Laura Biggs

Contributing Writer

Biggs Laura was born and raised in England, where she received a BA Hons (2005) and MPhil (2006) in Music from St. John's College, University of Cambridge. While at Cambridge she first focused on Italian opera. Her undergraduate thesis on Puccini's Manon Lescaut, written under the guidance of her supervisor, Roger Parker, was published as "Manon's Choice" in Opera Quarterly (2009).

Since 2006 Laura has been a PhD student at the University of California, Berkeley. Her dissertation, "Musical Materialities in Milan, 1871-1882" draws on archive documents from Milan's Teatro alla Scala, and reviews and articles in contemporary periodicals to understand how Scala's identity morphed across the 1870s. She focusses on a series of institutional changes, including the establishment of a permanent conducting post and incautious investment in stage technologies, to understand what Scala meant for Milan in the early years of Liberal Italy. Her dissertation is being supervised by Mary Ann Smart.

Laura's graduate study has been generously funded, first by the Arts and Humanities Research Council (UK) and St. John's College, University of Cambridge and then by a five-year award from the University of California, Berkeley.

Like many others, Laura came to music history and criticism through performance. Her teen years were spent in lessons and rehearsals at the Royal College of Music Junior Department; the formative years for her came in her later teens, when she was under the guidance of flautist Raffaele Trevisani as a student in his post-diploma course in Milan (2001-3).