Vittoria Archilei-Concarini

Known as the Romanina, one of the most celebrated virtuosos of her time. She was born in Rome between 1550 and 1560. In 1578 she married Antonio Archilei, composer, singer, lutenist, in the service of Cardinal Alessandro Sforza and, later, of the future Grand Duke of Tuscany Ferdinando de' Medici during the years he was cardinal in Rome. The couple of musicians performed in Florence in 1584 for the wedding parties in honor of Eleonora de' Medici and the Crown Prince of Mantua Vincenzo Gonzaga. By now, permanently in Florence with her husband, she had a leading role in the intermedi of La Pellegrina. The singer, personification of the Harmony Doria, opened the show, descending on a cloud and, playing a big lute, sang the madrigal Dallepiùaltisfere of her husband Antonio, accompanied by him, author of the music along with Antonio Naldi, known as Bardella, a famous musician of the court of Ferdinando, inventor of the guitar or theorbo and responsible for the instrumental heritage of the Grand Duke. He also interprets the role of Amphitrite in the marine intermedio Io chel’onderaffreno and was to close the performance resuming the role of Harmony with O che nuovo miracolo, which opens the final dance called Ballo del Granduca to music by Emilio de’ Cavalieri. An interpreter of his music also in the following years and considered to be the most prestigious interpreter in the Medici court, she presumably supported the title role in the Euridice del Peri (ATTACHMENT 0.4c) staged for the wedding of Maria de’ Medici to Henry IV of France. She remained permanently in court, highly praised by all her contemporaries, making her considered perhaps the first great interpreter of monodic music.

Bernardo Buontalenti, Harmony Doria, 1589. Florence, Biblioteca Nazionale Centrale, Palatino C.B.3.53.II, tav. 11.