Music historian wins Mellon Award
Yale music historian Ellen Rosand has won a Distinguished Achievement Award from the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation, which will enable her to create a Baroque opera company for Yale undergraduates.
The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation Distinguished Achievement Awards are presented to scholars whose work and influence significantly enrich the broader community of humanistic studies. The awards provide up to $1.5 million to recipients and their institutions to deepen and extend humanistic research. While presented to recognize the achievements of individuals, the grants support activities that will enhance scholarship and teaching in a program developed by the recipient.
"This award is a great honor for Ellen Rosand and for Yale," said University President Richard C. Levin. "In view of Professor Rosand's depth of learning and the resources that the Mellon Foundation has placed at her disposal through this very generous award, I look forward eagerly to watching her vision for the performance and study of Baroque opera take shape."
In announcing the award, the Mellon Foundation underscored Rosand's influence in the field of musicology, crediting her with opening "important new ways of understanding 17th-century music and opera. Her monumental studies of the Venetian opera have arguably reshaped the entire subject. Rosand's scholarship combines deep investigation of the archival evidence with innovative examination of opera's literary content and its dramatic and musical conventions and is a model of clarity and integrity."
Rosand, who was recently named the George A. Saden Professor of Music (see related story), has turned several generations of Yale students into opera fans with her undergraduate course "Introduction to Opera."
With the Mellon Award, Rosand plans to create an undergraduate opera company to produce three major 17th-century operas over the three years of the grant. To that end, she plans to invite specialists in various aspects of Baroque opera production and performance. These will include conductors, directors and early music performers who will offer master classes and coaching sessions for singers and instrumentalists, undergraduate and graduate alike.
In conjunction with the Whitney Humanities Center, Rosand will organize annual symposia on topics related to Baroque opera as it intersects with other fields in the humanities, including theater studies, textual studies and performance. In addition, she will help establish a program of postdoctoral fellowships that will bring to campus scholars in fields related to Baroque opera. As well as pursuing their own research, these scholars will participate in seminars and offer lectures. Drawing on the collaboration of an international group of young scholars, finally, Rosand will sponsor a complete edition of the operas of Francesco Cavalli, the leading opera composer in 17th-century Venice, whose works are being increasingly performed by opera houses worldwide.
The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation has conferred Distinguished Achievement Awards since 2001. Recipients are chosen from such fields as classics, history, history of art, musicology, philosophy, religious studies and all areas of literary studies.
"I congratulate Professor Rosand on this award," said Yale College Dean Peter Salovey. "Yale College student singers and musicians, a surprising number of whom are passionate about opera, will benefit enormously from the opportunities she plans to create on our campus."
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