Titian: Venus and Adonis (c. 1555 – 1560)
A little naughty music: Early Music Guild explores Restoration England
By Melinda Bargreen [Seattle Times, 6 Feb 05]
It may not have been the best of times or the worst of times, but it was certainly among the naughtiest of times.
Restoration England, which marked the end of Cromwell’s Puritan regime with the accession of merry monarch Charles II, was an era that makes Paris Hilton seem like a convent girl and “Sex and the City” like a school picnic. In Charles II’s reign, all the prohibitions of Cromwell’s era were repealed; the theaters were reopened, low-cut lace replaced buttoned-up wool, and the royal motto was evidently “thou shalt party hearty.”
A rarity of that era, John Blow’s “Venus and Adonis,” was premiered around 1683 before the king and his courtiers, with one of the king’s many concubines portraying Venus. (That was Moll Davis, a well-known actress and singer dubbed “the most impertinent slut in the world” by Puritan chronicler John Evelyn.) The role of Cupid went to Lady Mary Tudor, the love child of Moll Davis by Charles II.
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