top of page

Outputs

The Fourth International Conference on Women’s Work in Music

Cloistered women, freed musicians: the musician nuns of the Royal Monastery of São Bento da Avé-Maria in Oporto (Portugal)

Rosana Marreco Brescia, Ana Maria Liberal & Inês Thomas Almeida

de Setembro de 2023 | 10:00

University of Bangor - País de Gales 

In most female convents active in 18th-century Europe, music was essential to religious life. Women with previous musical knowledge were highly appreciated and, in some cases, offered benefits when entering the monastic life. The same happened in Portugal, despite the education of women being more limited during the ancient regime than in other European countries. Women found in cloisters a space to develop their talents, receive education and even achieve some recognition for their artistry. This becomes evident with the musician nuns of the ancient Monastery of São Bento da Avé-Maria in Oporto, where a few women became virtuous performers, indispensable to the commissioning of new repertoire for the most important celebrations of the catholic calendar. But who were these women and what was their cultural background before joining monastic life? The current paper intends to analyse the case of the musician nuns of the ancient Monastery of São Bento da Avé-Maria during the 18th and 19th centuries, focusing on their education, and what was it like to be a woman, an artist and a nun in 18th-century Portuguese society. This work is financed by national funds through FCT – Fundação para a Ciência e a Tecnologia, I.P., in the framework of project 2022.01889.PTDC

XII Encontro Nacional de Investigação em Música

A prática Musical no antigo Real Mosteiro de São Bento da Avé-Maria e a sua eventual relação com o documento "Mappa de registar o Órgão" da Biblioteca Nacional de Portugal

Marco Brescia & João Vaz

28 de Setembro de 2023

Sociedade Portuguesa de Investigação em Música

Convento de Mafra - Portugal

4th International Conference - Architectures of the Soul

Music and the intangible heritage of the ancient Royal Monastery of São Bento da Avé-Maria in Oporto

Rosana Marreco Brescia, Gabriel Coronas & Maria Luiza Caldas

19 de Outubro de 2023

Instituto Universitário de Lisboa

Mosteiro da Batalha - Portugal

The ancient Royal Monastery of São Bento da Avé-Maria in Oporto was founded in 1518 and throughout the centuries became the most important female religious institution of the city. The great number of nuns and the good financial condition of the monastery at the end of the 18th and beginning of the 19th centuries made it possible for a flourishing music community to develop. Many of the music scores still preserved were commissioned and performed by the nuns themselves, thus showing the high artistic level achieved by the Benedictines of Oporto. With the extinction of religious orders, the convent disappeared in 1892, and its building was demolished to make space for the new Central Train Station. Despite the vanishing of the convent’s building from Oporto’s landscape, part of their intangible heritage was preserved in these music scores commissioned and performed by the nuns. The current proposal aims to address the research project entitled “Music in concertato style from the ancient Royal Monastery of São Bento da Avé-Maria in Oporto (1764–1834)”, which is currently supported by the Foundation for the Science and Technology of Portugal. The project intends to recovery the valuable music assets of the extinct monastery via the digitalisation of all the music scores preserved at the National Library of Portugal and the transcription of these scores in a critical musical edition, as well as undertaking other actions designed to inform the population about the intangible heritage of the city. These scores will be available online and with open access both to the original manuscripts and the modern editions, allowing musicologists and contemporary musicians to have access, study and perform this valuable musical collection, thereby promoting the legacy of the Benedictines from Oporto to future generations.

bottom of page