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Article

Sergio Durante

[‘Il Luigino’ ]

( 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 (Tito Manlio, Marzio Coriolano, La fortuna per dote and Il Dafni). Galliard (1743), in the notes to his translation of Tosi’s treatise, indicated that he was a pupil of Pistocchi in the service of Emperor Josef I, but there is no record of such service. He served the Duke of Modena from 1694. Tosi cites him as Pistocchi’s successor only in terms of style. He was one of the best representatives of the generation of castratos after Pistocchi.

P. F. Tosi: Opinioni de’ cantori antichi e moderni (Bologna, 1723; Eng. trans. by ...

Article

(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 La pace fra Tolomeo e Seleuco by C. F. Pollarolo (1691, Piacenza). A singer of no particular distinction, she usually took second female parts. Among the most important productions in which she appeared were those at the Teatro S Giovanni Grisostomo in Venice, where she sang with the best singers of the time: G. F. Tosi’s L’incoronazione di Serse (1691) and C. F. Pollarollo’s Ibraim sultano, Onorio in Roma (both 1692), Rosimonda and Ercole in Cielo (both 1696) and L’Ulisse sconosciuto (1698). By 1695 Aureli had married the librettist Pietro d’Averara. She seems not to have been related to the Bolognese family of singers of the same name....

Article

(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 1682 he took the leading role in Legrenzi’s Ottaviano Cesare Augusto at Mantua, and from that year until at least 1693 he styled himself ‘musician to Ferdinando Carlo Gonzaga, Duke of Mantua’. From 1684 he sang in many Italian cities. In 1700 he appeared in Ariosti’s Lucio Vero in Florence (Pratolino) and in his La festa d’Imeneo in Berlin. From 1708 he was in Vienna in the service of the Emperor Joseph I, and he took part in the production of C. A. Badia’s Gli amori di Circe con Ulisse (1709) and the intermezzo Vespetta e Milo (1717; by A. Scarlatti and F. Conti) in Dresden. Tosi mentioned him (as Baron Ballerini) for his qualities as an actor, and in particular for his masterly execution of dramatic recitative....

Article

Philip Weller

(d 1688). French baritone (basse-taille). Recruited in Languedoc, he first sang in Paris in 1671, in Cambert’s Pomone (as Vertumne) and Les peines et les plaisirs de l’amour. He joined the Opéra in 1672. The Parfaict brothers (MS, F-Pn ) attributed the creation of the title role in Cadmus (1673) to Beaumavielle; Durey de Noinville (writing in 1753) to Gaye. The casts may have been different for the court and public performances, as in Bellérophon (1679), when Jobate was apparently sung by Gaye at St Germain but by Beaumavielle in Paris. Pluto (in Lully’s Proserpine, 1680) was similarly divided between them.

The principal basse-taille roles between 1676 and 1686 were taken mostly by Gaye, and later by Dun. Those sung by Beaumavielle included four in further works by Lully: Time (Atys, 1676), Jupiter (Isis, 1677), Phineus (Persée...

Article

(fl 1670–1707). Italian bass. His name appears first in 1670 in Milan, where he took the role of Giacco in Ippolita reina delle amazzoni, by Lodovico Busca, P. S. Agostini and P. A. Ziani. From 11 March 1678 until his dismissal on 15 January 1707 he was a virtuoso singer in the service of the dukes of Parma, Ranuccio II and Francesco I Farnese; he was also a musician of the church of the Madonna della Steccata Parma, from ...

Article

[Marianna] (Garberini) [‘La Romanina’]

(b Rome, ?1684; d Rome, Feb 26, 1734). Italian soprano. She first appeared in opera seria at Siena in Carnival 1704 (as Garberini Benti), first sang in Naples in 1706, Florence and Venice in 1707, and became one of the stars of the day. She apparently married Domenico (or Giuseppe) Bulgarelli near the beginning of ...

Article

Paola Besutti

(b Bologna; fl 1688–1719). Italian singer . She is first mentioned in 1688, when she sang Alvilda in Carlo Pallavicino’s L’amazone corsara, ovvero L’Alvilda regina de’ Goti and Lesbia in Giovanni Legrenzi’s Lisimaco riamato da Alessandro. She appeared with singers such as Margherita Salicola, Maria Maddalena Musi and Domenico Cecchi, and sang in many Italian cities, including Reggio Emilia, Modena, Ferrara, Parma, Milan, Naples, Casale, Udine, Venice, Verona, Genoa and Pesaro. She was still active in ...

Article

(b Brescia; fl 1682–1722). Italian tenor . He was in the service of Ferdinando Carlo Gonzaga, Duke of Mantua, and sang Herenio, Cibele, Pescatore and Neptune in Giovanni Legrenzi’s Ottaviano Cesare Augusto in 1682; he was among the ‘virtuosi’ of the court of Mantua at least until 1690 and again in 1700. He is named in three librettos in Naples between 1697 and 1698: in Aiace (C. A. Lonati, Paolo Magni and Francesco Ballarotti), Alessandro Scarlatti’s La caduta de’Decemviri and G. C. Bononcini’s Muzio Scevola; he is also named in one in Parma in 1700, as a musician of the emperor. He sang in many other Italian cities as well, including Milan and Venice. In the collection of Duke Francesco II d’Este he appears as the composer of a cantata for solo voice, Clorinda idolo mio (in I-MOe ), and was noted for singing cantatas by Ballarotti.

S Durante...

Article

Carlo Vitali and Juliane Riepe

[Giulietto ]

(b Rome, c1668; d Rome, Feb 19, 1755). Italian soprano castrato and composer. He was already a member of the Congregazione dei Musici di Roma in 1683, and in 1684 was in the cappella of St Mark’s, Venice; in the 1683–4 season he appeared at the Teatro di S Bartolomeo, Naples. He studied with Colonna (and possibly Pistocchi) in Bologna and in 1688 joined the Accademia Filarmonica and the cappella of S Petronio. Between 1683 and 1692 he was among the singers of S Maria Maggiore, Rome. In 1696 he took part in Perti’s Penelope la casta and Furio Camillo in Rome. During the following two years Cavalletti sang in Florence and Pratolino, and between 1698 and 1703 he was virtuoso di camera to the Duchess of Laurenzano. During this period he was granted leave to sing in Naples; at the Teatro di S Bartolomeo he performed in Scarlatti’s ...

Article

James R. Anthony

(fl 1690–1713). French haute-contre. According to the Parfaict brothers (Histoire de l’Académie Royale de Musique, F-Pn ), he was a small man with a long face and beautiful eyes whose voice was ‘assez gracieuse’. He began his career as a dancer, and made his début as a singer in 1690 as Envy in a revival of Lully’s Cadmus et Hermione. He created the roles of Don Pédro in Campra’s L’Europe galante (1697), Telamon in Campra’s Hésione (1700) and Apollo and Dardanus in Gatti’s Scylla (1701); he also sang the main roles in revivals of Lully’s Amadis (1701), Phaëton (1702) and Acis et Galatée (1702). In 1702 the partial loss of his voice, through illness, forced him to sing minor roles for the remainder of his career; in spite of this restriction, he sang more than 30 roles in 21 different operas between ...

Article

Philip Weller

(fl 1673–80). French haute-contre. Recruited in Languedoc together with Beaumavielle, he sang at the Paris Opéra in Lully’s Cadmus (1673, the Sun and First Prince), Alceste (1674, Admetus), Thésée (1675 and 1677; title role), Atys (1676 and 1682; title role), Isis (1677, Mercury) and ...

Article

Robert Münster

[Clementino; Hader, Clementin; Hadersberg, Clementin von]

(bc1655; d St Cloud, nr Paris, before Feb 14, 1714). Austrian soprano castrato. He served in Leopold I’s Hofkapelle in Vienna from 1672 to 1687. J. H. Schmelzer commented in 1678 that he had a good voice. He sang at the Munich court in 1682, and in Steffani’s Servio Tullio and Bernabei’s Ascanio in Alba, both performed in 1686 for the wedding of the Elector of Bavaria, Maximilian II Emanuel; he entered service there in 1687 and became the leading castrato. According to archival sources, it seems that he composed the three-act festive opera Eraclio, performed on 5 February 1690 for Leopold I’s visit. In 1692, after Maximilian became governor of the Spanish Netherlands, Clementin, now ennobled as Clementin von Hadersberg, was summoned to Brussels. He was held in great esteem by Maximilian and remained in the elector’s service during the latter’s exile (from 1704). His vocal range was ...

Article

Paola Besutti

(b? Milan or Bergamo; fl 1662–1718). Italian singer. His name first appears in 1662, when he sang at Piacenza in Isidoro Tortona’s Andromeda. His career was based in Parma, where he was in the service of the court from 1 July 1671 until 29 April 1718, apart from a period between ...

Article

Hans Joachim Marx

(b Dresden, c1680; d after 1719). German soprano. The daughter of a barber, she sang at the Hamburg Gänsemarkt Opera before 1700. Walther (1732) described her as ‘a virtuoso singer’ and ‘an excellent actress in the Hamburg theatre’. According to Mattheson, she knew scarcely a note of music; she learnt her music by heart from his singing to her. In his translation of Mainwaring’s biography of Handel (1761), Mattheson described her as ‘almost perfect in her beauty of person’, with ‘a remarkably fine voice’ and with a range a–d″ ‘at the same strength … this made her the most distinguished of female singers’.

In 1705 she made guest appearances, with Mattheson, at the Brunswick Opera. In 1706 and 1708 she sang at the weddings of the Prussian Crown Prince and the King of Prussia in Berlin, in Stricker’s Sieg der Schönheit über die Helden...

Article

Paola Besutti

[Checca]

(fl 1640–54). Italian soprano, sister of Margherita Costa. One of the most admired singers of the decade 1640–50, she owed much of her fame to her success at the French court between 1645 and 1647. She was in the service of Gian Carlo de’ Medici in Florence but in October 1644 left for Paris, where she was warmly welcomed by Cardinal Mazarin and the queen. During Carnival 1645 she sang in an opera performed privately in the Palais Royal and in Carnival 1646 she appeared in Cavalli’s Egisto. In Paris she also sang in Sacrati’s La finta pazza (1645) and in Luigi Rossi’s Orfeo (Eurydice), which had many successful performances between 3 March and 1 May 1647. She returned to Italy with letters of recommendation from Mazarin and was in Rome until 1650, when she went to Florence in the service of Leopoldo and Cardinal Gian Carlo de’ Medici. In ...

Article

[Margarita ]

(b Rome; fl 1629–57). Italian singer and poetess, sister of Anna Francesca Costa. Her rather chequered career as a talented courtesan led her from Rome through Florence (1629), Rome (1644), Turin (1645) and Paris (1647) before returning again to her native city; her patrons included the Medici (in particular, Grand Duke Ferdinando II), the Barberini and Cardinal Mazarin. Her rivalry with another Roman soprano, Cecca del Padule, was reputed to have inspired Domenico Mazzocchi’s La catena d’Adone (1626), although she did not take part in the performance. Costa’s numerous publications include poetry, letters, a comedy (Li buffoni, Florence, 1641), a libretto for a Festa reale per balletto a cavallo (Paris, 1647, with a dedication to Mazarin: it had been offered to Grand Duke Ferdinando II in 1640), and two opera librettos, La Flora feconda (Florence, ...

Article

Paola Besutti

[Galli, Antonio Pietro]

(b? Ferrara or Modena; fl 1661–1708). Italian bass. Known as Cottini during the early stages of his career, he is first heard of in 1661 in Florence, where he sang Zeffiro in Jacopo Melani’s Ercole in Tebe. In 1668–9 he was active in Hanover and he was in Ferrara in 1675 as a signatory to the dedication of M. G. Peranda’s oratorio Il sacrificio di Iephte. On 8 January 1676 he received the title ‘servant’ from Duke Ferdinando Carlo Gonzaga of Mantua, but when he performed in P. A. Ziani’s Attila in Milan on 19 January 1677 he styled himself ‘virtuoso of the Duke of Modena’. That year he also sang the leading role in Legrenzi’s Germanico sul Reno in Milan and Modena. In 1680 he was in Dresden and he subsequently performed in Reggio Emilia, Modena, Milan, Turin, Genoa and Venice. He was also an impresario and as such signed the dedications of operas performed at Modena in ...

Article

[Cecchino, Checchino]

(b Roman Campagna, c 1650; d Rome, late Nov or early Dec 1724). Italian soprano castrato . In Rome he served Cardinal Camillo Massimi until 1677 (hence his nickname). By 1679, when he sang in two operas in Bologna, he was based in Ferrara in the service of Marquis Ippolito Bentivoglio, under whose patronage he often appeared in the Venetian theatres of S Giovanni Grisostomo and S Salvatore; he also sang at St Mark’s. His Venetian period is marked by a close connection, both personal and professional, with Giovanni Legrenzi. In 1687 he entered the employ of Ferdinando de’ Medici in Florence, where from 1696 he sang in operas by C. F. Pollarolo, A. Scarlatti, Perti and others. His good looks and diplomatic abilities made him a powerful favourite; he was master of the revels and conducted court missions. The decline of his voice – which he admitted in his correspondence with Perti, ...

Article

Dennis Libby

( fl 1685–1729). Italian soprano castrato . He is first found in opera in 1685 at Modena, Reggio and Milan (listed as in the service of Marchese Luigi Canosa). In 1687–92 he was in the service of the Vienna court, also making appearances at Piacenza, Genoa and Parma in 1689–90...

Article

Philip Weller

( fl 1682–c1708). French soprano . She made her début in a minor role in Lully’s Persée (1682), and sang the confidante Sidonie to Le Rochois’ Armide in 1686. Desmatins herself sang Armide in 1703. Roles she created include Briseis (Lully and Collasse’s Achille et Polyxène, 1687) and Juno (Collasse’s Enée et Lavinie, 1690). In 1697 she played the first of the Hesperides in the prologue and alternated with Le Rochois in the title role of Destouches’ Issé;. She sang Medea in Lully’s Thésée in 1698 (a role sung previously by St Christophle and Le Rochois) and the title role in the 1699 revival of Collasse’s Thétis. In 1704 she created the title role in Desmarets and Campra’s Iphigénie en Tauride, took the title role in the revival of Destouches’ Didon and sang Io in the revival of Lully’s Isis. The following year she sang Lully’s Angélique (...