Francesco Izzo is a musicologist, pianist, and coach specialising in 19th-century opera and vocal music. He is Professor of Music at the University of Southampton (United Kingdom), where he teaches courses and supervises research projects in opera, vocal performance practice, and textual criticism. He is the author of the monograph Laughter between Two Revolutions: Opera buffa in Italy, 1831-1848 (University of Rochester Press) and serves as General Editor of the critical edition The Works of Giuseppe Verdi (University of Chicago Press and Casa Ricordi), for which he has edited Un giorno di regno.
As pianist and keen researcher of vocal performance practices of the 19th century, he has accompanied performances by Barry Banks, Rockwell Blake, Kevin Short, and Giuseppe Taddei, and has coached and consulted for countless more. He recently accompanied to great acclaim soprano Lisette Oropesa in a recital for the Festival Verdi at Parma's Teatro Regio, as well as performances by Leo Nucci and Juan Jesús Rodriguez in Bilbao. He has also performed widely as a soloist, with orchestra, and in a variety of chamber ensembles.
Francesco is keen on forging bridges between performance and scholarship. Since 2014 he has been scholar-in-residence at Sarasota Opera, and since 2017 he has served as Direttore Scientifico of Festival Verdi Parma, which in the first year of his scholarly leadership achieved the prestigious award for best festival at the International Opera Awards. He has collaborated closely with Roberto Abbado during his tenure as the Festival's Music Director, and has consulted among others for conductors Daniele Callegari, Michele Mariotti, Francesco Pasqualetti, and Sebastiano Rolli, stage directors Hugo de Ana, Leo Muscato, and Graham Vick, as well as Anna Maria Chiuri, Annick Massis, Michele Pertusi, Piero Pretti, Ramon Vargas, Franco Vassallo, Riccardo Zanellato, and many other renowned singers. He has lectured and contributed printed and media content for many of the world’s leading opera companies and festivals, including the Salzburg Festival, the Glyndebourne Festival, the Donizetti Festival, the Royal Opera House, the Welsh National Opera, the Teatro La Fenice, and the opera houses of Bilbao, Madrid, Munich, Naples, Palermo, and Rome.
Francesco is frequently invited to deliver lectures, workshops, and masterclasses—including recent visits to the Juilliard School, Princeton University, Conservatorium Maastricht, and the Conservatorio della Svizzera Italiana. During the Covid pandemic he remained committed to teaching and public engagement, leading online talks and activities for a variety of institutions and intervening as guest lecturer in Lisette Oropesa’s popular online masterclasses. In 2021 he was scholarly consultant at the Teatro real in Madrid for the premiere modern performance of Valentín de Zubiaurre’s Don Fernando el Emplazado, of which he has prepared the critical edition for the Instituto Complutense de Ciencias Musicales.
In 2023 he was appointed program director of the Accademia Verdiana, the young artists' program of the Teatro Regio in Parma, for which he has been teaching since 2018. Plans for the current year also include teaching courses in opera and music history and supervision of PhD students at his home institution, the University of Southampton, masterclasses in Cordoba and Palm Beach, concerts at the Bilbao Opera, New York University in Florence, and Parma's Teatro Regio, and the premiere performance of his edition (co-edited with David Ferreiro Carballo) of Antonio Reparaz's Gonzalo di Cordova, as well as ongoing activity as direttore scientifico of Festival Verdi.
Francesco has taught at the University of Southampton since 2007, training and inspiring a new generation of scholars, performers, and teachers.
Francesco is General Editor of The Works of Giuseppe Verdi (University of Chicago Press and Casa Ricordi), which publishes all of Verdi's music in critical edition.
At Teatro Regio Parma, since 2017 Francesco has informed and supervised the work of Festival Verdi, and in 2023 he was appointed program director for the Accademia Verdiana.