1642611A Dictionary of Music and Musicians — MantuaCatherine Mary Phillimore


MANTUA. The earliest Academy in Mantua for poetry and music was that of the 'Invaghiti,' founded in 1560 by Cesare Gonzaga, Duke of Mantua, and Signore di Guastalla. It always remained under royal patronage, and was one of the largest and most flourishing in Italy. In 1494, previous to the founding of this Academy, there was a magnificent theatre in Mantua, in which was represented one of the earliest Italian dramas—the 'Orfeo' of Angelo Poliziano. This pastorale was composed in two days at the instance of Francesco Gonzaga, Duke of Mantua. In the seventeenth century, says Muratori, music, and more especially theatrical music, was held in high esteem; the attention of every one was directed to gorgeous musical entertainments, and more especially the courts of Modena and Mantua tried to outshine each other in magnificence. Their respective Dukes, Ferdinando Gonzaga and Francesco d'Este, vied in obtaining the best musicians and most highly prized singers for their court. It was the custom to pay a sum of not less than 300 scudi to the best actors, and there was no stint of expenditure on orchestra, costumes, or scenery and lighting. (Annali d'ltalia, 1690.)