Zonca [Zonka, Zonga], Giovanni Battista
- Robert Münster
(b Brescia, 1728; d Gámbara, nr Brescia, 1809). Italian bass . He was a successful singer in Italian opera houses from 1757, and in London, 1761–2. In 1763 he was hired by the Mannheim court of Elector Carl Theodor, where he particularly excelled in serious roles and also sang successfully in opera buffa. In 1769 he played at court a glass harmonica constructed by the court astronomer Father Christian Mayr. He was a guest performer at the Teatro S Benedetto in Venice in 1771. In 1778 he moved with the court to Munich, his last role there being Jupiter in Vogler's Castore e Polluce (1787). He retired to his estate in Gámbara in 1788. His final documented role was as Polpetta in Farinelli's La bandiera d'ogni vento (in Padua, 1800). Mozart commented favourably on Zonca's expressive singing in a letter of 27 December 1780, stating that he wished he had been able to create the part of Idomeneus for him. There is no conclusive evidence that he composed, although he may have written some of the works attributed to his brother (or uncle) Giuseppe Zonca. (...