Professional Male Musicians in the Exterior Church
Unlike those in many other cities, Venetian nuns acted primarily as patrons, rather than performers. This chapter examines the employment of musicians, both singers and instrumentalists, for a wide range of religious occasions, from weekly sung Masses involving primarily clergy, to annual public expositions of the Holy Sacrament, to spectacular celebrations of the annual patronal feast of each nunnery, with the participation of some of the most important musicians of the city. These events were witnessed and described by both Venetians and foreign visitors, and were publicized in visitors’ guidebooks by such people as Vincenzo Coronelli. Both civic and ecclesiastical authorities attempted, with varying degrees of success, to limit expenditures for these events and what was sometimes seen as excessive display, more appropriate for the theater than the church. Authorities also worked to restrict contact between the nuns and the men whom they paid to perform.
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