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Philip Gossett is one of the world's foremost experts on opera. A music historian, Gossett specializes in 19th-century Italian opera, specifically the works of Rossini, Bellini, Donizetti and Verdi. Author of two books on Donizetti and of the recent Divas and Scholars: Performing Italian Opera (University of Chicago Press, 2006), Gossett serves as general editor of The Works of Giuseppe Verdi and ofThe Critical Edition of the Works of Gioachino Rossini.

Among the operas he himself has edited or co-edited are Rossini's Tancredi, Ermione and Semiramide. He is currently working on Verdi's La forza del Destino. In 1998 the Italian government awarded him its highest civilian honor, Cavaliere di Gran Croce. He most recently won the Mellon Distinguished Achievement Award, an honor that carries with it a prize of $1.5 million. Early in 2004, Newsday wrote of Gossett that "some encomiasts claim that soprano Maria Callas did as much for Italian opera as Toscanini or Verdi. Musicologist Philip Gossett arguably has done as much for Italian opera as any of those geniuses."