The Power of Affections: An International Conference

The Power of Affections: Poetry, Music, and Spectacle in Seventeenth-Century Italian Opera Librettos

Philadelphia, 13-14 November 2014


An international conference organized by the Center for Italian Studies and the Music Department of the University of Pennsylvania in collaboration with the Institute for Music of the Fondazione Giorgio Cini in Venice, Italy.

[event image]Today, scholars from various disciplines fully recognize the great cultural value of seventeenth century opera librettos and their extraordinary effectiveness in working as a conduit for music and spectacle, contradicting Giovan Mario Crescimbeni's 1700 claim that librettos like Giacinto Andrea Cicognini's Giasone (music by Cavalli) were emblematic of the decline of Italian poetry and of the diminishing power of affections (la forza degli affetti).  The conference will situate these works in relation both to contemporaneous European literatures and to the musical settings and productions for which librettos provide the indispensable launching platform. Another focus will be the lives, careers, and roles of individual librettists, as participating in larger networks of production, circulation and consumption involving patrons, impresarios, composers, set designers, and other agents involved in the business of opera.

Plenary speakers will include Guillaume Bernardi, Mauro Calcagno, Anne-Madeleine Goulet, Carlo Lanfossi, Barbara Nestola, Sara Elisa Stangalino, Giada Viviani, and other scholars.

"The Power of Affections: Vocal Music from Seventeenth-Century Italy", a concert of seventeenth-century arias by renowned soprano Julianne Baird,, will open the conference November 12, 7:30pm. 

Music by Francesco Cavalli, Claudio Monteverdi, Stefano Landi and Luigi Rossi will be played by Rebecca Harris and Mandy Wolman, violins; Richard Stone, chitarrone; Rebecca Cypess, clavicytherium and harpsichord; Christa Patton, harp.

The event is free and open to the public but we ask that you kindly rsvp by email to Marina Johnston to reserve a seat.

Organizing Committee: Fabio Finotti, Mauro Calcagno, Carlo Lanfossi, Marina Della Putta Johnston.

This event is made possible in part by a grant from the Mellon Cross-Cultural Conference Grant Program.

The conference is part of the project The Sung Word between Venice and Paris devoted to the performance of seventeenth-century opera in Italy and France sponsored by the Department of Music at the University of Pennsylvania (Mauro Calcagno), the Drama Studies Program at York University (Guillaume Bernardi), the Centre de Musique Baroque de Versailles, France (Anne-Madeleine Goulet and Barbara Nestola), and the Institute for Music of the Fondazione Giorgio Cini in Venice, Italy (Gianmario Borio and Giada Viviani).


Concert Program - click here or proceed to the end of the page to download the pdf.

Full Conference Program - click here or proceed to the end of the page to download the pdf.


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Things to do / Cosa fare a Philadelphia

12 November 2014 - 14 November 2014
(All day)
Class of 1978 Pavilion, Kislak Center of Van Pelt Library, 6th floor - 3420 Walnut St.
ProgrammaAffetti finale.pdf103.1 KB
Affections concert program.pdf127.71 KB