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date: 04 April 2020

Guadagni, (Cosimo) Gaetanolocked

  • Gerhard Croll
  • , revised by Irene Brandenburg

Extract

(b Lodi, Feb 16, 1728; d Padua, Nov 11, 1792). Italian alto castrato, later soprano. In 1746 he travelled from Cremona, by way of Mantua, to Padua, where in the summer he took up employment as an alto at the cappella of S Antonio; in autumn of that year he sang at the Teatro S Moisè, Venice. In the 1748–9 season he was engaged by the Haymarket Theatre, London, as a member of Croza’s company of comic singers. Handel, whose attention he had caught, transferred to him the parts in Messiah and Samson originally written for Susanna Cibber and wrote for him the part of Didymus in Theodora (1750). Burney claimed to have been of assistance to him in studying his roles; he later depicted Guadagni’s voice as a ‘full and well-toned countertenor’, adding that during his first stay in England Guadagni ‘was more noticed in singing English than Italian’. As an actor Guadagni was greatly influenced by Garrick, who ‘took great pleasure in forming him’. Micah’s aria ‘Return, oh God of hosts’ (...

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