Kleen, Johan Christoph
- John Bergsagel
(fl mid-18th century). Danish composer. He was active as an all-round freelance musician in Copenhagen: he played the violin for a couple of seasons in the orchestra of the Italian opera, taught singing and music to actresses, composed and accompanied arias which one of the dancers sang in the ballets, and arranged and copied music for the earliest Danish operas. An Italian opera company had been called to Copenhagen by King Frederik V in 1747 but by 1756 it was apparent that opera in a foreign language did not command sufficient public support. A musically interested Norwegian dramatist in Copenhagen, Niels Krog Bredal (1733–78), was convinced that it would be possible to use the Danish language for opera ‘if only one took sufficient care, and especially avoided the use of foreign words’. In this venture he may have been inspired by Giuseppe Sarti, the most successful of the Italian composers who settled in Denmark; in any case Bredal’s first Danish opera, ...