Manchester, 14th-18th July 2004


Beth L. Glixon (University of Kentucky, USA)

Violence, persuasion, and influence: Vettor Grimani Calergi as consumer and patron of opera

Vettor Grimani Calergi (1610-1665), one of the most infamous and colorful Venetians of the seventeenth century, was also one of the most influential patrons of opera of the time.  A cousin of Giovanni Grimani, proprietor of the Teatro SS. Giovanni e Paolo, Grimani Calergi (a secular abbot) was drawn both to singers and to opera production.  Although scholars such as PruniŤres, Bianconi, and Walker have mentioned Grimani Calergi briefly (especially concerning the late 1640s and early 1650s), the depth of his musical patronage and activities has never been fully appreciated.  A portrait of this nobleman can be drawn from a variety of sources, including opera librettos, ambassadorsí reports, notarial acts, criminal records, and his own letters. Grimani Calergiís passion for the arts drew him to musicians such as the infamous Anna Maria Sardelli and Antonio Cesti; his friendships with the Duke of Mantua, the Archduke of Austria, and Mattias deí Medici aided him in the recruiting of singers for opera, and in the procurement of scores.

Grimani Calergiís influence on the operatic scene is most evident during the seasons of 1663, 1664, and 1665, when he was active at two theaters, S. Luca and SS. Giovanni e Paolo; in those years he was able to achieve success with the introduction of a spectacular new singer, Giulia Masotti.  I will show how the abbot, through his love of opera, added to the musical reputation of a city more accustomed to his violent tendencies and behaviors.

Last updated on 10 May 2004