Clara Viloria Hernandez
Traveling with Theatrical Baggage: Queens, Mobility, Opera and Early Modern Courts
Clara Viloria Hernández is a Spanish musicologist who specializes in theatrical music and opera in the seventeenth century, with a particular focus on migrations and mobility. She completed her undergraduate and Master's degrees, with a final thesis on the Italian madrigal, at the University of Valladolid in Spain and pursued professional violin studies at the conservatory of that city. She has worked and trained in the field of music management in France (Centre de Musique Baroque de Versailles, Le Concert d'Astrée). She has subsequently received research grants to work at the National Library of Spain and at the Complutense University of Madrid. In 2018 she began her doctoral studies at Harvard with a scholarship from La Caixa.
This project investigates how the mobility of aristocratic women and other cultural agents influenced the development of the arts in ways that created both local and pan-European theatrical genres and musical styles. Although they are regularly written out of (or incorporated into) patrilineal histories of ruling houses, noble women were often of foreign birth and highly mobile as a group: their forced displacement to new lands created a robust network that sustained the mobility of artists and musicians in their entourages and others who sought opportunity abroad through the clientage systems of court society. Spain is an excellent example: at the beginning of the seventeenth century, Spain exercized considerable geopolitical hegemony, and in order to retain this power, Habsburg princesses were regularly married off into the most powerful families of Europe. Peace treaties and alliances were sealed with marriages, for which infantas, princesses, and other young aristocrats moved from Madrid to Vienna and Paris. These marriages incited other parallel migrations as artists, musicians, and diplomats moved with these women, contributing to internationality, cultural exchange, and the creation of new artistic languages.