Johann Friedrich’s other agent: Abate Michele Colomera (1605?–1676) and music recruiting in Rome
Michele Colomera was the Roman agent of duke Johann Friedrich of Braunschweig-Lüneburg in the 1660s and 1670s. His main remit was to facilitate relations between Johann Friedrich and the Vatican in view of the expansion of Catholicism to Northern Germany. Another part of Colomera’s duties was that of recruiting quality singers for the Hanover chapel. Colomera’s correspondence surviving today at the Niedersächsisches Landesarchiv, Hanover, chronicles a major recruiting period that took place in 1673–74 and which brought to Hanover no less than three new singers (Giuseppe Costantini, Vincenzo Casciolini, Girolamo Navarra), and a Kapellmeister (Vincenzo de Grandis).The letters also shed considerable light on the composition and organisation of the Hanover chapel as an all male, all Italian establishment, as well as on Johann Friedrich’s cultural and political policy behind such a major financial commitment. They also provide valuable information on musical life in Rome and on the biographies of many Roman musicians. As there are frequent assessments and discussions of singers, there is also considerable terminological and linguistic interest.
Michele Colomera (1605?–1676) was a native of Taranto in the Spanish-ruled kingdom of Naples. Very little information survives about him and most biographical details stem from a posthumous publication of his predications.1 The compiler of the volume, father Giovanni Battista di S. Gioseppe, gives an account of Colomera’s life where we learn that his parents were Girolomo Colomera and Giovanna San Marco, and that his father’s family originated in Spain (town of...
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