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Muses: Women Composer-Performers - Isabella d’Este with Kate Bolton-Porciatti
From the lyric poet, Sappho, and the hetairai of Greek Antiquity, women through ancient history have written and performed music and poetry, often in defiance of convention. Women performers have been seen in a variety of ways: as divine muses or dangerous seductresses who, like the Sirens, could lure men to an ill-fated end. Many women musicians were also poets and artists whose poetry and self-portraits shed light on their musical talents.
The Tenth Muse: Isabella d’Este and Music
Often referred to in her day as 'the tenth Muse', Isabella d’Este orchestrated Mantua’s cultural life, using music and objets d’art to fashion her self-image as a highly sophisticated intellectual. In the decoration of her private rooms, the 'studiolo' and 'grotta', she surrounded herself with musical images and metaphors; she was an adroit instrumentalist, singer and dancer, and an important patron of composers and performers, including – unusually - professional female singers at court.
Led by an expert on Italian music and culture, Kate Bolton-Porciatti, this Conversation sheds light on Isabella’s role in creating at Mantua one of the most refined musical centres of Renaissance Italy. Designed to inform curiosity as well as future travels, participants will come away with an increased appreciation of 'the tenth Muse' and her world.
Kate Bolton-Porciatti is a professor of Italian cultural history and music at the Istituto Lorenzo de'Medici in Florence, where she teaches BA and MA courses in the humanities. She also lectures at the British Institute, Florence, and at the Chigiana Music Academy in Siena. Kate has published extensively as an academic and a journalist; she is a music critic for BBC Music and a travel writer for The Daily Telegraph, UK. Before moving to Italy permanently in 2005, she was a senior producer and broadcaster for BBC Arts & Classical Music in London and has won prestigious Jerusalem and Sony Awards for her programs. She did her M.Phil. thesis in Italy, exploring the musical culture of early Renaissance Florence.
This conversation is suitable for all ages.
90 minutes, including a 30 minute Q&A.