What's in a name?


Who were Christina, Ruspoli and Durazzo?

Through courageous, inspired and continued patronage, a lasting legacy of baroque music and art was celebrated and preserved by three important figures in the 17th and 18th centuries.


In honour of their contribution, our Donor program bears their names. The success of the Brandenburg relies on the ongoing support of our Donors, a vital part of the Brandenburg family.

Christina Wasa, Queen of Sweden, 1626-1689

Forward thinking, intelligent and cultured, Christina was one of the greatest arts patrons of the 17th century. Having abdicated the Swedish throne to become a Catholic, she moved to Rome and established herself as one of its leading cultural figures. Patron of Alessandro Scarlatti, Stradella and Corelli, she also founded Rome’s first public opera house at the rebuilt Teatro di Tor di Nona in 1671. An ageless icon, her life was the inspiration for the 1933 feature film Queen Christina, starring Greta Garbo.

  Christina Wasa, Queen of Sweden, 1626-1689

Count Giacomo Durazzo, 1717-1794

Austrian diplomat in Vienna, Count Durazzo, made a huge contribution to the mid-18th century reform of opera by bringing together the librettist Calzabigi and the composer Gluck. Known as the Gluckian reform, they defined an era of opera through their French-inspired collaborations. In his role as Generalspektakeldirektor (literally Director-General of Spectacle), he improved standards at local theatres and opera houses, and fostered comic opera in Vienna, by employing composers such as Guiseppe Scarlatti and Florian Leopold Gassmann to compose opera buffe.

Marquess Francesco Maria Ruspoli, 1672-1731

A flamboyant party-boy, the Marquess (and later Prince) Ruspoli hosted gatherings at his estate where guests would discuss current issues, gossip, play games and hear new music. He was one of Handel’s most important patrons during his years in Rome, and many of the fifty secular cantatas he commissioned would have been performed at such parties. In addition to his patronage of the composer Antonio Caldara, it is also thought Ruspoli wrote the libretto for Alessandro Scarlatti's last opera, Griselda.
  Marquess Francesco Maria Ruspoli, 1665-1739

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