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Wednesday, Feb. 28, 7:00 pm
Online via Zoom
Tickets $10-$25

Ticket sales for this event have closed

Torquato Tasso (1544–95) was arguably the most prominent poet of late sixteenth-century Italy. His poetry—which includes his magnum opus, the epic poem Gerusalemme liberata, as well as a substantial collection of lyric poems and the pastoral play Aminta—shaped the literary landscape of the time, its influence extending also to the visual arts and music. Late sixteenth-century madrigal composers were especially fond of Tasso’s poetry, producing hundreds of settings, some of which stand out for their innovative musical features.

In this talk, we will explore the musical reception of Tasso’s poetry, discussing the cultural and social conditions that made Tasso’s poetry so influential. Likewise, we will examine how composers reacted musically to his work. To do so, we will explore the variety of musical styles composers employed to match the diverse character of Tasso’s poetry, ranging from the lighthearted musical manner often found in settings of his lyric poems to the quasi-operatic style that composers like Wert and Monteverdi championed in response to the impassioned tone of the epic poem Gerusalemme liberata.

  • Presented in conjunction with our in-person series concert Tasso & Wert.


Emiliano Ricciardi is Associate Professor of Music History at the University of Massachusetts Amherst. He holds a PhD from Stanford University, which he completed in 2013 with the support of an ACLS/Mellon fellowship, and an MPhil from the University of Cambridge. In 2015 he was a Lauro de Bosis postdoctoral fellow in the history of Italian civilization at Harvard University. His main research area is the late Italian madrigal, with an emphasis on the settings of Torquato Tasso’s poetry. His work on this subject includes articles published in journals such as Early Music and Journal of Musicology, and two volumes, a monograph and an edited collection, both forthcoming in the series Epitome musical of Brepols Publishers. He is the director and general editor of the Tasso in Music Project (, a digital critical edition of the musical settings of Tasso’s poetry, which has been supported by the National Endowment for the Humanities in the form of two grants, a Scholarly Editions and Translations Grant in 2016 and a Digital Advancement Grant in 2022.

The Zoom link to participate will be emailed to you following your ticket purchase and a reminder link will be emailed 24 hours prior to the Spotlight Session.

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Access to a recording of the event will be emailed to all ticket holders and remain available Friday, March 1 through Monday March 18.