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 2015 it was published in Italian translation by ETS (Pisa). In 2006 he published an edition of the Complete Cantatas of Atto Melani with A-R Editions. He has brought out articles in the Journal of Seventeenth-Century Music, Journal of Musicology, Music and Letters, Journal of the Royal Musical Association (JRMA), and Opera News, as well as in collections on “musical voices” and Italy’s eighteenth century. His most recent essay, “Singing Herself: Adelina Patti and the Performance of Femininity,” appeared in the Journal of the American Musicological Society in summer 2018.
Freitas has presented papers at the annual meetings of the American Musicological Society, International Musicological Society, Society for Seventeenth-Century Music, Royal Musical Association, and Modern Language Association. He has also spoken at more specialized conferences, including the Biennial International Conference on Baroque Music (Cremona, 2018; Leeds, 2008), the Utrecht Early Music Festival (2013), 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). 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.
Prof. Freitas currently serves as president-elect of the Society for Seventeenth-Century Music, his two-year term as president commencing in spring 2019. He has just completed service on the Board of Directors of the American Musicological Society, where he chaired the Communications Committee. For the AMS he has also served on the Program Committee for the annual meeting in Louisville (2015), the Alvin H. Johnson AMS 50 Dissertation Fellowship Committee (2010–13), and the Noah Greenberg Award Committee (2007–09). He served as editor of the Newsletter of the Society for Seventeenth-Century Music (2009-12), 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 has been both chair (2012-16) and graduate advisor (2001-12) of the Musicology Department at Eastman, and he continues to be 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; paperback edition, 2014).
Italian translation: Vita di un castrato: Atto Melani tra politica, mecenatismo, e musica, pref. Sara Mamone, trans. Anna Li Vigni, Studi culturali, supplemento no. 2 (Pisa: ETS, 2015).
- Review of L’Orfeo, by Luigi Rossi, musical direction by Raphaël Pichon, staging by Jetske Mijnssen, Pygmalion, recorded at L’Opéra National de Lorraine (Nancy), February 7 and 9, 2016, Arles: Harmonia Mundi HMD 9859058.59, 2017, DVD and Blu-ray disc, Performance Practice Review (forthcoming).
- “Singing Herself: Adelina Patti and the Performance of Femininity,” Journal of the American Musicological Society 71, no. 2 (2018): 287-369.
- “The Art of Artlessness, or, Adelina Patti Teaches Us How to Be Natural,” in Word, Image, and Song, vol. 2, Essays on Musical Voices, eds. Rebecca Cypess, Beth L. Glixon, and Nathan Link, Eastman Studies in Music (Rochester, NY: University of Rochester Press, 2013), 213-42.
- “Metaphors in Music: Two Musical Topoi in Mid-Seicento Rome,” Journal of Seventeenth-Century Music 15 (2013 [dated 2009]): http://www.sscm-jscm.org/v15/no1/freitas.html.
- “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.
Reprinted in Classical and Romantic Music, ed. David Milsom, Ashgate Library of Essays on Music Performance Practice (Surrey, UK: Ashgate, 2011).
- “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).