Visitatio Sepulchri - Gregorian Chant - Dramatical Celebrations for Passion and Easter in Padua Cathedral, 12th and 14th Century
The cities of Padua and Cividale, in northeastern Italy, preserve the most numerous and interesting testimonies concerning the dramatic representations that accompanied liturgical celebrations during the Middle Ages. In the cathedral of Padua, in particular, dramatized Offices constituted an enduring and extended practice which may be reconstructed thanks to a series of manuscript sources dating from the 13th and 15th centuries and preserved in the Biblioteca Capitolare of the Curia Vescovile: the Liber Ordinarius, ms. E57 (13th c. ) and the two Processionals, mss. C55 and C56 (14th-15th c. ). In the rich and variegated musical-liturgical repertoire of Paduan tradition, two items stand out for both dimension and quality: the chants intended for the Holy Triduum and the Visitatio sepulchri. During the celebration of the Easter Office, in fact, when the mystery of the Passion is revealed through the triumph of the Resurrection, the rites celebrated in the cathedral were transformed into veritable liturgical dramas, recited and sung by actors, and supported by a staging which was appropriate to the events enacted.