The circulation, professionalization and agency of singers under the patronage of the Colonna family (1659-1750)

Valeria de Lucca

My project considers the ways in which the patronage of music of the Colonna family fostered the circulation not only of singers but also of scores and librettos between the mid-seventeenth and early eighteenth centuries, creating new networks for the exchange of operatic models in the Italian peninsula and Europe. Based on the rich documentation on musical patronage held in the Colonna Archive, and particularly correspondence, I examine the activities of several members of the family in support of the most renowned singers of their time over a century-long trajectory. This was a crucial time not only for the articulation of the dichotomy between court and public theaters, but also for the development of the institution of patronage itself. In this context, my study reveals singers as some of the main agents for the circulation of operatic repertoire and models, while also considering the role of their increasing professionalization on the operatic marketplace. Ultimately, my project will reframe the importance that Rome had for early modern operatic production, which has too often been obscured by the more visible activities of Venice and later Naples.