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Boccherini, Giovanni Gastone locked

  • Gabriella Biagi Ravenni

(b Lucca, Feb 5, 1742; d after 1798). Italian librettist, dancer and choreographer. A brother of Luigi Boccherini, he made his début as a dancer in Venice in 1757, but his major successes were achieved in Vienna between 1759 and 1767 (for example, Noverre’s revived Médée et Jason) and from 1769 to 1771. He used this success to begin a career as a librettist; he was a member of the Accademia dell’Arcadia (with the name of Argindo Bolimeo) and published a collection of sonnets. His libretto Turno, re dei Rutoli, a dramma tragico (Vienna, 1767), was never set to music, but reveals a progressive approach to drama; its commendation by Calzabigi, appended to the libretto, led to contact with Salieri, who set to music most of Boccherini’s subsequent librettos. These reveal a talent for pantomime and choreography, and handle theatrical conventions with ease. From 1772 to 1775 he was artistic director of the Burgtheater; he was in Spain in 1781 and was librettist, choreographer and superintendant at the Caños del Peral theatre in Madrid from 1796 to 1798.

Writings

  • Le donne letterate (commedia per musica), Salieri, 1770; L’amore innocente (pastorale per musica), Salieri, 1770; Don Chisciotte alla nozze di Gamace (divertimento teatrale), Salieri, 1770; La fiera di Venezia (commedia per musica), Salieri, 1772; I rovinati (commedia per musica), Gassmann, 1772; La secchia rapita (dramma eroicomico), Salieri, 1772; La casa di campagna, Gassmann, 1773; Cleopatra (os); L’ungarese innamorata (operetta); Le belle amiche (operetta)

Bibliography

  • DBI (C. Mutini)
  • ES (U. Rolandi)
  • E. Lazzareschi: ‘Nota di documenti sulla famiglia Boccherini conservati nel R. Archivio di Stato in Lucca’, Lucca a Luigi Boccherini (Lucca, 1927), 10–11
  • A. Della Corte: Un italiano all’estero: Antonio Salieri (Turin, 1936), 104–15
  • E. I. Luin: ‘Italiani per il mondo: Giangastone Boccherini’, Rivista italiana del teatro, 7 (1943), 63–6
  • G. Arrighi: ‘Giovan Gastone Boccherini’, Lucca: rassegna del Comune, 6 (1962), 13–23
  • G. de Rothschild: Luigi Boccherini: sa vie, son oeuvre (Paris, 1962; Eng. trans., 1965)
  • G. Biagi Ravenni: ‘Calzabigi e dintorni: Boccherini, Angiolini, la Toscana e Vienna’, La figura e l’opera di Ranieri de’ Calzabigi: Livorno 1987, 29–71
Dizionario biografico degli italiani (Rome, 1960-)