oxford, Clarendon Press, 1985. 183pp. Illus.; DJ. - 0-19-313205-2
“Though he wrote quickly, Donizetti left extensive evidence of his aesthetic concerns in his autograph manuscripts. These documents reveal with extraordinary clarity the difficult composition process underlying works that, on the surface, appear to be almost effortless. ANNA BOLENA, which marked Donizetti's first triumph and carried his name to every important operatic center in Europe, is a central work in his career. In a close study of the autograph manuscript, Gossett examines Donizetti's musical decisions, shedding light on the composer's relationship with the Rossinian tradition and his efforts to define a personal style. Through this example, the book also seeks to develop a vocabulary and method for the analysis of Italian opera. The argument is illustrated with numerous musical examples.”
“Philip Gossett is an American musicologist and historian, and recently officially retired from the post of Robert W. Reneker Distinguished Service Professor of Music at the University of Chicago. His lifelong interest in 19th-century Italian opera most recently led to the publication of a major book on the subject, DIVAS AND SCHOLARS: PERFORMING ITALIAN OPERA, which won the Otto Kinkeldey Award of the American Musicological Society as the best book on music of 2006.
Philip Gossett's contributions to opera scholarship and how they can influence operatic performance may best be summed up by Newsday's comment that ’some encomiasts claim that soprano Maria Callas did as much for Italian opera as Arturo Toscanini or Verdi. Musicologist Philip Gossett arguably has done as much for Italian opera as any of those geniuses’.
At the time he began graduate musical studies in the mid-1960s, the Italian composers such as Gioachino Rossini, Vincenzo Bellini, Gaetano Donizetti and Giuseppe Verdi had been given little serious academic study. Throughout his career, Gossett's work has frequently taken him to Italy, where he has advised on the presentations of productions at the Rossini Opera Festival in Rossini's hometown of Pesaro, and he has worked directly with the Istituto Nazionale di Studi Verdiani (Institute of Verdi Studies) in Parma which was founded in 1960. Also, for the 2001 centenary of Verdi's death, he worked with the Teatro Regio di Parma on their programming.
Given that Gossett's musical interests focus on 19th-century Italian opera (especially the works of Rossini, Bellini, Donizetti, and Verdi), most of his career has been devoted to being General Editor of two important projects while at the University of Chicago: the research for the preparation of critical editions of all the operas of both Rossini (some 70) and Verdi (some 33, in their various forms). These are being prepared and gradually published as THE WORKS OF GIUSEPPE VERDI (by the University of Chicago Press in collaboration with the Italian publishing house Casa Ricordi of Milan) and of THE WORKS OF GIOACHINO ROSSINI (by Bärenreiter Verlag, Kassel).
In the US, he has consulted with the Houston Grand Opera (in 1979 for the first production of the critical edition of TANCREDI, with its then newly discovered tragic ending, starring Marilyn Horne); with the Metropolitan Opera for its November 1990 production of SEMIRAMIDE; with The Santa Fe Opera in 2000 for Rossini's ERMIONE; and with the Chicago Lyric Opera for the first presentations of Rossini's long-lost IL VIAGGIO A REIMS in 2003. Gossett again acted as consultant to The Santa Fe Opera during rehearsals for its 2012 season production of the new critical edition of Rossini's original MAOMETTO II of 1820 and he returned in the same capacity during rehearsals of the company's new production of Rossini's LA DONNA DEL LAGO during the 2013 season.
Gossett was awarded the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation's ‘Distinguished Achievement Award’ in 2004, which gained him a prize of $1.5 million to facilitate his research. Also, in 1998, the Italian government gave him the ‘Cavaliere di Gran Croce’, the highest honor that can be awarded to a civilian. Academically, he has been President of the American Musicological Society and of the Society for Textual Scholarship, as well as Dean of the Division of the Humanities at the University of Chicago. In 2008 Gossett was appointed foreign member of the Royal Swedish Academy of Music.”
- H. P. Casavant