Candida Mantica

Candida Mantica is a Marie Skłodowska-Curie Postdoctoral Fellow at the University of Southampton, and the Managing Editor of the Edizione Critica delle Opere di Vincenzo Bellini (Casa Ricordi). She earned her Bachelor’s and Master’s degrees in Musicology from the University of Pavia/Cremona and went on to receive her PhD in Music from the University of Southampton (2013), within the FICTOS (Franco-Italian Cultural Transfer Opera and Song, 1800-1850) project, funded by the Arts and Humanities Research Council. From 2014 to 2016, she served as Research Fellow at the Goethe University (Frankfurt), within the OPERA project, and from 2016 to 2018, she was an Irish Research Council Postdoctoral Fellow at Maynooth University. The first-ever edition of Donizetti’s L’Ange de Nisida that she completed for Opera Rara led to the opera’s world premiere (London, Royal Opera House, 18 July 2018). Candida has recently finalised the critical edition of Verdi’s Macbeth in French for The Works of Giuseppe Verdi (Casa Ricordi, University of Chicago Press), which will premiere at the next Festival Verdi (Parma).

First of all, I want to thank you, dear Candida, for the opportunity that you offered us: due to your important work, we will be able to attend an historical event, the performance of the 1865 French version of Verdi’s Macbeth! It’s a pleasure to talk to you and I am very curious on many aspects of your development as a Musicologist. When did your love music start, for opera especially, of course, and then… why Musicology? I grew up literally surrounded by jazz music, which my father used to love and to listen to night and day from his ‘vinyls room’, next to my bedroom. I cannot even imagine my life without music. My curiosity towards opera started when I was at school, as my music teacher showed us a video of – unsurprisingly! – La traviata. It was temporarily set aside, but it resurfaced when I was admitted to the Conservatorio of my home town, where I studied voice. While falling in love with Italian opera, I became more and more fascinated by all theoretical subjects, including music history, literature, harmony, etc., which led me – after my diploma in voice – to the Department of Musicology, in Cremona. My passion for research has its roots in Cremona.

So this is where you discovered also your passion for less-known or even unknown opera masterpieces… In Cremona, I specialized in philology and textual studies applied to opera. I loved the unique way this approach allows you to get in contact with the composers’ creative process, to follow their thoughts, and to get to know the core of their works. I consider myself lucky for having had the opportunity to work on rare operas, right since my PhD at the University of Southampton, and –in the case of L’ange de Nisida – to allow it to be finally performed for the first time. It obviously involves long-lasting, solitary research, but at the end of the process, the result of that research can reach the performers (with whom we often collaborate and without whom our work would lose meaning) and, through them, the audience. The next academic year I will be completing my Marie Skłodowska-Curie Fellowship at the University of Southampton but at the moment, with the current sanitary crisis, it is premature to make plans for the future. Although I cannot foresee their features, I will certainly look for new research opportunities.

Read the entire interview here.

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