More than 700 Italian opera scores from the 18th century are preserved in the Ajuda Library, from the collections of the royal theatres. In 1750, during king D. José’s reign, a new cycle in the Portuguese music life arose, essentially streamed to the Italian operatic music. Some of the best Italian musicians and singers were hired to integrate the Royal Chamber, including many castratti, like the famous Gizzielo or the tenor Anton Raaf. Ballet dancers, costumes, instrumentalists and accessories, everything came from Italy, as well as the taste for the gifted vocal repertoire delivered by the castratti.
A music lover, D. Pedro III, King Consort married to D. Maria I – who was D. José’s daughter – promoted countless events and concerts in Queluz Palace, probably like the one that will be recreated by the contratenor Maarten Engeltje and PRJCT AMESTERDAM.