Mid-Seventeenth-Century Italian Opera Performance(s) in Count Auersperg's Palace – a Few Additions to the Slovenian Music Historiography
AbstractThe earliest historically documented operatic performance in Ljubljana was an Italian opera, staged in 1660 at a garden-party organised by Count Wolfgang Engelbert Auersperg for the Emperor Leopold I, during his state visit to his hereditary duchy of Carniola. The event was shortly recorded by Lorenzo de Churelichz (1661), as Comedia Italiana in Musica, and by Johann Weichard Valvasor (1689), as eine Italiänische Comödie. The staging of an Italian opera in Ljubljana at this relatively early date does not come as a surprise, especially in view of the geographical proximity of Venice and considering the close ties of the family Auersperg with the Habsburg court in Vienna and the interest they were showing for Italian culture in general. In his private library in Ljubljana Count W. E. Auersperg also kept a number of early Italian opera libretti, such as La gara of 1652, Le vicende del tempo of 1652, L'Argia of 1655 etc. This fact encouraged some researchers to assume that these operas were actually performed in Auersperg's palace. The article brings chronologically organised history of research into this subject, beginning with the short remarks by the historians in the second half of the 19th century, contributions by music and theatre historians up to the World War II, and new discoveries and conclusions of musicologists after 1958. In the present state of our knowledge it is possible to conclude that the operas of 1652 and 1655 were not performed in Ljubljana. As for the performance of the Italian opera in 1660 it seems plausible to assume that it was an opera following examples of contemporary Venetian models, if it was not actually one of the then Venetian operas itself, imported for the special occasion by the said Count Auersperg. However, for the lack of further corroborative evidence, this must remain only an inviting hypothesis.
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