Wendy Heller will teach in the Program in Humanistic Studies during the 2021–2022 academic year. She specializes in the music of the seventeenth and early eighteenth centuries, with emphasis on the study of opera from interdisciplinary perspectives, particularly gender and sexuality, dance, art history, and the classical tradition.
Author of the award-winning Emblems of Eloquence: Opera and Women’s Voices in Seventeenth-Century Venice, the first major study of gender and sexuality in Italian baroque opera, Heller has earned numerous fellowships and prizes from such organizations as the ACLS, the Mellon Foundation, the NEH, and the Gladys Krieble Delams Foundation. Winner of the Rome Prize in Post-Classical Humanist Studies, Heller has also been a Mellon Fellow at the Society of Fellows at Columbia University, a Visiting Fellow at New College, Oxford, 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 the Sylvan C. and Pamela Coleman Fellow at the Metropolitan Museum of Art. In 2014, the Humanities Council appointed her an Old Dominion Professor.
Trained as a singer at New England Conservatory before receiving her PhD in musicology at Brandeis University, Heller harnesses her extensive performing experience in her scholarship, and has been a driving force behind the production of baroque operas at Princeton. Her other research interests include women and music, Jewish music, performance studies, and the history of opera from its inception to the present day.
Heller is also the author of Music in the Baroque and its companion volume Anthology of Music in the Baroque (W. W. Norton, 2013), which treat music of the seventeenth and early eighteenth-centuries in terms of its cultural and social context. She is currently completing a book entitled Animating Ovid: Opera and the Metamorphoses of Antiquity in Early Modern Italy and critical editions of Handel’s Admeto and Francesco Cavalli’s Veremonda Amazzone d’Aragona. Recent graduate seminars in musicology at Princeton include “Monteverdi’s L’incoronazione di Poppea”; “Handel’s London”; and “Editing Opera from Cavalli to Puccini (taught with Ellen Lockhart).