This is an extract from a BBC 4 programme broadcast some while back. I was reminded of it listening to Jeremy this evening. What he didn’t say about the ‘orphanage’ was that the boys lived separately, learned a trade and left. The girls stayed, cloistered like nuns. They were trained as musicians (instrumentalists and singers). The most accomplished singers were placed in a special class — the figlie di coro, (daughters of the choir) and performed for the great and the good. They performed in galleries, behind metal grills, like nuns. They sang SATB, as here. A friend of mine (Patrick Craig if Tom is reading this) did a Zoom presentation about the music of St Mark’s, Venice a couple of weeks ago, and one of the ladies singing Bass in this film was watching.

Carol Buxton

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