1st Edition

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

By Joel Schwindt Copyright 2022
    256 Pages 76 B/W Illustrations
    by Routledge

    256 Pages 76 B/W Illustrations
    by Routledge

    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.

    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


    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