Roger Freitas received his PhD in music history from Yale University. He had previously earned an MM (with performer’s certificate) in early music, vocal performance, from Indiana University; and a BM in vocal performance from Dominican College of San Rafael.
His book, Portrait of a Castrato: Politics, Patronage, and Music in the Life of Atto Melani, appeared in May 2009 as part of the series New Perspectives in Music History and Criticism from Cambridge University Press. In 2006 he published an edition of the Complete Cantatas of Atto Melani (Collegium Musicum: Yale University, series 2, vol. 15 [Middleton, Wisc.: A-R Editions]). He has brought out articles in the Journal of Musicology, Music and Letters, Journal of the Royal Musical Association (JRMA), and Opera News. His most recent essay, “Metaphors in Music: Two Musical Topoi in Mid-Seicento Rome,” is due out this summer in the Journal of Seventeenth-Century Music.
Freitas has presented papers at the annual meetings of the American Musicological Society, Royal Musical Association, Society for Seventeenth-Century Music, and Modern Language Association. He has also spoken at more specialized conferences, including the 13th Biennial International Conference on Baroque Music (Leeds, 2008), Attending to Early Modern Women—and Men (Univ. of Maryland, 2006), and Italy’s Eighteenth Century: Gender and Culture in the Age of the Grand Tour (Clark Memorial Library/UCLA, 2002). This summer he will present a paper at the quinquennial meeting of the International Musicological Society in Rome.
Among his honors are the Philip Brett Award of the American Musicological Society (administered by the LGBTQ Study Group) and a book subvention from the Donna Cardamone Jackson Publication Endowment Fund of the AMS, both for his Portrait of a Castrato. He has also won the Rome Prize from the American Academy in Rome (where he resided in 2003–04), and an NEH Fellowship (2000–01). In 2006 he received Eastman’s prestigious Eisenhart Award for Excellence of Teaching.
In the spring of 2009, Freitas planned and hosted the annual meeting of the Society for Seventeenth-Century Music at Eastman. At the meeting of the American Musicological Society in November 2008, he organized a discussion panel of international experts on the subject of the Italian cantata. And in the spring of 2008 he brought four leading experts on the music of Francesco Cavalli to speak at a symposium linked to a performance of the composer’s opera La virtù de’ strali d’Amore. He currently serves the American Musicological Society on the Alvin H. Johnson AMS 50 Dissertation Fellowship Committee (2010–13), before which he served on the Noah Greenberg Award Committee (2007–09). He is also finishing his tenure as editor of the Newsletter of the Society for Seventeenth-Century Music, and he has been a member of the board of directors of the American Handel Society since 2002. He sits on the editorial board of Eastman Studies in Music, University of Rochester Press (from 2010).
He is the academic advisor for the musicology department and a faculty associate at the University of Rochester’s Susan B. Anthony Institute for Gender and Women’s Studies. Prior to joining Eastman in 1998, Freitas held a position as a visiting lecturer at Wellesley College (1997–98). He also performed as a soprano and alto adjunct member of Chanticleer (1984–86).
Works / Publications
- Portrait of a Castrato: Politics, Patronage, and Music in the Life of Atto Melani, New Perspectives in Music History and Criticism (Cambridge: Cambridge Univ. Press, 2009).
- “Metaphors in Music: Two Musical Topoi in Mid-Seicento Rome,” forthcoming from the Journal of Seventeenth-Century Music.
- “Sex without Sex: An Erotic Image of the Castrato Singer,” Italy’s Eighteenth Century: Gender and Culture in the Age of the Grand Tour, ed. Paula Findlen, Wendy Wassyng Roworth, and Catherine M. Sama (Stanford, Calif.: Stanford Univ. Press, 2009).
- “The Eroticism of Emasculation: Confronting the Baroque Body of the Castrato,” Journal of Musicology 20 (2003): 196-249. (The issue actually appeared in May 2004.)
- “Toward a Verdian Ideal of Singing: Emancipation from Modern Orthodoxy,” Journal of the Royal Musical Association 127 (2002): 226-57.
- “Singing and Playing: The Italian Cantata and the Rage for Wit,” Music and Letters 82 (2001): 509-542. (Received Jack Westrup Prize for best contribution to Music and Letters in 2001.)
- “Singing Handel: How Changing Tastes Have Dictated Performance Style,” Opera News 61 (July 1996): 14-17.
- Atto Melani, Complete Cantatas, Collegium Musicum: Yale University, series 2, vol. 15 (Middleton, Wisc.: A-R Editions, 2006).