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Ian Spink

(b Aberdeenshire, 1653; d ?Cambridge, after 1716). Scottish countertenor, composer and lutenist. The first occurrence of his name in official records is on 1 May 1679, when he was admitted ‘extraordinary’ then ‘in ordinary’ to the Chapel Royal. From the same time he is listed among the musicians of the King’s Private Musick as one of the lutes and voices and also as a violinist, though the latter post was probably a sinecure. Between ...

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John Whenham

(b 1623–8; d Bologna, 1699, before 28 Jan). Italian singer, composer and instrument maker. He was an Augustinian monk who was employed from about 1649 as a soprano castrato at the Este court at Modena. On 13 November 1660 he was appointed to the choir of S Petronio, Bologna, with a stipend of 50 lire a month; he was discharged on ...

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Keith A. Larson

(fl Naples, 1601–16). Italian composer and musician. He was mentioned by Cerreto (Della prattica musica vocale et strumentale, Naples, 1601/R) as one of a number of singers and instrumentalists in Naples. He published two volumes of music at Naples in ...

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Sergio Durante

( fl 1692–1706). Italian contralto castrato . His name first appears in a libretto in 1692 as Silandro in Pausania (composer unknown) at Crema, and he sang frequently thereafter in the principal Italian centres in lead and second-lead male parts. In Venice he appeared at S Giovanni Grisostomo in operas by C. F. Pollarolo (...

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Jerome Roche and Noel O’Regan

(b Rome, 1582; d Rome, Feb 7, 1652). Italian composer and singer, brother of Domenico Allegri. From 1591 to 1596 he was a boy chorister and from 1601 to 1604 a tenor at S Luigi dei Francesi, Rome, where the maestro di cappella...

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Tim Carter and Anne MacNeil

(b Milan, Jan 1, 1583; d Bologna, 1629–30). Italian actor, singer and poet, first wife of G.B. Andreini. When they married in 1601, Virginia and her husband formed the Compagnia del Fedeli, in which she assumed the role of prima donna innamorata. Her stage name derived from her performance in Giovanni Battista’s tragedy ...

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H. Wiley Hitchcock and Tim Carter

(fl 1582–1620). Italian soprano, lutenist and dancer, wife of Antonio Archilei . Probably a pupil of her husband, whom she married most likely in 1582, she was a protégée of Emilio de' Cavalieri in Rome and was with him in the service of Cardinal Ferdinando de’ Medici before he became Grand Duke of Tuscany in ...

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Galliano Ciliberti

( b Cascia Spolentina, Perugia, 1620/21; d Rome, Feb 7, 1697). Italian soprano castrato . One of the most celebrated singers of his day, he was active in Rome and sang oratorios by Carissimi at the Collegio Germanico Ungarico between 27 March 1638...

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(b ?Arizu or Arizcun, Navarra, c1593; d Madrid, May 15, 1648). Spanish composer and singer. Between 1601 and 1604 he entered the choir school of the Spanish royal chapel and studied with its vicemaestro, the composer Gabriel Díaz Bessón. On 1 January 1614...

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Almonte Howell

(b southern France; fl 1609–14). Spanish liturgist of French birth. A Dominican friar, educated at the monastery at Saint-Maximin-la-Sainte-Baume, Provence, he served as cantor in a number of houses of his order in France, Aragon and Castile, including S Pablo at Valladolid and finally S María de Atocha in Madrid. He was commissioned to prepare a new simplified processional for the Spanish Dominicans, ...

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(fl 1691–6). Italian singer. She is described in contemporary documents as ‘torinese’, although that may refer to her service in the court of Turin; she is also described as ‘ musica di camera to His Royal Highness of Savoy’ in the libretto of ...

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(b ?Amiens, c1590; d Paris, c1656). French composer and singer. Although his birthplace is not known, there were families bearing this name in Amiens; a member of one, a relative of the composer, served as mayor of the town. Aux-Cousteaux studied under Jean de Bournonville at the choir school of the collegiate church at Saint Quentin. From ...

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Olive Baldwin and Thelma Wilson

(fl 1692–6). English soprano and actress. She sang in The Fairy Queen at Dorset Garden Theatre in May 1692 and soon became Purcell’s leading soprano. In the Gentleman’s Journal for August 1692 Peter Motteux referred to her performance of Purcell’s italianate ‘Ah me to many deaths decreed’ in Crowne’s play ...

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( b ?Rome, 1638; d Versailles, 1740). Swiss boy (later castrato) singer , active in France. Son of one of Louis XIV's Swiss guards, Bagniera was a Page de la Chapelle (a boy singer in the royal chapel choir) noted for the ‘prodigious volume and extreme beauty of his voice’ (Bêche). Small stature and physical deformities may have been factors in his decision to persuade his cousin, a surgeon, to castrate him in a (successful) bid to preserve his greatest asset, his voice. When Louis XIV discovered what had taken place, he threatened Bagniera with banishment, but pardoned him after intervention by the Swiss guards who pleaded that his action had only been for the best interests of the king's music. Bagniera continued to sing both in the chapel and in court operatic performances (e.g. Lully's ...

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Siegfried Gmeinwieser

(b Crevalcuore, nr Bologna, c1650; d Rome, Dec 22, 1714). Italian composer and singer. He is first heard of on 20 October 1670 as an alto in the Cappella Giulia at S Pietro, Rome, which he served for the rest of his life. The account books from ...

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(b Florence; fl 1680–1717). Italian contralto castrato . The earliest reference to him is in 1680, when he sang in Le pompose feste di Vicenza (composer unknown) in Vicenza and the role of Tazio in P. S. Agostini’s Il ratto delle Sabine in Venice. In ...

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(b Gaeta, 1606; d Naples, July 15, 1656). Italian composer and singer. His teacher was probably G.B. de Bellis. On 19 December 1626 he joined the royal chapel at Naples as a bass and remained there until 1636. In March of that year he was admitted to the Congregazione dell'Oratorio with a salary for life for himself and his mother. He was music prefect in ...

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(fl Vicenza, 1600–40). Italian composer and singer. He apparently spent his career at Vicenza. He was probably a pupil of Leone Leoni, maestro di cappella at Vicenza Cathedral from 1588 to 1607, and certainly had connections at Vicenza by 1600, since his second book of canzonettas, dedicated from there, includes pieces by Leoni and his circle. The dedication of the first to Lorenzo Beccaria suggests that Baselli may have been in his service before ...

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(b Lovere; d Bergamo, 1639). Composer, organist and singer. He became a chaplain at S Maria Maggiore, Bergamo, in 1610 and sang in the choir until 1611. He was an organist at nearby Desio in 1628. In that year he published at Venice a volume of ...

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(b Lovere, 1593; d Bergamo, April 15, 1660). Italian singer, theorbo player, organist and composer, younger brother of Natale Bazzini. He studied at the seminary and at the Accademia della Mia at Bergamo, where he gained a reputation as an excellent singer. He studied composition with Giovanni Cavaccio and in ...