Orpheus in the Academy : Monteverdi's First Opera and the Accademia degli Invaghiti book cover
1st Edition

Orpheus in the Academy
Monteverdi's First Opera and the Accademia degli Invaghiti

ISBN 9780367465964
Published September 3, 2021 by Routledge
256 Pages 76 B/W Illustrations

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Book Description

This book introduces a new perspective on Claudio Monteverdi's Orfeo (1607), a work widely regarded as the 'first great opera', by exploring the influence of the Mantuan Accademia deglia Invaghiti, the group which hosted the opera’s performance, and to which the libretto author, Alessandro Striggio the Younger, belonged. Arguing that the Invaghiti played a key role in shaping the development of Orfeo, the author explores the philosophical underpinnings of the Invaghiti and Italian academies of the era. Drawing on new primary sources, he shows how the Invaghiti’s ideas about literature, dramaturgy, music, gender, and aesthetics were engaged and contested in the creation and staging of Orfeo. Relevant to researchers of music history, performance, and Renaissance and Baroque Italy, this study sheds new light on Monteverdi’s opera as an intellectual and philosophical work.

Table of Contents

Introduction: "The Invaghiti Orfeo"

Chapter 1: The World of the Italian Academies

Chapter 2: The Invaghiti’s Literary Theater

Chapter 3: Musical Virtuosity and the Orphic Ideal

Chapter 4: Oratory and Noble Virtù

Chapter 5: Patriarchal Guidance, Gendered Educational Privilege

Chapter 6: The Mystical Architecture of Orfeo

Envoi: Orpheus’s Exit from the Academy

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Joel Schwindt is Assistant Professor of Core Studies (Music History), Boston Conservatory at Berklee. He holds a PhD in Musicology from Brandeis University.


"Schwindt‘s fascinating account is a highlight in the vast scholarship on Monteverdi’s Orfeo. The musical analysis is compelling and readers will be drawn to the rich literary and cultural tapestry embedded in this innovative study."

Susan Lewis, co-author of Claudio Monteverdi: A Research and Information Guide