Fri, March 31, 2023
11:00 – 18:00
VILLA LA PIETRA
Via Bolognese, 120
50139 Florence, Italy
A Renaissance Masque: Queens, “Crones”, and the Power of Women is a theater, dance and literary project initiated at Brandeis University (Waltham, MA) by Professors Cameron Anderson, Sarah Mead, and Ramie Targoff, now brought to NYU Florence in collaboration with Professor Eric Nicholson and his colleagues and students. The event is focused on both studying and considering how we might best bring to life one of the most important art forms in the English Renaissance – the court masque – and the unique role it afforded to women performers. Centered on the 1609 performance at the English court of Ben Jonson’s Masque of Queens, with a particular focus on the dozen witches in the play’s antimasque, the symposium will combine historical research with contemporary art, dance and music. Our objectives are to study the various cultural and artistic conditions that helped to produce this theatrical piece, as a prelude ultimately to creating a contemporary performance that will spotlight the masque’s complex history.
11.00 a.m. Welcome, and opening remarks
Larry Wolff, Co-Director, NYU Florence
11:15 AM Keynote Lecture:
“Hoop, rope and stage: witchcraft and feminine embodiment in The Masque of Queens”
Clare McManus, Professor of Early Modern Literature and Theatre and Director of the Centre for Literature & Inclusion University of Roehampton, London
12:00 PM Post-lecture Q&A, and Roundtable conversation, on
“Witches, Sorcery, and Alternative Feminine Bodies in Early Modern Europe”
Clare McManus, Ramie Targoff (Brandeis University), Matteo Duni (NYU Florence), and Gaia Varon (NYU Florence)
1:00 PM Buffet lunch
2:30 PM Panel and presentation on “Ben Jonson’s Masque of Queens, Then and Now”
Ramie Targoff (Brandeis University), Cameron Anderson (Brandeis University), Eric Nicholson (NYU Florence), and Sarah Mead (Brandeis University)
Respondent online: Stephen Orgel (Stanford University, Emeritus)
4:10 Coffee Break
4:30 Interactive session, led by Gloria Giordano, Professor at the Accademia Nazionale di Danza, Rome
“We may dance and our charms advance”: a Workshop on Dancing in the Era of The Masque of Queens
6:00 Thanks and Concluding Remarks
PROFESSOR OF EARLY MODERN LITERATURE AND THEATERE, AND DIRECTOR OF THE RESEARCH CENTRE FOR INCLUSIVE HUMANITIES, UNIVERSITY OF ROEHAMPTON, LONDON
She publishes widely on Shakespearean women’s performance, has edited Shakespeare, Fletcher and Shirley, and collaborates with two international research groups: Theatre Without Borders investigates transnational early modern theatre; Engendering the Stage uses archival and performance research to investigate the gendering of early modern performance. She is currently co-editing Marston’s The Fawn (forthcoming with OUP), editing Fletcher and Shakespeare’s Two Noble Kinsmen for Arden 4, and completing a monograph on the effects of women’s performance on the Shakespearean stage.
Cameron Anderson is an internationally acclaimed American scenic designer, who during her twenty-year career has designed extensively at the world’s leading theatre and opera companies. Recent credits include work for Glimmerglass Opera, The Seattle Opera, The Manhattan Theater Club, Playwrights Horizons, The Roundabout, and The Huntington Theatre. She has designed many world premieres, including ones at the Teatro Colon in Buenos Aires, The Vancouver Opera, and the Kilden Performing Arts Center in Norway. Previously with NYU Florence, Cameron designed scenery and projections for the newly discovered pastoral play Clorilli, directed by Eric Nicholson. Cameron is an Associate Professor of Theater Arts at Brandeis University.
Matteo Duni has devoted several decades to the study of the witch-hunt in Renaissance and Reformation Europe. His research focuses on witchcraft and folklore, the role of the Inquisition, and the debate on the reality of witchcraft between witch-hunters and skeptics. He teaches courses on medieval and Renaissance history and on the history of the witch-hunt at Syracuse University’s and New York University’s centers in Florence. His publications include Tra religione e magia. Storia del prete Modenese Guglielmo Campana (Firenze, 1999), Under the Devil’s Spell. Witches, Sorcerers and the Inquisition in Renaissance Italy (Firenze, 2007). He has edited the proceedings of the conference Prescritto e Proscritto: Religione e società nell’Italia moderna (Roma, 2015) and a special issue of the journal Genesis. Rivista della Società Italiana delle Storiche(XIX, 1 – 2020: Immaginare la stregoneria, with Matteo Al Kalak, Xenia von Tippelskirch). He has authored entries in major reference works such as the Encyclopedia of Witchcraft (Santa Barbara, 2006) and the Dizionario storico dell’Inquisizione (Pisa, 2011) as well as many articles in scholarly journals.
DANCER, CHOREOGRAPHER, DANCE HISTORIAN, AND SPECIALIST IN THE ITALIAN AND FRENCHE STYLE DANCE
Dancer, choreographer, dance historian, and a specialist in the Italian and French style of dance, 15th to 18th centuries. Lecturer in Dance Theory at the Accademia Nazionale di Danza, Rome. PhD, Université de Tours (France), with a thesis on 17th-18th century dance in Rome (2022). Editor of the facsimile publication of the manuscript Balletti, by Gaetano Grossatesta (Venice, 1726), for la Libreria Musicale Italiana (L.I.M., with cd rom, 2005) and, with Alessandro Pontremoli, of the volume by Barbara Sparti, Dance, Dancers and Dance-Masters in Renaissance and Baroque Italy (2015). www.gloriagiordano.it
PROFESSOR OF THE PRACTICE OF MUSIC, BRANDEIS UNIVERSITY
Sarah Mead is a Professor of the Practice of Music at Brandeis University where she has directed period ensembles and taught music history since 1982, and has chaired the interdepartmental program in Medieval and Renaissance Studies. Overseas she has performed and taught in Brazil, Japan, Australia, New Zealand and the UK, and is a sought-after lecturer and ensemble-coach in the US, where she is a founding member and music director of Nota Bene Viol Consort, whose CD of the Quattordeci Sonetti Spirituali of Pietro Vinci was released in 2020.
Eric Nicholson teaches literature and theatre courses at NYU Florence, and Syracuse University Florence. An active member of the international research collaborative Theater Without Borders, with Robert Henke he has edited Transnational Exchange in Early Modern Theater (Ashgate, 2008), and Transnational Mobilities in Early Modern Theater (Ashgate, 2014). With Pamela Allen Brown and Julie D. Campbell he has translated and edited Isabella Andreini’s Fragmenti di alcune scritture…, as Lovers’ Debates for the Stage (ITER Press: The Other Voice in Early Modern Europe, 2022). Since 2018, he has also published several articles in Skenè. Journal of Theatre and Drama Studies. In Florence and elsewhere, Eric has directed and performed in plays by Aristophanes, Shakespeare, Molière, and others, among them Clorilli, a Pastoral Drama by Leonora Bernardi of Lucca, in its premiere modern production (NYU Florence Villa La Pietra, Spring 2018).
J. E. REYNOLDS PROFESSOR IN THE HUMANITIES, EMERITUS, STANFORD UNIVERSITY
Stephen Orgel is the J. E. Reynolds Professor in the Humanities, Emeritus, at Stanford University. He is the author of The Idea of the Book (Oxford, 2022), The Reader in the Book (Oxford, 2015), Spectacular Performances (Manchester, 2011), Imagining Shakespeare (Palgrave, 2003), and The Authentic Shakespeare (Routledge, 2002). Recent books include Wit’s Treasury and The Invention of Shakespeare (University of Pennsylvania Press, 2021 and 2022). The Globe in Print is in the press. He is the general editor of the New Pelican Shakespeare, and has edited The Tempest and The Winter’s Tale in the Oxford Shakespeare
JEHUDA REINHARZ PROFESSOR OF THE HUMANITIES, CO-CHAIR OF ITALIAN STUDIES, BRANDEIS UNIVERSITY
Ramie Targoff is the Jehuda Reinharz Professor of the Humanities and Co-Chair of Italian Studies at Brandeis University. She holds a B.A. from Yale University and Ph.D. from University of California, Berkeley. She is the author of multiple books on Italian and English Renaissance literature and is the recipient of a Guggenheim Fellowship. Her new book, Shakespeare’s Sisters: How Women Wrote the Renaissance, is forthcoming from Alfred A. Knopf in 2024.
NYU FLORENCE LECTURER AND IULM UNIVERSITY, MILAN
A musicologist who loves to spread love for music, Gaia Varon is University Lecturer at NYU Florence and IULM University in Milan. She is also author and presenter of music programmes for Rai Radio3 (among which all the live broadcasts from Milan Teatro alla Scala), Swiss Radio Rete 2 and television music channels. She has published articles and book chapters on opera and cinema in Italian cultural history, operatic and symphonic music on screen, classical music recording style and technique, music in avant-garde short films, classical music in the Italian mediascape.
PROFESSOR OF ENGLISH AND INDIVIDUALIZED STUDY, NEW YORK UNIVERSITY
Susanne Wofford is Professor of English and Individualized Study at NYU, and previously was Dean of NYU’s Gallatin School. A former president of the Shakespeare Association of America, she is cofounder of the Theater Without Borders International Research Collaborative. She writes on classical and Renaissance epic and drama, and her recent work includes articles on transnational early modern plays (Shakespeare with Spanish and Italian theater); and on Shakespeare and Ancient Greek and Roman plays, including an essay on Much Ado About Nothing and Euripides’ Alcestis. Most recently she co-edited a special section of Renaissance Drama on Cross-dressing, contributing an essay on Ana Caro (Spanish woman playwright).