Mariana Vitória de Bourbon (1718-1781) as Collector of Music: Diplomatic and Family Networks in the Acquisition and Circulation of Librettos and Scores

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Mariana Vitória de Bourbon (Madrid, 1718 – Lisbon, 1781), Infanta of Spain and later Princess of Brasil and Queen of Portugal, was a passionate music lover as evinced by many of the letters she sent from Lisbon to her mother, Isabel de Farnesio. Her taste for playing the harpsichordist and singing and her thoughts on music performances and the musicians themselves emerge from this correspondence. Less known is her role as a collector of scores and librettos, although some recent studies point out important clues in this regard (Montes, 2015; Maione 2018). Contrary to what happens with Maria Bárbara of Braganza and her remarkable music library, an inventory or list of works acquired or ordered by Mariana Vitória is not known, but part of the scores remain at the Biblioteca da Ajuda, in Lisbon. Diplomatic and family correspondence (including the letters exchanged with her brother Carlos, king of Naples and later Carlos III of Spain) shows that she often asked for the latest musical novelties. In addition, other sources from Portuguese and Spanish archives contribute to demonstrate that Mariana Vitória established connections with different European cultural and musical contexts and had an significant role in the construction of the musical heritage of the Portuguese court — a contribution that has been overshadowed by the prominence of her husband, king José, as the patron of the magnificent Ópera do Tejo, destroyed by the 1755 earthquake. A preliminary mapping of Mariana Vitória’s musical network will be presented together with the identification of some musical pieces. The musical influence she exerted on her four daughters will also be addressed, since at least two of them (the future queen Maria I and Maria Francisca Benedita) would contribute to the expansion of the court's musical library and to the circulation of repertoires through family and diplomatic networks.
Original languageEnglish
Publication statusPublished - Sept 2021
EventWOMUNET Workshop 2021

: Women and Music Networks in Early Modern Europe: Dialogues between Past and Present
- Palacio del Almirante, Granada, Spain
Duration: 16 Sept 202117 Dec 2021


WorkshopWOMUNET Workshop 2021

Internet address


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