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Journal of Seventeenth-Century Music

Journal of Seventeenth-Century Music

Volume 9 (2003) No. 1

Before and After: Ottavio Rinuccini’s Mascherate and Their Relationship to the Operatic Libretto

Francesca Chiarelli*


Ottavio Rinuccini is always associated with early opera, and even if most of his libretti are known and appreciated, little space is given to his literary and theatrical texts. However, Rinuccini’s first appearance was in the 1570s as the author of texts for courtly entertainment. Mascherate, balli and intermedi are his first steps on the music stage and lay the foundation for his involvement in opera. This article analyses these texts and traces formal and stylistic exchanges while trying to understand the strength and limits of Rinuccini’s poetic style when associated with the different music genres of balli, mascherate and operas.

1.  Ottavio Rinuccini in Contemporary Criticism of Opera

2.  Rinuccini’s Mascherate before Euridice

3.  After Arianna: The 1608 Per maschere ad una veglia and the Mascherata di ninfe di Senna

4.  Considerations of the post-1608 Mascherate

5.  Conclusions



1. Ottavio Rinuccini in Contemporary Criticism of Opera

1.1 Ottavio Rinuccini (1562–1621), poet at the Medici court and author of the first opera libretti, has always held a special place in the literary criticism of opera. And had it not been for opera, his name would have lived only within the limited boundaries set aside for minor literary figures. Opera, however, has imposed limitations on the portion of Rinuccini’s literary output destined to come under the investigation of modern criticism, and if almost all his libretti are known and appreciated, his poetry and his other theatrical texts (see Appendix 1) have been greatly overlooked. The early 1900s saw the publication of two monographic studies of Rinuccini, both of which now offer little help to Rinuccini’s cause, since the main focus of the investigation is his biography, and his literary production is more often than not used to fill in documentary gaps.1 Still nowadays, the attention received by Rinuccini’s output has been limited to musicological research, and when attention has been given to his lyric poetry, this has been to better explain the poetic choices of the composer who set his poems to music.2

1.2 Such an analysis of Rinuccini’s libretti and his lyric poetry has provided an image of Rinuccini as a gifted poet with a refined style recognized as the ideal companion to vocal music destined for the camera or the stage. And it is certainly true that his libretti can live their own literary lives even in the absence of scores, Arianna being a case in point. All Rinuccini’s libretti, with the sole exception of Narciso,3 achieve a linearity of plot and a variety of affetti which, together with his harmonious poetic style, make for enjoyable reading. As a poet, Rinuccini adopts traditional models derived from Petrarch and from Bembo’s codification thereof,4 but also turns toward contemporary authors such as the Mannerist Gabriele Fiamma5 and Torquato Tasso,6 as well as contributing to lyric genres conceived to be sung and staged. The harmonious flow of the syntax into the metric frame; the ordering of words that preserves their logical function; the sense of musicality that permeates his verse are all proof of Rinuccini’s craftsmanship, if not of true poetry.

1.3 In this general interest in the poet Rinuccini, his texts for courtly entertainments still remain absent from critical studies. Balli and mascherate, however, were his first steps on theatrical ground, and they provide us with material to help trace the interaction between non-operatic poetry and the libretto. If the texts written for the famous 1589 intermedi have been fully analyzed from every perspective, the mascherate have been left completely out of any investigation. However, in order to sketch a reasonable approximation of Rinuccini’s true image as a literary figure, this output needs a proper evaluation, especially if one considers that, from a chronological point of view, opera was but an intermedio in Rinuccini’s career as a poeta cortigiano.7

2.  Rinuccini’s Mascherate before Euridice

2.1 Rinuccini’s first known public appearance was as the author of a mascherata performed before the 1579 wedding festivities. Entitled Maschere d’Amazzoni, this mascherata is a piece in ottava rima. We can find a similar piece about a decade later: in 1590, the Maschere di bergiere, again in ottava rima, was performed for Christine of Lorraine, and, according to Solerti, its stanze were sung by Giulio Caccini’s wife Lucia. The singing was followed by a ballo. In 1596 another mascherata cum ballo, the Mascherata di stelle, was staged during Carnival at Palazzo Pitti: this time we do not know who was involved in singing, but the dancer was no less than Maria de’ Medici.

2.2 All the texts for courtly entertainment written by Rinuccini between 1579 and 1600, with the exception of the 1589 intermedi and the Mascherata degli accecati, are mascherate in ottava rima, and they are mainly concerned with literary or poetic topoi. The 1589 intermedi have been amply discussed from various perspectives, and nothing could be added of any relevance in the present context. Only one observation is necessary: although these intermedi can be connected to the aesthetics behind both the Bardi and the Corsi cameratas and, therefore, to the cultural milieu of late-Renaissance Florence, they do not represent the taste in musical entertainment of the Medici court. The Maschere di bergiere, on the other hand, performed in 1590, is quite a typical example of what Rinuccini was commissioned to produce in the genre of courtly entertainment.

2.3 The “plot” of the Maschere di bergiere has a group of French country-girls fleeing their country, now torn apart by war, and coming to Florence to plead for sanctuary. This mascherata is clearly divided into two sections.8 The first (lines 1–48) is a lament addressed to Christine of Lorraine and a call for peace and honor to reign again. Needless to say, this is quite in line with the new direction given by Ferdinando I to Florentine foreign politics, which sees Florence more involved in French affairs, leading to Ferdinando’s key role in bringing peace to France and Henry Navarre to the throne.9 In the second part (lines 49 onwards), the “bergiere” address themselves directly to the men in the audience, in a defense of rustica beltà: this shift is signaled in the text with the assertion that Florence is governed by Love, while France is apparently governed by Mars. And if mascherate of this period are mainly concerned with literary topoi rather than with dramatic or theatrical situations, the Maschere di bergiere is representative in this respect as well, with its last section resembling a puzzle of literary topoi. The praise of humble, natural beauty is presented by way of the pastoral topos, of the contrast between the woods, where natural beauty resides, and the city, home to proud and artificial beauty. Opposition between the humble beauty of the villanelle and the conceited beauty of the dame di corte is also a typical topos of courtly literature. And the passion for make-up, expensive clothes, and jewels had offered an easy target for any satire against Florentine women since Dante.10

2.4 Next to the 1589 intermedi, the other exception to the model of mascherate in ottava rima is the 1595 Mascherata degli accecati, with music by Piero Strozzi, put on stage during Carnival. The inspiration is once again a typical literary topos.11 The accecati are lovers who, in order to escape servitude to their ungrateful beloved ones, have blinded themselves; deprived of sight, their souls can now find again the light of reason. The metric structure is halfway between a canzone and a canzonetta, using endecasillabi and settenari in a manner dissimilar to the canzonetta but with not enough gravitas to be a canzone. The ingrate respond to the accecati using stanzas in endecasillabi and settenari, connected by content but each with a different metric structure. The rhythm is, in this case, closer to the more typical structures of poesia per musica and to the rhythm characteristic of Rinuccini’s libretti. However, it is still hard to find any element of theatricality: the situation has no dynamic, and, once more, representation is replaced by narration.

2.5 In all these texts, the distinction between encomiastic poetry and poetry functional to theatrical entertainment seems completely lost. Courtly entertainment is clearly intended here as a static declamation of poetry, accompanied or followed by music but totally unrelated to it: the use of ottava rima connects these mascherate to the epic genre, but nothing in their form or content would reveal their destination for the stage. They could be simply read as samples of encomiastic poetry,12 which might have been read aloud and followed or interspersed with music. Thus, rather than an unsuccessful attempt to bringing poetry and music together, these mascherate should be read, I think, as specimens of the Florentine court’s taste in musical entertainment.

2.6 In all these texts it is possible to find reasons to praise Rinuccini’s poetic skills: they are well-constructed poetic texts, displaying a sure orientation within the field of poetry and a confident mastery of form and content. It is, however, unclear how these texts could be staged (if at all), what type of theatrical entertainment they could provide, and how these mascherate could be followed by a ballo. Rinuccini’s mastery of ars poetica was already evident from his debut, although his style did improve with practice. But the absence of dramatic development or, indeed, of a dramatic situation makes it impossible to perceive these texts as anything else but encomiastic poetry. Some of them, in fact, found their way into the 1622 edition of Rinuccini’s poetry,13 and within this new context they become indistinguishable from a chain of sonnets written to celebrate Maria for the birth of Louis XIII. The pre-1600 mascherate all display those formal characteristics and skills that will be typical of Rinuccini’s libretti, but no trace seems to have been left in this output of the contemporary experiments in the operatic genre of Dafne, in which the Florentine poet played a key role. This is not so strange, however, if one considers that Dafne was conceived and performed as a private diletto rather than as courtly entertainment.

3.  After Arianna: The 1608 Per maschere ad una veglia and the Mascherata di ninfe di Senna

3.1 Between the late 1590s and 1608—the year of the Florentine and the Mantuan wedding festivities—Rinuccini produced, in terms of theatrical texts, only operatic libretti. In 1608, he came back to texts for courtly entertainment with the Ballo delle ingrate, formally similar to an opera libretto, and two mascherate for the Florentine court. Entitled Per maschere ad una veglia, in one mascherata Ercole praises the future offspring of the royal couple, while in the other Apollo reveals the immortal gods as they descend from the heavens to reside with the royal couple. Venus is among these gods, bringing the golden apple given to her by Paris. And Paris himself is to be once again the judge of a beauty contest. The mascherata concludes with a brief madrigal, in which Paris offers the golden apple to Maria Maddalena. These two texts could be easily placed within the pre-1600 group: both written in ottava rima, they are once again nothing but an example of encomiastic poetry, where the theatrical element is provided only by the possibility of lavish costumes and the descent of pagan deities.

3.2 After a few years of silence, Rinuccini reappears on the Medici stage in 1611 with a Mascherata di ninfe, performed at the Palazzo Pitti during Carnival season. This mascherata, with variations, was staged again in 1613 for the festivities celebrating the wedding of Count Mario Sforza and Arnea of Lorraine, with the title changed into Mascherata di ninfe di Senna.14 Defined in the frontispiece as a ballo, this mascherata is formally similar to the Ballo delle ingrate and to the model of the operatic libretto in general. Nettuno opens it with a sequence of stanzas (four endecasillabi with an ABAB rhyme scheme) clearly in the same tradition as the operatic prologue. Senna explains to Nettuno that she has left France to pay homage to the “Etruschi eroi”— most probably the royal couple rather than the bride and groom. From this to full praise of Ferdinando’s honor and glory is but a small step. The dialogue is concluded by a canzonetta in ottonari (“Movi diva il piè giocondo”), very much in the manner of an operatic scene. After the canzonetta, Senna addresses the royal couple directly and concludes by giving the sign to start the ballo — “ragion è ben che di sì chiari amanti / s’onorin gl’imenei con balli e canti.”15 This last scene with Senna alone is structured, again in ottava rima. From Cesare Tinghi’s diary we understand that after the ballo there was a “grandissima colazione di confetti e confetture nobilissima,” followed by another ballo. Once this last ballo was over, the prospettiva opened up again to what Solerti presents as the second part of the Mascherata di ninfe di Senna. However, to judge from the wording in the Tinghi’s diary, this could actually be an entirely different invenzione.16

3.3 This second invenzione sees Amore fleeing Venere on account of what one might call an ideological disagreement: Venere accuses Amore of being too cruel, while he accuses her of being too much of a simpleton and of not understanding love. As any mortal teenager after a quarrel with parents, Amore intends to hide away from his mother and claims his right to act as he pleases. He seeks sanctuary in the heart of a Passeggiero, who refuses using all the traditional topoi of love poetry.

3.4 At this point, a very strange digression takes place. The prospettiva seems to remain the same, but on stage there is now a boat with two passengers on board. One of them refers to his newly acquired freedom, thanks to a winning battle led by the “Tosco Duce” against the “infedeli.” The narration is concluded with praise for Maria de’ Medici, Queen of France, and the Infant Louis XIII, and with praise for Tuscany and Cosimo II. It is interesting to notice that Tinghi does not spend any time at all on the encomiastic element of this digression—although it celebrates Christian epic values—while he considers it important to note that “uno [dei Passeggieri] pescava a cannetta et pigliava molti pesci vivi che faceva meravigliosa vista.”17

3.5 The digression leads back to the previous invenzione: Venere is looking for Amore, and Proteo suggests that the only place where she is sure to find him is with the royal couple, “là dove il nobil Arno / il sen rinfresca a Flora.” This scene is concluded, once again, by a canzonetta with refrain, possibly danced or followed by a ballo.

4.  Considerations of the post-1608 mascherate

4.1 Between 1611 and 1614 we have another two texts for courtly entertainment: the Comparsa d’eroi celesti, performed during the 1613 Carnival season, and the Mascherata di selvaggi, during the Carnival of the following year. The detailed description of the Mascherata di ninfe di Senna can be used to draw a few conclusions on the status of Rinuccini’s mascherate after 1608.

4.2 Compared to the pre-1600 texts, the mascherata has become a less linear form of entertainment. More characters are involved, and the invenzione is often exploited beyond its reasonable boundaries, for the sole purpose of singing the praises of the Florentine and the French royal families, with the occasional addition of the imperial family as a tribute to Maria Maddalena of Austria. In Comparsa d’eroi celesti, for example, the invenzione sees Pallade leading six “eroi celesti” in a barriera to be fought against the “cavalieri d’Amore” on the banks of Arno, where Love has found refuge. Pallade first clarifies to Alcide that the victory over the “cavalieri d’Amore” will reduce Love’s power over mortals and gods, and then he seeks Vulcano’s help in building shields to protect the warriors. Pallade’s dialogue with Vulcano is but an excuse to present the various warriors, especially of the opposing side, and to exalt their military prowess.

4.3 If less linear, the text of the mascherata is now longer, with more characters; and its metric structure is now more varied: witness the use of endecasillabi and settenari as well as of the canzonetta form. From a structural point of view, in fact, the post-1608 mascherata inherits much from opera. Rinuccini’s libretto offered a suitable structure for dramatic poetry. The alternation between endecasillabi and settenari is ideal for a staged dialogue with lyric connotations—as already proven by Aminta. Quatrains of endecasillabi confer a suitable gravitas on the Prologue without making the stanzas too long, while the canzonetta form provides an ideal conclusion to the act, mirroring the role of the canzone in contemporaneous dramatic genres. All these metric forms, together with the ottava rima, find their way into the post-1608 mascherata, and it seems that operatic experience has given Rinuccini the necessary tools to create a longer dramatic text. But if the text of the mascherata imitates the operatic libretto, the plot is neither richer nor more dynamic than the pre-1600 mascherate. In fact, we can still hardly talk about plot rather than a situation for what seems to remain essentially encomiastic poetry followed by a dance. And if more characters are now on stage for an overall longer period, the absence of drama, which is not really a requirement for this genre, makes it impossible for Rinuccini to recreate the affetti, which were such a significant component of his libretti.

4.4 Though formally related, Rinuccini’s libretti and his texts for mascherate are quite different. Rinuccini’s libretti, and to a certain extent the Ballo delle ingrate, are a balanced mixture of poetry, literary ambitions, and practical requirements. But the balance does not seem to live for long. And if the pre-1600 mascherate offered an example of reasonably skilled poetry, the post-1608 mascherate are even hard to read as texts, and difficult to follow in the development of their invenzione. This formal and stylistic change, though not apparently reflected in Rinuccini’s other poetic output, can be found in full in his last libretto, Narciso, which does not offer enjoyable reading, is not coherent in the development of the plot, and definitely loses sight of practical requirements almost from the very beginning. The difference is that, while Narciso was never set to music, performed in any way, or even published, the post-1608 mascherate enjoyed a fuller life in their time.

5. Conclusions

5.1 In his role as courtly poet and as member of various academic circles, Rinuccini took part in, reflected, and understood the ferments of cultural novelty that swept Florence during the last two decades of the Cinquecento. He was a good and skilled poet, and found a suitable way of translating his lyric idiom to the stage with the libretto. However, he did not seem to have any versatility in finding different ways according to the various dramatic genres—or maybe circumstances did not require him to create this versatility. Literary codification seems to direct his experiments and results. And if this helped him with opera to a certain extent, it was most certainly an obstacle when it came to forms of theatrical entertainment that were even less Aristotelian. After Arianna, his entire theatrical output seems to lose all those formal characteristics that were his strong points. Narciso as well as his texts for courtly entertainments written after 1608 lack that smooth flow, that musicality, that cohesion between form and content which can be found in all its earlier texts—and can still be found in his lyric poems.18 None of his libretti parallels the complexity attempted with Narciso, with its plot expounding the ideal of a life deprived of passions, with nothing to which music can give voice. Narciso denies its generic roots as a melodrama by denying human feelings and dramatic action, which could find their utterance through music. There also remains the fact that Narciso could not be set to music due to a number of practical difficulties.19 It is also virtually unreadable, and it defies the most strenuous of Rinuccini’s scholars to extricate and order its convoluted, almost chaotic threads. The same seems to happen with the texts for courtly entertainments. The Mascherata di ninfe di Senna is an attempt at ennobling the genre, at bringing variety and sprezzatura to the previous monotone model by combining together and giving different dramatic value to the metric form of the ottava rima and to the combination of endecasillabi and settenari. But here again Rinuccini seems to loose his skills, and the text is fragmented, diluted, often inconsequential.

5.2 If one reads Rinuccini’s poetry and his libretti, however, it is easy to believe that he wrote poetry that was ideally suited to musical setting in the classical perspective of the sister arts. This sudden loss of balance between literary aspiration and practical considerations could thus be read as a signal of his frustration at having to limit his endeavors to the short-sighted demands of the Medici court, especially for someone like him, who had no acquaintance with humbleness. Unfortunately there are no documents to help us understand the background of these texts for courtly entertainments.

5.3 This journey through Rinuccini’s texts for courtly entertainments is not intended to reveal an overlooked portion of his output, but rather to underline common traits between these texts and his libretti. Clearly, from a formal point of view, Rinuccini seems to view his libretti as the perfect medium for dramatic poetry to be set to music and performed on stage, not only within the operatic genre. After the operatic intermedio, all mascherate and balli adopted the more fluid model of the libretto—the 1608 texts Per maschere ad una veglia being the only exception. Arianna and the Ballo delle ingrate mark the zenith of Rinuccini’s theatrical texts, and in both cases one can see how the literary model was being improved upon while keeping in sight the practical requirements of the specific genre. From then onward, the equilibrium is broken and never found again. Rinuccini wrote Narciso and, according to Monteverdi, greatly loved it: but Narciso never saw light. We do not have any document to tell us whether he also greatly loved his texts for courtly entertainment, but even a superficial analysis reveals how hard Rinuccini tried to transplant the model of the libretto to his texts for courtly entertainment. Unfortunately, if pre-1600 mascherate do not show an abundance of dramatic qualities, the post-1608 ones are no better, and they seem even weaker as poetic texts. Though Rinuccini remained active until the end of his life, his moment of glory was clearly over with the Mantuan wedding festivities. What will remain in doubt is whether Rinuccini’s post-1608 texts for the stage disclose the limits of his own mastery or of the dramatic genres for which they were conceived.


Appendix 1: A Chronology of Rinuccini’s Texts for Courtly Entertainment

Appendix 2: Excerpts from Rinuccini, Poesie
            1. Amoroso augellin, ch’a l’aure erranti
            2. Forse Cintia è costei, che l’aurea schiera
            3. O bella età fiorita

Appendix 3: Excerpt from Solerti, Musica, ballo e drammatica

Appendix 4: Rinuccini Texts:
            1. Maschere di bergiere
2. Mascherata degli accecati
3. Mascherata di ninfe di Senna


* Francesca Chiarelli (francesca.chiarelli@rhul.ac.uk) completed her Ph.D. in 1995 at Royal Holloway, University of London, with a dissertation entitled “Il Lume Rinchiuso” (The Poetics of the Seconda Prattica): Monteverdi’s Fifth, Sixth and Seventh Books of Madrigals. The thesis traces the relationship between poetry and music in Monteverdi’s Fifth, Sixth and Seventh Books of Madrigals. Dr. Chiarelli is currently on the staff of the Registry Liaison Office of Royal Holloway, University of London. Return to beginning

1. See Guido Mazzoni, “Cenni su Ottavio Rinuccini, poeta,” Commemorazione della riforma melodrammatica (Florence: Galletti & Cocci, 1895), 89–102; Amelia Civita, Ottavio Rinuccini e il sorgere del melodramma (Mantova: Aldo Manunzio, 1900); and Francesco Raccamadoro Ramelli, Ottavio Rinuccini. Studio biografico e critico (Fabriano: Gentile, 1900).

2. For a more recent critical contribution on Rinuccini, relevant to the present discussion, see Barbara Russano Hanning, “Apologia pro Ottavio Rinuccini,” Journal of the American Musicological Society 26 (1973): 240–62; Gary Alfred Tomlinson, “Ottavio Rinuccini and the favola affettuosa,” Comitatus 6 (1975): 1–27; Tomlinson, “Ancora su Ottavio Rinuccini,” Journal of the American Musicological Society 28 (1975): 1–27; Tomlinson, “Rinuccini, Peri, Monteverdi and the Humanist Heritage of Opera,” Ph.D. diss., Univ. of California, Berkeley 1979; Russano Hanning, Of Poetry and Music’s Power. Humanism and the Creation of Opera (Ann Arbor: UMI Research Press, 1980); Tomlinson, “Music and the Claims of Text: Monteverdi, Rinuccini and Marino,” Critical Inquiry 8 (1982): 565–89; Francesca Chiarelli, “Per un censimento delle rime di Ottavio Rinuccini,” Studi Italiani 4 (1990): 133–63; Bojan Bujic, “Figura poetica molto vaga: Structure and Meaning in Rinuccini’s Euridice,” Early Music History 10 (1991): 29–64; Chiarelli, “L’inedita Santa Maria Maddalena di Ottavio Rinuccini,” Studi Italiani 11 (1994), 115–20. See also the chapter “Guarini, Rinuccini and the Ideal of Musical Speech” in Tomlinson, Monteverdi and the End of the Renaissance (Oxord: Clarendon Press, 1987; repr., 1990).

3. For an analysis of Narciso, see Chiarelli, “(Dis)regarding the Practicalities: An Investigation into Monteverdi’s Response to Rinuccini’s Narciso,” in The Influence of Italian Entertainments on Sixteenth- and Seventeenth-Century Music Theatre in France, Savoy and England, ed. Marie-Claude Canova-Green and Francesca Chiarelli; Studies in the History and Interpretation of Music, vol. 68 (Lewiston, NY: Edwin Mellen Press, 2000).

4. As an example of Rinuccini’s “petrarchist” style, see my transcription of the sonnet “Amoroso augellin, ch’a l’aure erranti,” Appendix 2, no. 1.

5. The late lyric production, characterized by a religious inspiration, is close to Venetian Mannerist poetry, and especially that of Gabriele Fiamma; Rinuccini seems to weave similar images with a similar preaching mode. Mannerism seems also to have inspired the images that Rinuccini associates with death: images of physical corruption more than of spiritual awareness and of religious acceptance. See the madrigal “O bella età fiorita” (Appendix 2, no. 3).

6. Many stylistic connections with, and hidden quotations from, Tasso could be found in Rinuccini’s output. The strongest connection, however, is, to me, between Tasso’s Torrismondo and Rinuccini’s Narciso, for, notwithstanding the strikingly different aesthetic results, both texts are truly manneristic insofar as they both present a theatrical machina that does not function any longer, thus undermining the generic specifications. Both Torrismondo and Narciso end tragically because the main character does not recognize his sin as such. Torrismondo does not stop loving Alvida even after having discovered that she is his sister; Narciso does not accept responsibility for Echo’s suicide, thus denying the plot a real anagnorisis and catastrophe the audience a catharsis.

7. For a list of all the texts for courtly entertainment written by Rinuccini, please refer to Appendix 1.

8. A transcription of the Maschera di bergiere is in Appendix 4, no. 1.

9. For a survey of political and social changes during the reign of Ferdinando I, see Furio Diaz, Il Granducato di Toscana. I Medici (Turin: UTET, 1976), 280–327.

10. “Tempo futuro m’è già nel cospetto, / cui non sarà quest’ora molto antica, / nel qual sarà in pergamo interdetto / a le sfacciate donne fiorentine / l’andar mostrando con le poppe il petto. / Quai barbare fur mai, quai saracine, / cui bisognasse, per farle ir coperte, / o spiritali o altre discipline?” (Dante Alighieri, Divina commedia, Purgatorio xxiii, 98–108).

11. For the text of this mascherata, see Appendix 4, no. 2.

12. As an example of encomiastic poetry in Rinuccini’s output, see the sonnet “Forse Cintia è costei, che l’aurea schiera,” in Appendix 2, no. 2.

13. These are the poems included in the 1622 edition (Poesie del Signor Ottavio Rinuccini [Florence: Giunti, 1622]) that are clearly texts for courtly entertainment: “Mascherate di donne tradite” (pp. 180–82); “Ballo di bergiere” (pp. 183–85). It is interesting to note that the libretto of both Euridice and Arianna were also included in the publication.

14. The full text of the Mascherata di ninfe di Senna is in Appendix 4, no. 3.

15. This also happens in the 1608 Ballo delle ingrate, and Plutone gives the start to the three balli: to the first ballo with the lines “Tornate al bel seren, celesti numi, / movete meco voi, d’Amor rubelle”; then Plutone has eight stanzas in quatrains of endecasillabi, concluded by “Ma qui star più non lice, anime ingrate, / tornate a lagrimar nel regno inferno,” which is again the start for another “aria da ballo più flebile”; finally, Plutone’s lines “Tornate al negro chiostro, / anime sventurate; / tornate ove vi sferza il fallir vostro” gives the sign for the Ingrata to start her lament.

16. The relevant passage from Tinghi’s diary, as quoted in Angelo Solerti’s Musica ballo e drammatica alla corte Medicea dal 1600 al 1637, can be found in Appendix 3.

17. “One of the Passengers was capturing live fishes with a fishing-rod, making a wondrous sight”; see Appendix 3.

18. Rinuccini’s sacred output, which can be reasonably assumed to have been written during the regency of Christine of Lorraine and Maria Maddalena of Austria, does not show as great a stylistic difference as seems to characterize all his theatrical texts after 1608.

19. “… mando il presente Narciso, opera del Signor Ottavio Rinuccini, non posto in istampa, non fatto in musica da alcuno, né mai recitato in scena. Esso signore, quando era in vita (che or sii in cielo, come glie lo prego di core), me ne fece gratia dela copia non tanto, ma di pregarmi che la pigliassi, amando egli molto tal sua opera, sperando ch’io l’avessi a porre in musica. Holle datto più volte assalti, e l’ho alquanto digesta nella mia mente, ma a confessar il vero a Vostra Signoria Illustrissima, mi riuscisse, al parer mio, non di quella forza ch’io vorei, per gli molti soprani che gli bisognerebbero per le tante Ninfe impiegate, e con molti tenori per gli tanti pastori e non altro di variazione, e poi con fine tragico e mesto.” (Claudio Monteverdi, Lettere, ed. Eva Lax [Florence: L. Olschki, 1994], 153.)

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