Maria Margherita Grimani
Maria Margherita Grimani (fl. 1713 – 1718) was an Italian composer who, at some points in her life, was active in Vienna. Very little else about her is known. Among her compositions was the first opera by a woman to be performed at the Vienna court theater. She may have lived at the noble court for periods between 1713 and 1718; however, she was not employed at the court as a musician. She may also have been one of a number of women composers at the Viennese court who were canonesses, a type of Augustinian nun; others included Caterina Benedicta Grazianini, Maria de Raschenau, and Camilla de Rossi.
Grimani's known works include an opera, specifically a componimento dramatico or opus dramaticum, which may or may not have been staged, Pallade e Marte, dedicated in Bologna on April 5, 1713 and first performed at the imperial theater on the nameday of Emperor Charles VI on November 4, 1713 at the imperial theater. It was scored for two voices, oboe and string orchestra.
Her oratorios were also performed at the imperial theater: La visitazione di Elisabetta, performed in 1713 and again in 1718, and La decollazione di S Giovanni Battista, performed in 1715. The librettists are unknown. Both celebrate Charles's military success against the "infidels".
Grimani may have been related to the powerful Grimani family, perhaps to Pietro Grimani, who negotiated an alliance between Charles VI and Venice (of which Pietro was later doge) against the Turks, in the same year that Maria's Pallade was performed at court. In addition, George Frideric Handel's patron and librettist for Agrippina, Vincenzo Grimani, was viceroy of Naples at the time. Nevertheless, Maria's exact relationship to the Grimani family is unclear.
All of Grimani's works use small forces—two singers, a couple of obbligato instruments, and a continuo group, including cello and theorbo. Their form follows the standards of the time, as exemplified in Alessandro Scarlatti's works. This included a number of da capo arias with ritornelli and recitative secco.
- Rudolf Klein. "Maria Margherita Grimani". In Macy, Laura. Grove Music Online. Oxford Music Online. Oxford University Press. (subscription required)
- The Norton/Grove Dictionary of Women Composers, edited by Julie Anne Sadie and Rhian Samuel. "Maria Margherita Grimani" Suzanne G. Cusick and Rudolf Klein, pg. 198, Norton and Company, New York and London, 1995. ISBN 978-0-393-03487-5
- New Historical Anthology of Music by Women edited by James R. Briscoe. "Maria Margherita Grimani" by Barbara Garvey Jackson, pp 99–100. Indiana University Press, Bloomington IN, 2004. ISBN 978-0-253-21683-0
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