My name is Judit Zsovár, I am a soprano and musicologist (PhD).
Welcome to my crowdfunding campaign launched to finance the publication of my book entitled Anna Maria Strada, Prima Donna of G. F. Handel. It will be released by Peter Lang International Academic Publishers presumably at the end of this year or in early 2020. Since I am an independent scholar with no institution to back me up, I am relying on the generosity of people who are interested in a scholarly work discovering a performer’s particularities via musicological methods as well as findings of the historically informed performance practice.
Thank you very much for your donations in advance. If you like this project and find it worthy of support, please be so kind to share it with others. Should you have any questions, please do not hesitate to contact me.
Abstract of the book:
George Frideric Handel’s longest continuous collaboration with a leading singer took place between 1729 and 1737 with Anna Maria Strada del Pò (Bergamo, 1703 ‒ Naples, 20 July 1775), who ʻseems to have pleased him most’. Charles Burney considered her as an artist ‘formed by [the composer] himself’. Strada’s comprehensive vocal range and flexibility, as well as her twofold lyric-dramatic talent, were most probably due to an uncommon, innate ability. She may have been a so called natural soprano (or, to borrow a Romantic term, an early soprano sfogato or voce assoluta), who, having a strong upper register, sang ‘entirely di petto’, i.e. with a chest-like voice production in the head range as well, powerfully and sonorously.
Since Strada has become a research focus neither in Handel research nor in the field of eighteenth-century opera before, I have chosen to investigate the vocal features and career of the prima donna of the second Royal Academy of Music in connection with the music written for her not only by Handel, but also by Antonio Vivaldi, Leonardo Leo, Leonardo Vinci, Domenico Sarro, and others. My conclusions rest on three main pillars: (a) the musical sources, which focus on the original roles and arias created especially for her; (b) the surviving descriptions of her singing, and the period treatises, completed (c) with my own practical experiences as a classical singer.
The present book would, at least in part, do justice to the significance of Strada’s peculiar art of singing, which proved to be a source of inspiration to the composers she collaborated with.
Briefly about myself:
As a musicologist, I gained my doctorate at the Liszt Academy Budapest in 2017 with a dissertation on Anna Maria Strada and have published inter alia in the Händel-Jahrbuch 62 (2016). My other research field is bel canto singing with particular interest in the soprano sfogato voice. Recently, I collaborated on the ‘Viennese Kärntnertortheater’ project (Austrian Academy of Sciences) and assisted to Reinhard Strohm with the edition of Scipione for the Hallische Händel-Ausgabe.
As a soprano, I appeared at the Vienna Konzerthaus (Mozarteum Orchestra Salzburg/Bolton), the Helsinki Music Centre, and the Nádor- and the Liszt halls (Budapest). Among my future engagements is a recital at the Handel House in London (May 2019).
I have been awarded the Handel Institute Research and Conference grants, the DAAD, Zoltán Kodály and Hungarian state scholarships.
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