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Portrait of a Castrato
Politics, Patronage, and Music in the Life of Atto Melani

$34.99 (Z)

Part of New Perspectives in Music History and Criticism

  • Publication planned for: May 2014
  • availability: Manufactured on demand: supplied direct from the printer
  • format: Paperback
  • isbn: 9781107696105

$34.99 (Z)
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About the Authors
  • This book explores the fascinating life of the most documented musician of the seventeenth century. Born in 1626 into a bourgeois family in Pistoia, Italy, Atto Melani was castrated to preserve his singing voice and soon rose to both artistic and social prominence. His extant letters not only depict the musical activities of several European centers, they reveal the real-life context of music and the musician: how a singer related to patrons and colleagues, what he thought about his profession, and the role music played in his life. Whether Atto was singing, spying, having sex, composing, or even rejecting his art, his life illustrates how music-making was always also a negotiation for power. Providing a rare glimpse of the social and political contexts of seventeenth-century music, Roger Freitas sheds light on the mechanisms that generated meaning for music, clarifying what music at this time actually was.

    • Presents many new documents concerning music and the lives of musicians during the seventeenth century, providing a fresh view on this period
    • Considers the under-studied genre of the Italian chamber cantata in new ways which will provoke new research and work on the topic
    • Takes a novel approach to the genre of the biography
    Read more

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    Product details

    • Publication planned for: May 2014
    • format: Paperback
    • isbn: 9781107696105
    • length: 452 pages
    • dimensions: 254 x 178 x 23 mm
    • weight: 0.78kg
    • availability: Manufactured on demand: supplied direct from the printer
  • Table of Contents

    Introduction
    1. Creating a castrato
    2. The politics of patronage:
    1638–53
    3. In pursuit of prestige:
    1653–5
    4. The sexuality of the castrato
    5. Disgrace and transformation:
    1656–71
    6. Atto Melani and the cantata
    7. Completing the portrait:
    1671–1714
    Appendices: A. The letters of Atto Melani
    B. Letters addressed to or concerning Atto Melani
    C. Satires: Sopra Atto Melani musico and Al Signor Atto Melani
    D. Excerpt from the Receuil des défenses of Nicolas Fouquet
    E. Biographical sketch from Tommaso Trenta's Memorie
    F. The cantata texts of Atto Melani, with analyses and translations
    G. The Wills: For Italy
    For France
    H. The cabinet in the 'Salotto dell'Abbate Melani', from the inventory of 1782.

  • general resources

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    Group Section Name Type Size Sort Order filter vars
    General ResourcesReferences   Chapter 1htm30KB0references    general resources references    general resourcesreferences   
    General ResourcesReferences   Chapter 2htm78KB1references    general resources references    general resourcesreferences   
    General ResourcesReferences   Chapter 6htm51KB2references    general resources references    general resourcesreferences   
    General ResourcesReferences   Chapter 5htm99KB3references    general resources references    general resourcesreferences   
    General ResourcesReferences   Chapter 3htm73KB4references    general resources references    general resourcesreferences   
    General ResourcesReferences   Chapter 4htm48KB5references    general resources references    general resourcesreferences   
    General ResourcesReferences   Chapter 7htm63KB6references    general resources references    general resourcesreferences   
    General ResourcesReferences   Introductionhtm24KB7references    general resources references    general resourcesreferences   

    These resources are provided free of charge by Cambridge University Press with permission of the author of the corresponding work, but are subject to copyright. You are permitted to view, print and download these resources for your own personal use only, provided any copyright lines on the resources are not removed or altered in any way. Any other use, including but not limited to distribution of the resources in modified form, or via electronic or other media, is strictly prohibited unless you have permission from the author of the corresponding work and provided you give appropriate acknowledgement of the source.

    If you are having problems accessing these resources please email cflack@cambridge.org

  • Author

    Roger Freitas, Eastman School of Music, University of Rochester, New York
    Roger Freitas is Associate Professor in the Department of Musicology, Eastman School of Music, University of Rochester.

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