The Pilgrim Woman
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The Pilgrim Woman (La Pellegrina) was a play performed at the Florentine Intermedi of 1592. The play was written by the Italian sixteenth-century playwright and librettist Girolamo Bargagli of Sienna in 1579 but was performed for the first time on 2 May 1589, after the author's death in 1586. It is perhaps best known for the fact that it was staged on the occasion of the marriage of Ferdinand I de' Medici, grand-duke of Tuscany, with Christine de Lorraine, granddaughter of the former queen-mother of France, Catherine de' Medici, in that year. Bernardo Buontalenti, known as the master of Florentine spectacle, created six intermezzo designs for the play.
The play's musical interludes, or 'intermedii' have been performed more recently by the Huelgas Ensemble in 1998, by the Hollands Vocaal Ensemble in 2003, by the Capriccio Stravagante Renaissance Orchestra in 2007, and by Consort Astræa (selections) in 2009. A total of six then-famous composers from Florence contributed to the music, which includes some of the most virtuosic vocal writing of the period in an early example of monody, in the opening aria 'Dalle piu alte sfere', which is believed to have been composed by Emilio de' Cavalieri (Palisca, Norton Anthology of Music), but is attributed elsewhere to Antonio Archilei, whose wife Vittoria sang this opening aria in the role of Armonia in the 1589 production.
- Banham (1998, 545).
- Banham, Martin, ed. 1998. The Cambridge Guide to Theatre. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. ISBN 0-521-43437-8.
- D. P. Walker, D. P. 1963. Musique des Intermedes de "La Pellegrina", (CNRS, Paris), (reprinted 1986).
- New Grove Dictionary entries under INTERMEDIO and INTERMEDE, (there were also intermedes at the French court).
- www.operabaroque.com (in French)
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