Music and Wonder at the Medici Court
CD Included

Music and Wonder at the Medici Court

The 1589 Interludes for La pellegrina
Nina Treadwell
Distribution: World
Publication date: 10/27/2008
Format: cloth 304 pages, 13 color illus., 30 b&w illus.
6.125 x 9.25
ISBN: 978-0-253-35218-7
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On May 2, 1589, the Medici court staged the most elaborate entertainment yet produced in Florence. The intermedii (interludes) performed during Girolamo Bargagli's comedy La pellegrina were the high point of a series of celebrations mobilized by the newly proclaimed Grand Duke of Florence—Ferdinando I de' Medici—for his wedding to Christine of Lorraine. These interludes were arguably the most well documented multimedia entertainment of the Medici principate. CD included.

Author Bio

Nina Treadwell is Associate Professor of Music at the University of California, Santa Cruz. Her work is informed by her experience as a performer on plucked-string instruments of the Renaissance and Baroque periods and by her interest in gender studies.


"Treadwell's approach is novel . . . and essential to understanding how a musical and dramatic entertainment could assume such an important role in defining Medicean power for both Florentines and outside visitors." —Massimo Ossi, Indiana University

"The Florentine celebration of 1589 was the most lavish court entertainment on record, combining innovations in solo song, orchestration, ballet, and staging—all in the service of displaying Medici power. In her book, Nina Treadwell examines the ways members of the Medici court deployed these new modes of artistic expression to further their own agendas. An accomplished performer, she also views the intermedii from the vantage points of the musicians whose energies, technical skills, and interpretive strategies made this event so memorable, and she factors in eye-witness accounts to produce something like an ethnography, thereby demonstrating the both the effects and limits of Medici control. A stunning scholarly achievement." —Susan McClary, University of California, Los Angeles

"For anyone studying Renaissance festivals, Treadwell's book is essential, for she is the only author to address the combined impact of visual and aural stimuli in the creation of amazement and wonder." —Anne MacNeil, University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill

"With this work, Nina Treadwell becomes the first music historian to explore the significance of the 1589 Florentine court
intermedi—multimedia extravaganzas performed between the acts of a comedy—as musico-theatrical works in their own right." —Barbara Russano Hanning

, City College of New York, and The Graduate Center, City University of New York,
American Historical Review , Vol. 115.1 Feb. 2010

Music and Wonder at the Medici Court is an admirable contribution to the scholarship of the 1589 Florentine interludes, which were an important milestone in the history of theatrical music." —OPERA JOURNAL

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Table of Contents

List of Plates
Notes to the Reader
List of Abbreviations
I. Medicean Theater: Aesthetic and Political Underpinnings
1. The Politics of Dynasty
2. The Aesthetic of Wonder
3. Court Intermedi at Florence
II. Readings: The Pellegrina Interludes in/as Performance
4. Marshalling meraviglia: Manipulating Time, Delineating Space (Intermedio One)
5. Scenic Metamorphosis and Musical Warfare (Intermedi Two and Three)
6. Diabolical Bodies and Monstrous Machines: A Cautionary Tale (Intermedio Four)
7. Singing the Marvelous (Intermedio V)
8. "O What New Wonder" (Intermedio Six)