Appel à communication : « Music and Entertainment » (4-5 décembre 2014, Hanovre / 5-6 février 2015, Venise)

Music and Entertainment at the Hohes Ufer
Festival and Culture Transfer between Hannover and Venice in the Early Modern Period

International and Interdisciplinary Conference

Hannover, Tagungszentrum Schloss Herrenhausen: December 4-5, 2014
Venice, Deutsches Studienzentrum in Venice: February 5-6, 2015

Schloss-Herrenhausen_image_fullIn 2014 Hannover will be celebrating the 300th anniversary of the personal union between Hannover and the English Crown 1714-2014. The University of Music, Theatre and Media Hannover, and the Deutsche Studienzentrum in Venice are to mark the occasion by holding an international and interdisciplinary conference entitled

“Music and Entertainment at the Hohes Ufer
Festival and Culture Transfer between Hannover and Venice in the Early Modern Period”,

thereby commemorating the traditional axis between Hannover and Venice that had been especially cultivated during the carnival period and theatre season.

In keeping with the court’s self-understanding during the modern period of celebrating its power by way of the staging of and pleasure taken in festivals, Hanoverian court society began undertaking journeys to Venice at early stage. In other words, as the South’s primary centre of attraction beyond the Alps, it was in this lagoon city, which could boast a world of inimitable sense impressions by virtue of the sea-bound republic’s distinctive architecture and vibrant international life, that the theatre and entertainments culture attained outstanding heights of sophistication and a pronounced liberal ethos during the early modern period. In Venice, festivals, which determined the course of the year and marked important caesura in the everyday life also of other European cities, were celebrated at considerable artistic and financial expense, so as to demonstrate the power of the sea-bound republic – no less since its political zenith had already been reached.

For the carnival, and for state festivals, such as the marriage of the Doge with the sea, the celebration of peace settlements, state visits by foreign dignitaries as well as the numerous religious festivals, the observer could marvel at processions in the calle and campi, and at the regattas and magnificent gondolas with their ephemeral festive architectures of triumphal arches and mock facades.
Here, music was attributed an especially important function: It sounded beyond the performances at the city’s countless, competing theatre venues on the campi and the canals, so as to make Venice’s splendour tangible to the senses for all citizens, as well as to the innumerable foreign guests. Ephemeral, festive architectures functioned as stages for concerts, and serenades would resound from boats, gondolas and floating pavilions that would frequently take up theatrical repertoire.
All this was flanked by a flourishing gambling culture, by purchasable love and the latest designs in fashion, all of which were among Venice’s many attractions.

Venice advanced to become the European model of festival and entertainments culture as a travel destination, and which courts throughout Europe beyond the Alps sought to import and imitate.
The active transfer of festivals and culture between the Hanoverian court and Venice is an impressive example of this subject, and thus constitutes the focal point of the conference.
In the 1660s, Georg Wilhelm (1624-1705) began to establish Venetian festival traditions at the Protestant court in Hannover. As is well-known, these reached their acme when, in 1689, Duke Herzog Ernst August commissioned his own Opera House designed in accordance with Venetian models, engaged Italian singers, and commissioned Agostino Steffani (1654-1728), who was born in Castelfranco (situated to the northwest of Venice) as director of music. Festival activities were also celebrated, ranging from parades and processions, operas and theatre performances, tournaments, hunting, banquets, mask and costume balls through to Venetian gondola tours on the Graft.
During the Venetian carnival season, by contrast, the Guelphs would reside in the Palazzo Foscari on the Canale Grande – the contemporary representative centre of Venice University. Also belonging to the property of the Hanoverian court in Venice were the theatre-boxes and house gondolas in which one would be punted to the theatre and social receptions. Hence, the Guelphs were welcome guests in the lagoon city; Venetian dignitaries were guests at the opulent festive activities, such as water festivals and regattas.

The exchange processes between Venice and Hannover as briefly outlined in the above already provide indication of the theme’s virulence. Although research on the festival has evidently enjoyed greater attention in recent decades, and while the cultural sciences focussed on music have evolved fruitful approaches, detailed consideration of the music and festival culture of the 17th and 18th centuries with the respect to the Hannover–Venice axis in particular, as well as that between Venice and other courts beyond the Alps has yet to be undertaken.

Thus, in the winter of 2014/15, the interdisciplinary conference “Music and Entertainment held at the Hohes Ufer: Festival and Culture Transfer between Hannover and Venice in the Early Modern Period” is scheduled to take place in Hannover and Venice, and in two parts:

1st Conference December 4 and 5, 2014, Hannover, Tagungszentrum Schloss Herrenhausen
2nd Conference February 5 and 6, 2015, Deutsches Studienzentrum in Venedig

Proposals for scholarly contributions (max. 25 mins.), indicating a working title, including an abstract (max. 300 words), name, and short CV of the speaker to be submitted by March 15, 2014:

1. On the Reception and Cultural Transfer of Venetian Festival and Entertainments Culture in Hannover and other European Courts beyond the Alps (Hannover conference)
to be sent to Dr. Nicole K. Strohmann, Hochschule für Musik, Theater und Medien Hannover, E-Mail:

2. On the Venetian Festival and Entertainments Culture, as well as the Participation and Influence of European Court Society on the Venetian Festival and Entertainments Culture (Venice conference)
to be sent to PD Dr. Sabine Meine, Deutsches Studienzentrum in Venice,

The conference will be held in the German, English and Italian languages.

Contributions by young scholars will receive special attention.

Subject to successful financing, travel and accommodation expenses will be reimbursed.


URL de référence :


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