Piazzola, [Camillo Bortoli overseeing] THE VIRGINS 1685.
Six parts in one vol. 4to. Frontis. with etched arms on recto & verso, [iv], p. & [Il vaticinio della fortuna] [ii], p. & [La schiavitù fortunato di Nettuno] [ii], p. & [Il merito acclamato] [ii], p. & [Il ritratto della gloria] [ii], p. & [Il preludio felice] [i], p. & EIGHT FOLDING ETCHINGS (320/580 x 275/1225 mm.). 18th century decorated brocade paper wrappers (one hinge neatly repaired). ORIGINAL EDITION OF THIS BAROQUE FESTIVAL BOOK ILLUSTRATED AND PRINTED BY ORPHAN GIRLS AT THE VENETIAN PATRICIAN MARCO CONTARINI’S PRIVATE PRESS. IT INCLUDES THE ACCOUNT OF THE ENTERTAINMENTS AND THE FIVE ILLUSTRATED OPERA LIBRETTI PERFORMED BY GIRLS on Contarini’s sprawling estate at Piazzola along the Brenta. For three days and nights in August 1685, Contarini organized musical and theatrical performance, banquets, hunting and other diversions for Ernst August Duke of Braunschweig. The Orologio outlines the Duke’s stay. The libretti frame the action of the five operas, specify the number of singers, instrumentalists and extras (over one hundred fifty for Il merito) and detail the sets and FANTASTIC STAGE MACHINERY — the aerial dragon filled with girls, a six-horse carriage covered in gold and mirrors . The opera presented on the villa’s canals employed, i.a., the richly gilt Venetian state galley, the Bucintoro, while those staged in the vast palace courtyard and in his (larger) private theater were accompanied by dinner. Contarini commissioned Domenico Freschi to compose the music and Piccioli to supply the lyrics. His important library of over 1000 manuscript scores “is a major surviving musical source of 17th-century Venetian opera” (New Grove2 6: 338). At Piazzola Contarini supported the education of thirty-eight poor and orphan girls in the arts, drama, music and the printing trades. They drew these illustrations, cut the plates, set the type, and (under the direction of the Venetian printer Camillo Bortoli) worked two platen presses and a rolling press to print and illustrate these six books. I have located one complete copy in the U.S. (Getty): not in Vinet, Ruggieri or Piantanida. In excellent condition (minor repairs to blank versos of some plates with very slight loss to one).Camerini, Piazzola nella sua storia e nell’arte musicale 274-90 & 327-51; Saggiori, “Il ‘Luoco delle Vergini’ di Piazzola” in Libri e stampatori in Padova Miscellanea in onore di G. Bellini (1959) 3-10 “stamperia delle ‘putte’” (includes a bibliography of the press); Watanabe-O’Kelly, Festivals & Ceremonies. A Bib. 1453-8; Fumagalli, Dict. géographique d’italie 303. Item #7827