José Antonio Montaño has joined the research team of the Didone Project, a research project at the Complutense Institute of Musical Sciences (ICCMU) at the Complutense University of Madrid.

His work on this project strengthens his profile as researcher, a role he has played throughout his career as a conductor as he has recovered and performed various historical musical scores, particularly of the 18th Century. Among them are the previously unpublished arias of Vicente Martín y Soler, the Requiem of José de Nebra, which he recently recorded with his period instrument orchestra La Madrileña, and the opera Fantochines by Conrado del Campo. Each of these works serves as a fine example of his important musicological contributions in both sacred and operatic repertoire.

The Didone Project, financed by the European Research Council, has as its main objective the creation of a corpus of 4,000 digitized arias from 200 opera scores based on Metastasio‘s eight most popular dramas. These arias will be analyzed using a mixture of traditional methods and big data computer technology. A comparative analysis of dozens of different musical settings of identical libretos will reveal how different composers correlate specific dramatic circumstances and emotions with a variety of poetic and musical features. The results will be applicable to three main areas: (1) opera performance, (2) analysis and interpretation of other types of music; and (iii) composition in several scenarios, from film soundtracks to creation by Artificial Intelligence.

An opera festival will be designed to recover and disseminate this previously ignored repertoire so essential to the definition of the European musical identity.

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