Voicing Michelangelo’s Poetry

Fellows Project Fund

Voicing Michelangelo’s Poetry

Voicing Michelangelo’s Poetry

Scene from Suzanne Farrin’s La Dolce Morte performed on the Patio from the Castle of Vélez Blanco in Spain the Metropolitan Museum of Art in 2017 (photograph by Doug Fitch)

In Renaissance Rome, audiences could encounter the poetry of Michelangelo Buonarroti (1475–1564) through music. In 1533, for example, the Sistine Chapel choir member Costanzo Festa (1480–1545) debuted his setting of a madrigal by Michelangelo. Nearly five centuries later, this event presents an analysis of the historic vocalization of Michelangelo’s poetry in conjunction with selections of Suzanne Farrin’s opera based on his verses, dolce la morte.

This staged conversation and audio-visual presentation is the culmination of a transmedial collaboration between three current Rome Prize Fellows in different disciplines, Raymond Carlson (Renaissance and early modern), Suzanne Farrin (musical compoistion), and Jessica Peritz (modern Italian studies). It will address fundamental questions about the relationship of Italian lyric poetry to the voice. How is authorial agency preserved or lost when a writer’s lyric poems are subsequently set to music by a composer? What resonances do the musical settings of Michelangelo’s poems have with his artistic and architectural endeavors in Rome? Recalling that Michelangelo switched gendered pronouns in certain verses, are there broader notions that govern our connection to the voice and gender, and what does that mean for contemporary music making? The event will be followed by a brief question and answer session, as well as a reception.

The event will be held in English.

This project is made possible by the Fellows’ Project Fund of the American Academy in Rome.

Date & time
Monday, June 25, 2018
6:30 PM
AAR Lecture Room
McKim, Mead & White Building
Via Angelo Masina, 5
Rome, Italy