(b c1758; d Torquay, March 8, 1821). English soprano and composer. She made her début in October 1775 as the little gypsy in May Day, a piece designed for her by Garrick with music by her teacher Thomas Arne. However, she had limited success as a stage personality and in 1780 she left Drury Lane to become a principal singer at fashionable London concerts and provincial festivals. She appeared in the Handel Commemoration concerts in 1784, when Burney praised the sweetness and taste of her singing, in the next three Handel festivals, the Concerts of Ancient Music, and concert series organized by Rauzzini, Ashley and Salomon. Her sister Theodosia (d Torquay, 4 Nov 1849), whose voice Mount-Edgcumbe described as the most beautiful contralto he ever heard, often sang with her. In 1783, the Public Advertiser, while admiring Harriett's solo singing, commented that the ‘Forte...
Olive Baldwin and Thelma Wilson
(b Albano Laziale, nr Rome, 1729; d Paris, 1800). French castrato and composer of Italian origin. Educated in Naples, he went to Paris in 1747 and soon found employment in the royal chapel of Louis XV. From 1752 to 1762 he was a prominent soloist in the Concert Spirituel, appearing frequently in performances of Pergolesi’s Stabat mater. He also performed duos with a pupil, Mlle Hardy (or Hardi), at these concerts. He apparently retired from public performance about 1764–5, and thereafter taught singing and composed solo songs and duos with various combinations of instrumental accompaniment. In 1774 he received a life pension of 2000 livres annually, equivalent to the total income from his royal appointments. His published works include several collections of airs for one or more voices (some in collaboration with Joseph Mongenot or with J.-G. Cardon and all but one published between 1767 and 1781), as well as some chamber music. He also wrote the music for two lyric scenes performed by the Petits Comédiens du Bois de Boulogne, ...
Dale E. Monson
[Scirolo, Sciroletto, Scirolino]
(b Martina Franca, Taranto, Oct 28, 1732; d Martina Franca, Jan 11, 1813). Italian soprano castrato and composer. His early musical training from his father, Fortunato (a notary and church singer), was followed when he was 19 by study with Gregorio Sciroli in Naples (thus his nickname). He made his début in Sciroli's Il barone deluso (1752, Rome). Until 1757 he sang in Naples (in the royal chapel, 1752–6, though librettos continue to list him in the service of the court until 1758), Turin and Rome (where in 1754–5 he became primo uomo); during the next few years he travelled, visiting Venice, Madrid and Stuttgart. After returning briefly to Italy, he was appointed primo uomo in Stuttgart for the period 1762–9 (with one Italian interlude), appearing in Jommelli's Didone abbandonata (1763), Demofoonte (1764) and Fetonte (1768), among other works, and enjoying a salary comparable to Jommelli's own. His brother Raffaele, a violinist, was also engaged at court. The depletion of the duke's ...
Percy M. Young
(b c1727; d London, bur. May 2, 1774). English composer and singer. He was for some time a lay clerk in Westminster Abbey and in 1754, 1758 and 1759 took part in the Foundling Hospital performances of Messiah under Handel. He was described in the subsequent list of Boyce’s Cathedral Music (1760) as organist of St Luke’s, Old Street, and All Saints, Fulham. Baildon’s best songs rival those of T.A. Arne and his music for ‘When is it best’, with which he won the Catch Club prize in 1763, was occasionally borrowed for the theatre by Arne and Stephen Storace (ii). In accordance with the spirit of the age Baildon sometimes parodied Handel, as for example with the extravagant figuration in ‘A Complaint’. The songs in the final version of The Laurel almost constitute a song cycle.
His brother Thomas Baildon (d London, 1 Oct 1762...
Olive Baldwin and Thelma Wilson
(b London, Sept 1, 1767; d Tottenhill, Norfolk, Dec 5, 1859). English composer and singer, daughter of François-Hippolyte and Maria Barthélemon. She went with her parents on their continental tour (1776–7) and sang before the King of Naples and Marie Antoinette. She repeated the scena which she had performed for them at her mother’s benefit concert in London in March 1778 and continued to appear with her parents as a singer, often in duets with her mother, and later as a pianist. She does not appear to have had an independent performing career or to have composed after her marriage to Edward Prentis Henslowe at St Mary’s, Lambeth, on 12 Dec 1797. Haydn was a friend of the Barthélemons and Cecilia treasured memories of his visits to them during his London years. She dedicated her keyboard sonata op.3 to Haydn and was a subscriber (listed as ‘Mrs Ed. Henslow’) to ...
(b Paris, 30 or Aug 31, 1748; d Paris, 1813). French singer and composer. Having specialized from the age of seven in soubrette roles in comedies, she made a successful début at the Paris Opéra on 27 November 1766, replacing Sophie Arnould in the title role of Silvie (P.-M. Berton and J.-C. Trial). She sang in many premières and revivals until her retirement in 1781, creating with Rosalie Levasseur the role of Iphigenia in Gluck’s Iphigénie en Tauride (1779), and although her talents were overshadowed by those of Arnould and Levasseur, she was considered an enchanting singer, actress and dancer.
Anacréon, a one-act opera and her first composition, received a private performance at the Brunoy residence of the Comte de Provence on 5 December 1781. Beaumesnil then achieved public success with her acte de ballet Tibulle et Délie, ou Les Saturnales (after L. Fuzelier: Les fêtes grecques et romaines...
(b Hlukhiv, 16/Oct 27, 1745; d St Petersburg, 24 March/April 4, 1777). Ukrainian composer and singer. The scantly documented facts of his life have to be gleaned from early biographies and contemporary accounts of performances in St Petersburg and Italy. He began his musical training early, possibly at the Hlukhiv choir school, a source of many singers for the St Petersburg court, or at the Kiev Academy. He reportedly began composing three- and four-part motets when still a boy. On his arrival in St Petersburg, probably in the first half of 1757, he was employed by the court of Peter III as a principal singer at the Oranienbaum theatre, where he played the role of Poro in Francesco Araja's Alessandro nell'Indie in 1759 and that of Ircano in Vincenzo Manfredini's Semiramide riconosciuta in 1760. (Uncertainty as to whether these were soprano or tenor roles has led to some doubt about his age at the time and hence about the ascribed year of his birth.) After Catherine the Great assumed the throne in ...
(b Milan, 1758; d after 1816). Italian singer and composer. He began a career as a baritone in Milan and Genoa and may have sung in Paris in the 1780s. Touring Germany in the early 1790s, he became court singer to the Prince of Nassau Weilburg and sang at the Berlin Königliches Nationaltheater from 1792. His performances in German (including roles in Mozart’s Don Giovanni and J.M. König’s Lilla, oder Die Gärtnerin) were criticized, but those in Italian comic operas by Paisiello, Sarti, Cimarosa and Astarita were highly praised. On 16 February 1794 his own serious opera Die Insel der Alcina (2, G. Bertati; manuscript in D-SWl ) was staged at the Berlin Hoftheater, and in 1796 his pastoral intermezzo Fileno e Clorinda was given in Charlottenburg and Potsdam. Bianchi remained a member of the opera buffa company at the Prussian court until late 1797, when Friedrich Wilhelm II died. He then visited various German cities and became co-director with Krüger of an opera troupe touring Thuringia. His ballets ...
(b Glinno, nr Poznań, April 9, 1757; d Warsaw, July 23, 1829). Polish impresario, librettist, actor and singer. He was a central figure in the history of the Polish theatre. He studied in Kraków (1770–73), where he attended many theatrical and concert performances organized by Sierakowski, prompting him to change the direction of his career away from the army and towards the theatre. He probably completed his studies at the Piarist school in Warsaw. For a few months during 1778 he studied acting with L. Montbrun, a Warsaw theatrical impresario. Soon afterwards he made his début as an actor in N.T. Barthé’s comedy Zmyślona niewierność (‘Imaginary Infidelity’), and on 11 July 1778 as a singer and librettist in the première of Maciej Kamieński’s opera Poverty made Happy. In 1783 he became the director of the National Theatre in Warsaw, remaining in this position (with some breaks) until ...
Jane Schatkin Hettrick
(b ?Russia,?1739/40). Italian composer and singer. She was the daughter of the (?Venetian) scenographer and librettist Girolamo Bon (Boni, Bonno, Bono, Bonn, Le Bon, Buon, Bunon) and the Bolognese singer Rosa Ruvinetti Bon. In 1743, at the age of four, she entered the Ospedale della Pietà in Venice as a pupil. She probably rejoined her parents at some time during their engagements at St Petersburg, Dresden, Potsdam and Regensburg between 1743 and late 1754. By 1755 she and her family were in Bayreuth in the service of Margrave Friedrich of Brandenburg Culmbach and his wife Wilhelmine, sister of Frederick the Great. After Wilhelmine’s death in 1758 music at Bayreuth declined. In 1759–60 the Bon family all sang in opera performances directed by Girolamo in Pressburg. On 1 July 1762 the three Bons were contracted to serve the Esterházy court of Prince Nicolaus at Eisenstadt, where Anna remained until at least ...
[Bortnyansky, Dmitry Stepanovich]
(b Hlukhiv, Ukraine, 1751; d St Petersburg, 28 Sept/Oct 10, 1825). Ukrainian composer, singer and music director, active in Russia. He began his musical training early, possibly at the Hlukhiv choir school, and in 1758 went to sing in the Russian imperial court chapel in St Petersburg, where he became one of Empress Elizabeth's favourite choirboys. Singled out for his unusual talent, he was trained in opera and eventually performed major roles in court productions: in 1764 he played the role of Admetus in H.F. Raupach's Al′tsesta.
During this period he studied composition with Galuppi. In 1769, after Galuppi had left for Venice, Catherine the Great sent Bortnyans′ky to further his studies there, with Galuppi. His first extant compositions date from his years in Italy: he composed three opere serie, two of them, Creonte (1776) and Alcide (1778), for Venice and the third, ...
revised by Kimberly Greene
(b London, England, March 20, 1774; d London, England, Feb 17, 1856). English tenor and composer. He made his debut as a boy soprano at Covent Garden in 1787. He sang in Europe after his voice broke, returning to England at the turn of the century, where he established a reputation as one of the country’s leading tenors. He traveled to the United States in the autumn of 1840 and, at the age of 68, “surpassed all expectations” with the “pathos, sublimity, power, and wonderful execution” of his voice. He appeared first in concert, with a selection of tenor and baritone airs from opera and oratorio mixed with popular ballads. His American operatic debut, at the Park Theatre in New York, was in Stephen Storace’s The Siege of Belgrade, and he went on to re-create many of his famous roles, in Charles Horn’s The Devil’s Bridge, Thomas Dibdin’s The Cabinet, and Weber’s Der Freischütz. At one point he astonished audiences and critics by appearing in seven demanding roles in less than two weeks....
James L. Jackman
(fl Bologna, 1748–9). Italian singer and composer. This minor figure in 18th-century comic opera is noted here mainly to distinguish him from his more illustrious predecessor, Giuseppe Maria Buini. Librettos refer to him as ‘bolognese’, but no relationship has been traced to either G.M. Buini or the singer Rosalba Buini. He sang in the 1748 production of Cocchi's La maestra in Modena. For Carnival 1748–9 in Bologna he reset the recitatives and ‘almost all’ of the arias in La virtuosa corteggiata da tre cicisbei ridicolo for performance at the Teatro Formagliari; the original opera was Li tre cicisbei ridicoli (text, V.A. Vasini; music, N. Resta; Bologna, 1748). The following autumn he did the same for Parma with Lo scolaro alla moda (apparently from the original A. Palomba–Latilla–Pergolesi work Orazio, Rome, 1738). He did not sing in either of these productions, the music of which has been lost. The attribution sometimes made to Matteo Buini of ...
Deanne Arkus Klein
(b Versailles, June 26, 1730; d after Aug 1792). French composer, harpsichordist and singer. The alternative first name Philibert apparently originated with Fétis. His father was head clerk of the royal house, and Cardonne began his career as a royal page, receiving music instruction from Collin de Blamont. He was a child prodigy; at the age of 13 a motet for large choir by him was performed before the king and at 15 he had an air tendre published in the Mercure de France (February 1746). His reputation quickly grew and pieces by him were included in the programmes of the royal chapel at Versailles and the Concert Spirituel. In 1745 he joined the royal chapel as singer and harpsichordist. During the 1750s he was a choir member at the Marquise de Pompadour’s theatre. There he was influenced by pastorales and ballets, and in 1752 his own pastorale ...
(b Dublin, May 1769; d London, Nov 8, 1800). Irish composer and singer. As a boy he showed such promise that the Earl of Inchiquin paid for him to study in Naples (c1788) where he was favoured by Sir William Hamilton. He went to Calcutta to be the theatre’s music director but had to return to England for health reasons. In 1793 he married Miss Wells of Cookham. When he died, the Gentleman’s Magazine (1800, p.1117) described him as ‘a victim, in early life, to the fatal ravages of the liver complaint’; he had been well known for the duets he sang with ‘his inseparable companion, Mr Maynard of Doctors’ Commons’.
No one so far has tried to distinguish his compositions from those of (Charles) Thomas Carter (i). He can have published little or nothing before his return from India, but he certainly published thereafter; it is significant that two Carter works are identified as op.26 (one is a piano sonata, ...
(b Fécamp, 1755; d Paris, Oct 1, 1793). French composer and singer. Italianizing his name to increase his chances of success, he joined the Académie Royale de Musique as a basse-taille in 1780, although judging by his most successful part, that of Theseus in Sacchini’s Oedipe à Colone, his voice was a tenor rather than a baritone. His taste was for serious opera (he was a fervent admirer of Gluck), but his only contribution to the repertory of the Opéra was to write the recitatives and some cavatinas for a French adaptation of Paisiello’s Il re Teodoro in Venezia (as Le roi Théodore à Venise, 1787). La ruse d’amour, produced at the Théâtre des Beaujolais, brought that small theatre its first real success ten months after it had opened. In this work, as in Le pouvoir de la nature, the other of his operas available in score, Chardiny sought to compete with the opéras comiques produced at the Comédie-Italienne. Later he was employed as an arranger for the Théâtre du Vaudeville (from ...
Rodney Slatford and Marita P. McClymonds
[Giovanni Battista; J.B.
(b Venice, 1761; d Bath, Feb 27, 1805). Italian composer, singer, violinist and music publisher. Born of a noble family, he studied the violin, cello and piano. In 1789 his Ati e Cibele, a favola per musica in two short scenes, was performed in Venice. This was soon followed by Pimmalione, a monodrama after Rousseau for tenor and orchestra with a small part for soprano, and Il ratto di Proserpina. Choron and Fayolle reported that, dissatisfied with Pimmalione, Cimador burnt the score and renounced composition. Artaria, however, advertised publication of the full score in 1791 in Vienna and excerpts were published later in London. The work achieved considerable popularity throughout Europe as a concert piece for both male and female singers, being revived as late as 1836. While still in Venice he wrote a double bass concerto for the young virtuoso Dragonetti; the manuscript survives, together with Dragonetti's additional variations on the final Rondo, which he evidently considered too short....
Roger J.V. Cotte
(b Lyons, May 13, 1735; d Lyons, Aug 29, 1821). French amateur violinist, singer and composer. He was active in Lyons as a pattern-designer and dealer in embroidered goods, as an official clerk and as musical director of the city (from 1794 or 1795). After the Revolution he became music instructor to the Duchesse d'Aumont in Paris (at the same time serving as corresponding member of the Lyons Academy), and later returned to Lyons, where he served on the directorial board of the conservatory. He was known as a gifted violinist, and composed harpsichord pieces, romances, a set of Trois duos concertants de violon et fugues (Paris, n.d.), a revolutionary hymn for the Rousseau celebrations at Lyons (14 October 1794) and some theatrical music (including an opéra comique, Le médecin de l'amour, and an overture to La Harpe's Mélanie). His only extant music, however, is that for which he is most famous, the instrumental interludes to Rousseau's melodrama ...
(b Urbania, Feb 2, 1762; d Naples, April 24, 1846). Italian soprano castrato and composer. After his studies in Bologna under Lorenzo Gibelli he made his début in 1776, in Fano, in female roles, then in Pisa (1777) and Rome (1778–9). In 1781 he played, for the first time, the role of primo uomo in Treviso. He sang in Naples (1787–9) and in the most important Italian theatres, in London (1785) and from 1798 to 1803 in Lisbon, where he was also manager of the Teatro de S Carlos. He sang in the first performances of Catone in Utica by Paisiello (1789, Naples), Amleto by Andreozzi (1792, Padua) and Gli Orazi ed i Curiazi by Cimarosa (1796, Venice). In 1805 he was in Vienna and from 1806 to 1812 in Paris at Napoleon I’s court as singing teacher to the royal family. When he returned to Italy he was appointed singing teacher at the Bologna Conservatory and from ...
Jane L. Berdes
( fl second half of the 18th century). Italian instrumentalist, singer and composer . She was a member of the coro (music school) of the Ospedale della Pietà in Venice during the tenure of the music director Bonaventura Furlanetto. Her patrician surname indicates that she was not a foundling, as were most of the wards of the Pietà, but an external pupil who either paid tuition or had been awarded a scholarship. (The music school had been founded in the late 17th century to train girls as musicians and was later reserved exclusively for daughters of the nobility.) Da Ponte is one of five composers so far identified among the members of the coro at the Pietà. Her known works are an unpublished set of four dances in a collection of monferrine (Piedmontese dances) composed in about 1775. (The manuscript is in I-Vc , correr esposti, 72 no.30, 305–8).J.L. Baldauf-Berdes...