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date: 22 November 2019

Scarlatti family (opera)locked

  • Malcolm Boyd
  •  and Gordana Lazarevich

Extract

Italian family of composers and singers.

(b Palermo, May 2, 1660; d Naples, Oct 22, 1725). Composer, especially of vocal music. He was the most important opera composer of his generation in Italy.

There are good reasons for abandoning such epithets as ‘founder of the Neapolitan school of 18th-century opera’ which were regularly attached to Scarlatti’s name until fairly recent times. A considerable part of his working life was spent in Rome, and of the 66 operas he is known to have written (three of them in collaboration with other composers), over a third received their first performances in localities other than Naples, principally Rome and Florence. As far as both music and libretto are concerned, only one of his operas, Il trionfo dell’onore (1718), might be considered truly Neapolitan in character; the others are more representative of a pan-Italian style with its roots in 17th-century Venetian opera. Moreover, although J. A. Hasse probably studied with Scarlatti for a time, there is little in his operatic style, or for that matter in the style of native Neapolitans such as Leo, Vinci and Porpora (who might with some justification be said to represent a Neapolitan school), that can be shown to stem directly from the earlier composer....

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