Neri, Michele Angiolo
- Robert Lamar Weaver
(b Pisa, c 1755; d ?Florence, after 1797). Italian soprano castrato . His first roles were Theagenes in Jommelli’s Achille in Sciro and Fausta in Anfossi’s Quinto Fabio at the Teatro delle Dame in Rome during the 1771 Carnival. When the Florentine impresario Giuseppe Compstoff took over at the Dame in 1772, Neri so impressed him that he took him back to Florence to sing in Gluck’s Orfeo ed Euridice at the Cocomero. Neri sang at the Pergola during the 1772 carnival in Mortellari’s Didone abbandonata and returned the following year. At this time he also studied in Florence, with Giovanni Manzuoli (Neri is sometimes called ‘il Manzuolino’), developing a ‘voice of silver’, according to a contemporary Florentine critic. He regularly sang in Lenten concerts in Florence (1772–96) and often in unstaged operas, such as Traetta’s Ifigenia in Tauride (Teatro di Porta Rossa, 1773).
Over the next decade and a half Neri’s reputation spread throughout Italy. In ...