• 1928 — 2017
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Italian conductor and musicologist Alberto Zedda is widely recognized as one of the world's most prominent authorities on the operas of Gioachino Rossini. Zedda was educated at Milan Conservatory, studying conducting with Carlo Maria Giulini and Alceo Galleria. Zedda made his debut in 1956, leading the Polytechnic chamber group of Milan. After a few years spent teaching at the Cincinnati College of Music, Zedda began his international concert career in earnest, holding posts at the Deutsche Oper in Berlin and the New York City Opera, among other places; he made his Covent Garden debut in 1975.
In 1969, Zedda published the first-ever critical edition of Rossini's Il barbière di Siviglia, and since then he has been personally responsible for at least three more (La cenerentola, La gazza ladra, and Semiramide, co-edited by Philip Gossett). At the time when Zedda brought out Il barbière, most conductors did not see the need for a comparative text for such a work, of which the well-worn, standard editions were common and plentiful. Zedda helped make the case that the work of Rossini needed editorial assistance to the same degree as older composers such as Handel and J.S. Bach. Zedda has also proved instrumental in reviving lesser-known operas of Rossini, and at one time or another has either mounted productions of, edited, recorded, or presented workshops on nearly all of them. In 2000, Zedda was named honorary president of the Deutsche Rossini Gesellschaft. Although his work on behalf of Rossini remains widely appreciated, Zedda's handling of early opera composers has drawn criticism, particularly as he eschews period instruments and prefers to devise modern orchestrations for seventeenth century operas.