Taking on “Anonymous”

Monday, August 24, 2020

Thanks to numerous tips from several colleagues, we are now able to provide more specific information about collections of arias that are housed at the Biblioteca Estense in Modena (I-MOe).

Many of the composers of unattributed arias have been identified, as well as the operas that the arias are from. We used opera libretti, the incipit search in the RISM catalog, and scholarly publications to revise the manuscripts with the shelfmarks MS Mus. G. 311 (RISM ID no. 850013690), MS Mus. G. 291 (RISM ID no. 850013315), MS Mus. G. 292 (RISM ID no. 850014199), and MS Mus. G. 293 (RISM ID no. 850013411) from the second half of the 17th century.

Alessandro Sanguineti’s article “Unearthing Forgotten Treasures: Anonymous Arias with Obbligato Violoncello at the Estense Library, Modena” (Performance Practice Review 18, no. 1 [2013], in RISM as SanguinetiU 2013) can be read online. Sanguineti goes into detail with regard to the arias in the collection MS Mus. G. 291 and assigns them to the opera L’Ercole Trionfante by Bernardo Sabadini (1718+).  The operas Hierone tiranno di Siracusa and La Pace fra Tolomeo e Seleuco by Bernardo Sabadini, Olimpia vendicata by Domenico Freschi (1634-1710), Pirro e Demetrio by Giuseppe Felice Tosi (1619-193), and La Falsirena von Marc’Antonio Ziani (ca.1653-1715), which are hardly known today, could be identified.

However, the mysteries of many manuscripts from the Biblioteca Estensestill await to be unraveled, such as MS Mus. G. 250 (RISM ID no. 850014169), MS Mus. G.324 (RISM ID no. 850013833), and MS Mus. G. 296 (RISM ID no. 850013479).

The records are in the RISM catalog as well as the Italian database OPAC SBN - Catalogo del Servizio Bibliotecario Nazionale

Image: Palazzo dei Musei, which houses the Biblioteca Estense Universitaria di Modena (Wikimedia Commons). 


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