The theater of piety: sacred operas for the Barberini family (Rome, 1632-1643) Public Deposited

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  • March 22, 2019
  • Lamothe, Virginia Christy
    • Affiliation: College of Arts and Sciences, Department of Music
  • In a time of religious war, plague, and reformation, Pope Urban VIII and his cardinal-nephews Antonio and Francesco Barberini sought to establish the authority of the Catholic Church by inspiring audiences of Rome with visions of the heroic deeds of saints. One way in which they did this was by commissioning operas based on the lives of saints from the poet Giulio Rospigliosi (later Pope Clement IX), and papal musicians Stefano Landi and Virgilio Mazzocchi. Aside from the merit of providing an in-depth look at four of these little-known works, Sant'Alessio (1632, 1634), Santi Didimo e Teodora (1635), San Bonifatio (1638), and Sant'Eustachio (1643), this dissertation also discusses how these operas reveal changing ideas of faith, civic pride, death and salvation, education, and the role of women during the first half of the seventeenth century. The analysis of the music and the drama stems from studies of the surviving manuscript scores, libretti, payment records and letters about the first performances. This dissertation also provides a discussion of the religious culture in which these operas took place by examining other contemporary primary sources such as sermons, histories of saints' lives, spiritual exercises, Jesuit school plays, books of manners and social decorum, and accounts of festivals held in Rome during the papacy of Pope Urban VIII.
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  • Carter, Tim
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  • University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill
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