Wendy Heller, Scheide Professor of Music History, is Chair of the Department of Music at Princeton University and also serves as Director of the Program in Italian Studies. Recognized as one of the leading scholars in the field of Baroque music, Heller has specialized in the study of 17th- and 18th-century opera from interdisciplinary perspectives, with special emphasis on gender and sexuality, art history, Italian literature, dance history, and the classical tradition. Author of the award-winning Emblems of Eloquence: Opera and Women’s Voices in Seventeenth-Century Venice (Berkeley, 2003), Heller has published numerous essays on the music of Monteverdi, Strozzi, Cavalli, Purcell, and Handel, including most recently “Ovid’s Ironic Gaze: Voyeurism, Rape, and Male Desire in Cavalli’s La Calisto” (Ashgate, 2015) and “‘Il favore degli dei’ (1690): Meta-Opera and Metamorphoses at the Farnese Court” (Brill, 2016). She is currently completing a book entitled Animating Ovid: Opera and the Metamorphoses of Antiquity in Early Modern Italy.
Heller’s work for students and general readers includes Music in the Baroque and its companion volume Anthology of Music in the Baroque, part of the innovative new series Western Music in Context: A Norton History (W. W. Norton, 2013). Heller’s study of the Bach’s Magnificat (“‘Aus eigener Erfahrung redet’: Bach, Luther, and Mary’s Voice in the Magnificat, BWV 243″) appeared last year in Understanding Bach. Her recently published essay on nineteenth century melodrama, ‘A Tale Founded Upon the Facts:’ The Exiles in Britain and America,” is included in the volume Staging History: Historical Drama in Britain and America, 1780–1860, co-edited by Heller with Michael Burden, Jonathan Hicks, and Ellen Lockhart. Published in conjunction with an exhibit at the Bodleian Library, the book was the culmination of a multi-year Oxford-Princeton collaborative grant directed by Heller and Burden.
Heller has earned numerous fellowships and prizes from such organizations as the ACLS, the Mellon Foundation, and the Gladys Krieble Delmas Foundation. Winner of the Rome Prize, Heller has also been a been a Mellon Fellow at the Society of Fellows at Columbia University, an appointee at the Villa I Tatti Harvard University Center for Renaissance Studies (as winner of the Frederick Burkhardt Fellowship for Recently Tenured Scholars), and was also the Sylvan C. and Pamela Coleman Fellow at the Metropolitan Museum of Art. She spent the 2014-15 academic year as an Old Dominion Fellow with the Council of the Humanities at Princeton University, and was recently named the Scheide Professor of Music History.
Having trained as a singer at New England Conservatory before receiving her PhD in musicology from Brandeis University, Heller maintains a strong interest in performance, promoting collaborations between scholars and performer. She has been a driving force in the baroque operas at Princeton, and served as dramaturg for Princeton University Opera Theater’s 2014 production Monteverdi’s L’incoronazione di Poppea. Heller is also a member of the editorial board for Francesco Cavalli’s Opere (Bärenreiter); her edition of Cavalli’s Veremonda L’Amazzone di Aragona (1652), to be published in 2017, was produced at the 2016 Schwetzingen Festival, for which she also served as a consultant. She is also completing a edition of Handel’s Admeto for Bärenreiter. Known for her engaging lecture style, Heller has spoken for such organizations as Mostly Mozart at Lincoln Center, Boston Early Music Festival, Utrecht Early Music Festival, Portland Art Museum (Oregon), and the Drottningholm Palace Theater in Stockholm.
Heller is currently the Vice-President of the Society for Seventeenth-Century Music, and serves on the editorial boards for the Journal of Musicology, Cambridge Opera Journal, Journal of Music Pedagogy, The Operas of Cavalli (Bärenreiter), the Board of the American Handel Society, and is a member of the Venetian Advisory Board for the Gladys Krieble Delmas Foundation.