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Dennis Libby

(b Milan, c 1720; d after 1766). Italian tenor . He made his début in opera seria in Venice in autumn 1737, then sang with the Mingotti company in central Europe, resuming his Italian career in autumn 1740 when he was quickly recognized as a leading artist with engagements in the most important theatres. In Venice he sang in Gluck’s ...

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( fl 1719–42). Italian choreographer and dancer . He was probably a native of Florence, since he is often cited in librettos as ‘Francesco Aquilanti, Fiorentino’ or ‘da Firenze’. His early choreographic work was concentrated in Venice, where he provided ballets for 17 operas at the Teatro S Giovanni Grisostomo (1721–34; including Leo’s Catone in Utica, Porpora’s Semiramide riconosciuta and works by Gasparini, Orlandini, Vinci and others), and for five operas during Ascension seasons at the Teatro S Samuele (1722–35; including Vivaldi’s Griselda). During this time he is also listed as a choreographer in Reggio Emilia (1725, Porpora’s Didone abbandonata) and as a dancer for opera productions in Turin (1727–8, 1729–30), along with Chiara Aquilanti who may have been his wife, sister or daughter. He spent two seasons in Naples as a choreographer, first for operas at the Teatro S Bartolomeo (1736–7...

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Philip Weller

( fl 1704–7). French soprano . After making her début at the Paris Opéra in 1704, as Venus and La Jeunesse in Destouches’ Le carnaval et la folie, she sang Iris in the revival of Lully’s Isis later that year. She created the role of Electra in Desmarets and Campra’s ...

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Dennis Libby

(b ?Rome, c 1720; d after 1755). Italian soprano . She is first found in comic opera in Naples in 1735–6, and was expelled from the kingdom for unknown reasons, probably her sexual conduct. She was seconda donna in opera seria in Parma in Carnival 1737 and rose to prima donna in Carnival ...

Article

David Cummings

(b Graglia, nr Vercelli, 1720; d Turin, Oct 28, 1757). Italian soprano. After study with Bravio in Milan she made her début at the Teatro Regio, Turin, in Il Ciro riconosciuto by Leonardo Leo (1739). She sang at the Teatro S Samuele, Venice, from 1739 and appeared with Caffarelli at the S Carlo, Naples (...

Article

Hans Joachim Marx

(bc 1700; d after 1726). German bass . He was mentioned in the Hamburg Relations-Courier (4 Dec 1724) as ‘the new bass Mons. Bahn’, who was billed to sing Argante in Handel’s Rinaldo at the Gänsemarkt theatre. He had previously made his début as Mars on 2 November in Giovanni Porta’s ...

Article

Michael Talbot

(b ?Venice, 1700 or 1701; d Venice, Feb 1, 1733). Italian singer . Having sung contralto roles in operas performed in the provinces from as early as 1720, she made her Venetian début in Vignati’s I rivali generosi at S Samuele in 1726. Her career was short; the last opera in which she is known to have appeared was Orlandini’s Adelaide (S Cassiano, Carnival 1729). A contract that she made with Vivaldi on 13 October 1726 shows her to have been a worthy seconda donna; for singing in only one opera (Vivaldi’s Farnace, given at S Angelo, Carnival 1726–7) she was to receive 200 ducats, payable in instalments before, during and after the performances. Her retirement may have been caused by her marriage to a Venetian spicer, Angelo Venzoli. She died from an injury sustained when a carnival booth in St Mark’s Square collapsed.

R. Giazotto: Antonio Vivaldi...

Article

Colin Timms

(b ?Massa; fl 1723–41). Italian singer . He was in the service of the Duke of Massa and Carrara in 1724–5, the Landgrave of Hesse-Darmstadt in 1729 and the Hereditary Prince of Modena from 1730 to 1736. He appeared in eight operas at Florence between 1723 and 1737 and 11 at Venice, 1724–37, including new works by Albinoni, Antonio Pollarolo, Orlandini, Vivaldi and Porpora. He also sang at Livorno in 1727 and at Naples in 1740–41. He may have been married to Teresa Baratta, who appeared at Florence and Venice in 1735–7, Naples in 1739–41 and Turin in 1742–3. She may possibly be identified (according to Weaver) with the soprano (Maria) Teresa Pieri, who performed at Florence (1727–32), Naples (1728–30 and 1740–41) and Venice (1734–5); if so, she appeared as both Baratta and Pieri in 1740–41.

R. L. Weaver and N. W. Weaver...

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(b Bologna, fl 1716–67). Italian singer. She is referred to in some programmes as Ferrarese – perhaps through confusion with her father, the bass Francesco Belisani – but is the ‘Belisania’ mentioned in the celebrated frontispiece of Marcello’s Il teatro alla moda. She sang in opera seria and pastoral dramas from 1716 (Armida abbandonata), mostly in works by the Bolognese composer G. M. Buini, whom she married in 1721, but parts were also written for her by Vivaldi (Gliinganni per vendetta, 1720), Chelleri, Orlandini, Brivio and others. From 1727 she styled herself virtuosa of the Prince of Hessen-Darmstadt, governor of Mantua.

G. F. Malipiero: Antonio Vivaldi, il prete rosso (Milan, 1958) S. Durante: ‘Alcune considerazioni sui cantanti di teatro del primo settecento e la loro formazione’, Antonio Vivaldi: teatro musicale, cultura e società: Venice 1981, 427–82 E. Selfridge-Field: ‘Marcello, Sant’Angelo and Il teatro alla moda’, ...

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Hans Joachim Marx

( fl c 1725). German soprano . She sang in Dresden before going to the Hamburg Gänsemarkt Opera in 1724. She made frequent appearances at the Hamburg Opera until 1726, under Telemann’s direction; her roles included Arethusa in Keiser’s Cupido (1724), Ursel in Keiser’s Der Hamburger Jahrmarkt (...

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Hans Joachim Marx

(b before 1700; d after 1735). German bass . The singer described as ‘Ms. Braun’ in the libretto of the Hamburg Gänsemarkt Opera (not to be confused with the Hamburg town musician Friedrich Nicolas Braun) appeared as a guest artist in 1722. Telemann, the new director of the Gänsemarkt Opera, probably engaged him in Brunswick. He is known to have sung in three operas in Hamburg that year, by Orlandini, Telemann and Keiser. He seems to have returned to the Brunswick Opera, where he is recorded in ...

Article

Franco Piperno

(b Florence; fl 1737–58). Italian mezzo-soprano . Initially a singer of intermezzos, in 1742 she married the bass Pietro Pertici, with whom she performed commedie per musica; as members of companies specializing in opera buffa the two contributed significantly to the wide success of the genre. Brogi took soubrette and leading juvenile roles in the highly successful comic operas of Auletta, Chinzer, Latilla and others. She worked mainly in Tuscany but also sang in Venice, Milan, Turin, Brescia, Mantua, Genoa and Bologna; outside Italy she appeared in comic opera in London (...

Article

Hans Joachim Marx

( fl c 1725). German tenor . He sang comic roles, such as servants or peasants, at the Hamburg Gänsemarkt Opera, 1722–8; he was also a dancer in opera performances. In 1722, under the composer’s musical direction, he sang Sancio in Telemann’s Don Quichotte der Löwenritter, and in 1725 he danced in Kunzen’s Singspiel ...

Article

(b Gubbio, c1700; d after 1740). Italian soprano castrato. He probably studied in Rome. When he made his first appearances (1717–22), in minor theatres in Ancona, Pesaro and Rome, he was called ‘virtuoso di casa Vallemani’. His first roles (some female) were minor, in operas by Venetian masters such as Lotti, Pallavicino and C. F. Pollarolo. He was in the service of the Este and the Farnese, 1725–31, also singing in Milan, Genoa, Turin, Florence, Perugia and Rome, in operas by Albinoni, Sarro and Vinci among others. In Venice he sang at the S Moisè in 1722, then in the 1729–30 season in cameo roles at the S Giovanni Grisostomo (in casts which included Nicolino Grimaldi, Cuzzoni and the young Farinelli) in fashionable works by Hasse, Giai and Riccardo Broschi. The peak of his career was between 1731 and 1736, when he was secondo uomo in Fano, Milan, Naples and again in Venice, mostly in works by Hasse, but also in Albinoni, Araia, Pergolesi, Galuppi, Leo and Vinci operas. Castori’s final appearances (...

Article

Philip Weller

[Fesch, Marie-Jeanne ]

(b Paris, Sept 12, 1722; d after 1789). French soprano. She was recruited for the Paris Opéra and sang her first major role (Cybele) in Lully’s Atys (1740). In addition to the title roles she took in Destouches’ Issé (1741 and 1757), Lully’s Armide (1746 and 1761), Alceste (1758) and Desmarets and Campra’s Iphigénie en Tauride (1762, with additions by P.-M. Berton), she created J.-M. Leclair’s Circe (Scylla et Glaucus, 1746), Rameau’s Erinice (Zoroastre, 1749), Zirphile (Acante et Céphise, 1751), Phoebe (revised version of Castor et Pollux, 1754) and roles in Dauvergne’s tragédies lyriques of the early 1760s. She appeared in numerous other operas, among these Bertin de la Doué’s Ajax (1742; Cassandra), Lully’s Thésée (1744; Medea), Marais’ La mort d’Hercule (1744, as restaged under Berger; Dejanira) and Campra’s ...

Article

Cook  

Olive Baldwin and Thelma Wilson

[Cooke] [first name unknown]

(fl 1701–18). English bass. He is named as the performer of a song in the musical periodical Mercurius musicus (1701), but his first recorded stage appearance was in 1703. He sang in revivals of both the Eccles and Leveridge Macbeth music. In the early operas in the Italian style he played the comic roles of Delbo in Clayton’s Arsinoe (1705), the satyr in Fedeli’s The Temple of Love (1706) and Brennus in Scarlatti’s Pyrrhus and Demetrius (1708). With the triumph of opera in Italian he appeared only in concerts until January 1715, when he was in The Island Princess. He remained on the stage until May 1716, singing Jupiter in Turner’s Presumptuous Love and the lion in Leveridge’s burlesque opera Pyramus and Thisbe. In 1718 he and his wife Mary, an actress and singer, were in Penkethman’s company at Greenwich....

Article

Franco Piperno

(b Naples; fl 1705–44). Italian bass. He was principal buffo singer in Naples when Leo, Sarri, Mancini, Hasse, Vinci and Pergolesi were composing there. After performing in comic operas at the Teatro dei Fiorentini he specialized in the intermezzo repertory from 1711 (Mancini’s Lidia e Ircano) to 1736 at the Teatro S Bartolomeo. When Charles III of Bourbon banned intermezzos from the royal theatre, Corrado continued his career in comic opera at the Fiorentini and the Nuovo theatres, and sang at the S Carlo on the only occasion that a commedia in musica was staged there (Auletta and Federico’s La locandiera in 1738). He visited Venice in 1725, singing Sarro’s L’impresario delle Canarie, and brought back the texts of many Venetian intermezzos which were then staged in Naples. He created the role of Uberto in Pergolesi’s La serva padrona (1733).

F. Piperno: ‘Buffe e buffi’, ...

Article

Franco Piperno

(b Bologna; fl 1726–59). Italian bass. He was a performer of comic intermezzos in Italy and Europe. From 1726 to 1735 he performed mainly in northern Italy in works by Hasse with Rosa Ruvinetti Bon, but when she married he began to work with other partners including Maria Ginevra Magagnoli and extended his repertory to include intermezzos by Pergolesi. He was largely responsible for their wide popularity, and also for introducing the duet ‘Per te ho io nel core’ (Flaminio, Act 3 scene x) to end La serva padrona instead of the original finale ‘Contento tu sarai’. Towards the end of his career he sang again with Ruvinetti Bon in northern and eastern Europe, in St Petersburg (1745–7), Dresden (1747), Berlin (1748–52) and Vienna (1759). They thus contributed to the diffusion of the intermezzos of Hasse, Pergolesi and Orlandini and laid the foundations for the success of ...

Article

Hans Joachim Marx

(b Brunswick, 1672; d Lüneburg, Jan 23, 1742). German tenor. The son of a cobbler, he received his first musical training from Franciscus Günther, Kantor of Brunswick, later studying composition with Johann Theile. From Lent 1700 to about 1705 he sang tenor parts for Mattheson at the Hamburg Gänsemarkt Opera; the young Handel was also a member of the company. Mattheson wrote that he had never met a singer more theatrically gifted or ‘who conducts himself more wisely, modestly, temperately, industriously, rationally and virtuously’, or one who had ‘a finer tenor voice and greater musical steadiness’. Dreyer described the Gänsemarkt Opera as a ‘school’ in Mattheson’s sense of the term; he and Mattheson shared the leading male roles in operas by Keiser, Bronner and Mattheson himself. He probably sang in the first performances of Handel’s Almira and Nero (both 1705). From about 1709 to 1713, Dreyer was one of the lessees of the Gänsemarkt Opera; then he became Kantor of the monastery of St Michael, Lüneburg, where he remained until his death....

Article

Carlo Vitali and Ulysses Roseman Jr

[‘La Todesca’]

(b Venice; fl 1727–45). Italian soprano of German origin . She married a German before 1726. For the 1727 Florence carnival season she sang in operas by Bencini and Vivaldi at the Pergola; she was virtuosa to Beatrice Violante, consort to Ferdinando de’ Medici. In spring 1727 she sang in Brussels in Antonio Maria Peruzzi’s company. During 1730–31 she sang minor roles at Count Anton von Sporck’s private theatre in Prague. After her return to Italy, she sang in Treviso and at the S Angelo, Venice (1731–2). She spent the following two years in Breslau and then joined the Bayreuth Hofoper, apparently retiring after 1745. A soprano of limited range (e′–f″) who was generally cast in secondary (and often male) roles, she excelled in pathetic and cantabile singing as suited to the unfortunate characters she usually portrayed, such as rejected lovers and political losers....