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date: 19 June 2019

Abstract and Keywords

The history of opera, one of the most expensive of the performing arts to produce, is inextricably intertwined with the history of its patrons, who not only sustained it financially, but also shaped its form and content in profound and persistent ways. By looking at two case studies from early modern Italy—one from the Medici court of Florence and one from the Venetian commercial theaters—this chapter discusses the double nature of patronage: (1) a process through which composers, poets, and performers helped patrons build a public image that would reflect their social and political agenda; and (2) a form of managerial and financial contribution to the production of opera in the context of public theaters.

Keywords: patronage, early modern Italy, funding, public image, production, Medici court, Florence

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