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Winton Dean

(b c1741; d after 1779).?English mezzo-soprano and harpsichordist. She may have been the daughter of a Mrs Frederica who sang in the pasticcio opera L’incostanza delusa at the New Theatre in the Haymarket early in 1745. Cassandra was an infant prodigy as a harpsichordist; she played Handel keyboard concertos for her own benefit at the New Haymarket on 10 April 1749 at the reputed age of five and a half, and at Hickford’s Room on 29 April 1750. She and her mother gave two concerts at Amsterdam in July 1750. She studied singing under Paradies, and was engaged by Handel for his oratorio season of 1758, when she appeared in revivals of The Triumph of Time and Truth (Deceit), Belshazzar (Daniel), Jephtha (Storgè), Judas Maccabaeus (Israelite Man) and Messiah. On the last day of 1757 Lord Shaftesbury wrote that Handel ‘has just finished the composing of several new songs for Frederica his new singer, from whom he has great expectations’. These were the five additional songs (adapted from opera arias) first sung in ...

Article

Winton Dean

(b ?Cremona, c1723; d Chelsea, Dec 23, 1804). Italian mezzo-soprano. After singing in Bergamo in 1742, she was engaged for the 1742–3 Italian opera season in London, appearing at the King’s Theatre in Brivio’s Mandane, Galuppi’s Enrico and Sirbace and Porpora’s Temistocle (she took male parts in all four operas). In 1745 she was in a pasticcio, L’incostanza delusa, at the New Haymarket Theatre, but she made her name in Handel’s Covent Garden oratorio seasons from 1747 to 1754. She appeared first in revivals of the Occasional Oratorio and Joseph. On 1 April, 1747 she sang the Israelite Man and Second Israelite Woman at the première of Judas Maccabaeus and made such a hit in the air ‘’Tis liberty alone’ that, according to Burney, ‘she was not only encored in it every night, but became an important personage, among singers, for a considerable time afterwards’. Handel composed parts for her in ...

Article

Michael Dubiaga Jr

(Antonio)

(b Verona, Dec 30, 1741; d Verona, Jan 4, 1809). Italian composer and singer. He entered the choir school at Verona Cathedral in March 1755 where, in addition to the academic curriculum, he studied plainsong and counterpoint under the maestro di cappella Daniel dal Barba. After his ordination he joined the chapter choir as cappellano and from 1775 was a bass in the cathedral choir. In addition to clerical duties at a local church, he probably served as apprentice to Dal Barba. In December 1779 Giacometti assumed full teaching responsibilities at the choir school and was accorded rights of succession to the cathedral position on Dal Barba’s death. From 1789 he was the leading composer at the cathedral, where he continued in service until the end of his life.

Of special interest among Giacometti’s compositions are an expressive Benedictus Dominus Deus Israel and the virtuoso lectiones for Holy Week in which simple recitative sections alternate with florid solo passages. A small instrumental complement of two violas and violone is often used in his choral music; full orchestral ensembles were used only in pontifical celebrations. A facile declamatory style with little melodic inventiveness prevails in many works, especially his responsories, but occasionally contrasts of key and metre create striking effects. Giacometti’s compositions retained popularity into the 19th century; in Spagnolo’s opinion he ‘was justly considered the most skilful composer of his time’....

Article

Olive Baldwin and Thelma Wilson

(d Kensington, London, bur. Aug 28, 1784). English soprano, actress and dancer. The daughter of a Jewish merchant (or tavern keeper) she made her début as Polly in The Beggar’s Opera at the newly opened Covent Garden Theatre in December 1732, with a run of 20 nights in succession. She played Deidamia in Gay’s posthumous ...