© Luca Concas

The Vespers at San Vitale

Duo Serenissima
Elisabeth Hetherington soprano
David Mackor liuto

The Intimate Diva

Chiara Margarita Cozzolani (1602 – ca. 1676-78)
O Maria, tu dulcis

Lucrezia Orsina Vizzana (1590-1662)
O magnum mysterium

Chiara Margarita Cozzolani
Ecce annuntio vobis

Lucrezia Orsina Vizzana
Ave stella matutina
Sonet vox tua

dal Sacerdotale Romanum (Venezia, 1597)
Cum Autem Venissent

Chiara Margarita Cozzolani
Ave Mater dilectissima

There is an association between the monastic lifestyle of cloistered nuns and piety, complacency and simplicity. This association, however, is a direct contrast to the women inhabiting the convents of
Italy during the 17th century, as these convents were the gathering place of highly educated, fiercely independent and creative women.
These cloistered women used singing and composition to communicate their identity and their devotion beyond the convent walls, all the while developing their social and financial independence. Their musical practices made the nuns both controversial and alluring to the outside world and, as such, were routinely under attack by various Archbishops for drawing too much attention to themselves.
Our programme focuses on the music from two of the convents where lived two of the most infamously rebellious cloistered composers – Lucrezia Orsina Vizzana (Santa Cristina della Fondazza, Bologna) and Chiara Margarita Cozzolani (Santa Radegonda, Milan). These women went against the authority of the men who tried to control them and limit their musical expression and became famous for their insubordination and publishing of their music. This rarely performed music will be brought with the inclusion of liturgical chant, performed in the the tradition of the region and in the manner with which it would have been sung at the time in the convents where Vizzana and Cozzolani were writing their music. Our programme will shed light on a portion of the enormous musical outpouring from these convents, with all the devotion, spirituality and radicalisms these intimate divas spun into their composition.

Full programme “Vespers at San Vitale”