Early Music Television

Isabella d'Este: First Lady of the Renaissance

Filmed in Italian palaces and monuments, this program illuminates the connections between the political posturing of Italian renaissance princes and their patronage of the arts, especially music. Isabella d'Este (1474-1539), daughter of the Duke of Ferrara, was known in her own time as "First Lady of the World." She was particularly skillful in using her patronage of the arts to project an image of glamour, sophistication, liberality, and magnanimity. In 1490 she married the military hero, Francesco Gonzaga (1466-1519). The Gonzagas of Mantua also were brilliant in their use of the arts for political advantage. This program traces their patronage through two generations: those of Francesco and Isabella, and of their sons Federico (1500-1540), who became the first Duke of Mantua, and Cardinal Ercole (1505-1563), who almost became Pope. The dramatic script is based on Isabella's extensive correspondence. Original recordings of renaissance music were made in London.

Starring Emma Kirkby as Isabella d'Este; Featuring the Consort of Musick, Anthony Rooley, Director. Ellen Dryden, Narrator; Script based on the research of William Prizer, Rodolfo Signorini and James Yoch; Joseph J. Friedman, Director of Photography; James Yoch, Associate Producer; David Smeal, Associate Director; Costumes by Martha Ferrara based on portraits of Isabella d'Este by Leonardo da Vinci, Titian and Rubens.

Produced and Directed by Eugene Enrico.
Funded, in part, by Oklahoma Humanities and NEH.

DVD, 58:30



© 2021 Center for Music Television
Eugene Enrico, Director
School of Music
University of Oklahoma
Norman, OK 73019
Tel: (405) 325-3978
Fax: (405) 325-7574