Color photograph of the head and shoulders of Eugenio Refini standing in an outdoor courtyard with a church or university building behind him

Eugenio Refini

National Endowment for the Humanities Rome Prize
September 6, 2021–July 22, 2022
Associate Professor, Department of Italian Studies, New York University
Project title
Ariadne’s Echo: Voice, Memory, and the Performance of Reception
Project description

My book project studies the reception of the classical archetype of Ariadne’s lament across poetry and music from its early modern revival around 1600 to the decades around 1900, when the rediscovery of early music intersected concurrent work on the classical tradition. Through its transhistorical approach, my project aims to demonstrate that the fluid performativity of the lament enabled reflection on the mechanisms of reception, while also challenging poetical and musical structures as well as normative narratives about vocal expression. The fellowship will allow me to finish the section of my book that focus on the diffraction of Ariadne’s voice in seventeenth- and eighteenth-century secular monody, particularly in the baroque cantata, which had in Rome its leading center. The study of manuscript Roman cantatas, which can only be conducted in situ, is essential to the assessment of the lament’s versatility across genres, forms, and contexts that is at the core of my project.