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Hilary Poriss

Photo by Alyssa Stone/Northeastern University
Photo by Alyssa Stone/Northeastern University

Hilary Poriss’ primary research interests are in the areas of 19th-century Italian and French opera, performance practice, diva culture, and the aesthetics of 19th-century musical culture. She has published four books: Gioacchino Rossini’s The Barber of Seville (Oxford University Press), Changing the Score: Arias, Prima Donnas, and the Authority of Performance (Oxford University Press), Fashions and Legacies of Nineteenth-Century Italian Opera (Cambridge University Press), and of The Arts of the Prima Donna in the Long Nineteenth Century (Oxford University Press). Her newest book project, a biography about the nineteenth-century diva Pauline Viardot (1821-1910), will be published by the University of Chicago Press.

Poriss’ articles and reviews have appeared in Music & Letters, Journal of Musicology, 19th-Century MusicCambridge Opera JournalNineteenth-Century Music ReviewVerdi ForumJournal of British Studies, and other musicological books and journals. She has held fellowships from the American Academy in Rome, the Franke Institute for the Humanities, Columbia University Society of Fellows in the Humanities, the American Association of University Women, the Gladys Kriebel Delmas Foundation, and the American Council of Learned Societies. She frequently presents her work in scholarly and public venues. Upcoming appearances include a residency at the Palm Beach Opera and a presentation in the “Thinking about Music” series at the College-Conservatory of Music, University of Cincinnati. Her article, “A Queen of 19th-Century Opera Gets New Attention,” was published by the New York Times.

At Northeastern, Poriss teaches a variety of courses including Music in Everyday Life, Songs that Made History, and DJs, Divas, and Double Standards. She has taught previously at the University of Cincinnati, the University of Chicago, and Columbia University.




  • M.A. and Ph.D. in music history from the University of Chicago
  • B.A. from Bates College

Research Focus

  • 19th-century Italian and French opera
  • performance practice
  • diva culture
  • aesthetics of 19th-century musical culture

Research/Publications Highlights

Author of Changing the Score: Arias, Prima Donnas, and the Authority of Performance (Oxford University Press, 2009)