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date: 24 January 2020

Arnaboldi, Cristoforo [‘Il Comaschino’]locked

  • John Rosselli


[‘Il Comaschino’]

(b Como, c 1750–55; d after 1798). Italian castrato singer. Most of his career was spent in Russia. He sang the female leads in three successive seasons at the Teatro Argentina, Rome (1772–4), starting with Anfossi’s Alessandro nell’Indie, then appeared in Venice and Vienna, and reached St Petersburg in 1778. From 1780 to 1789 he was a leading singer at the court theatre, where he sang Orpheus in the Russian première of Gluck’s Orfeo ed Euridice (1782); he created Peter in Paisiello’s oratorio La passione di Gesù Cristo (1783). He retired in 1789 but stayed on until 1794 in Moscow; in 1795 he was at the court of the king of Poland. While based in Russia he made several trips abroad to recruit singers and buy materials for the imperial theatres. Mooser deduces (perhaps wrongly) that he pimped for the foreign minister, Alexander Bezborodko. On his return to Italy he bought lands formerly belonging to the noble Visconti family. No description of his singing appears to be known....

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