Generally disregarded by official tourist paths, the Sala della Musica (hall of Music) is a must see for those visitors looking for music temples. Famous until the end of 16th century for music studies, here orphan maids from the institute were led by renowned maestri since the second half of 16th century.
According to Girolamo Miani, one of the first head of the institute, for those young women singing was part of their education, as it was an activity associated to religious functions.
Nonetheless, it helped spreading Christian virtues, a sort of redemption for them as they were eventually offered an occasion. However, the figlie del coro, (daughters of the chorus) were the ones financially supporting the Ospedaletto thanks to the money they personally collected through offers.
The Sala belongs to the complex of Santa Maria dei Derelitti, known as Ospedaletto, one of the four hospitals which welcomed poor, infirm, disable and orphan people since 1528.
Based on a project by Palladio, the church is named after Santa Maria Assunta and is quite close to Campo San Giovanni e Paolo.
Entering the church one first admires the imaginative facade designed by Baldassarre Longhena, then once inside the fine pieces of art are worth to be discovered: paintings by D.Mazza, G.B. Tiepolo, C. Loth, P. Liberi and the 1751 pipe organ by Pietro Necchini, remarkable outcome of generous donations. This latter, of virtuous timbre and great sound quality used to follow the chant of the young maids who performed during the religious mass.
At the back, detached from the church and facing a corte, there is the Sala della Musica. Designed by Piero Lucchesi in 1771, it was originally thought as the women chorus rehearsal area. Six years later it was completely renewed with frescoes by Jacopo Guarana, a great interpreter of Tiepolo’s style; Agostino Mengozzi- Colonna instead realized the decorations and the trompe-l’oeil perspectives.
During important concerts, mainly before the Venetian aristocracy and prestigious foreign guests, the maiden chorus and the musicians used to perform from a balcony, situated above the main entrance and decorated with polychrome plasters.
The balcony displays a wrought-iron grill to partially hide of the chorus from the audience view. On one side the maids singing could fairly see a painting in tromp l’oeil: two young women listening to music, a snapshot of what women used to do in theatre foyers and Venetian palazzi.
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