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Kurt Markstrom

(‘The Lovers on the Galley’)

Commedia per musica in three acts by Leonardo Vinci to a libretto by Bernardo Saddumene; Naples, Teatro dei Fiorentini, 3 January 1722.

Carlo (soprano) has deserted Belluccia (soprano) in Sorrento and run off to Naples, where he has fallen in love with Ciomma (soprano). Belluccia disguises herself as a man and goes to Naples in search of Carlo. Her disguise is so successful that both Ciomma and Meneca (tenor) fall in love with her. The capa y spada intrigue (Saddumene’s phrase for ‘cloak and dagger’) develops at length until it is resolved with the appearance of the galley captain Federico Mariano (bass), Belluccia’s father, who threatens to kill Carlo for betraying his daughter. Tragedy is prevented only by the magnanimous intercession of Belluccia. The appearance of Federico, a serious character who speaks in standard Tuscan, is typical of second-generation commedia per musica, which saw a gradual introduction of serious characters and Tuscan speech into the Neapolitan dialect comedy....



David Cummings

(b Mobile, al , Aug 17, 1949). American soprano. She studied with Elena Nikolaidi at Florida State University and made her début at the Houston Opera in 1975, as Donna Elvira. She has appeared widely in North America as Fiordiligi and Pamina, and as Giulietta in I Capuleti e i Montecchi...


Richard Langham Smith

(b Paris, April 2, 1840; d Paris, Sept 29, 1902). French writer. Brought up in Aix-en-Provence, he became a leading man of letters in the latter years of the 19th century, having a profound effect on the arts reaching far beyond the boundaries of his own work. He is celebrated as the leading figure in French naturalisme. His many expositions of his aesthetic emphasize that his accurate observation of real-life events was not an end in itself but rather a scientific basis underlying the creative nature of his art. ‘J’observe pour créer, non pour copier’, he stressed, in the belief that he could penetrate the depths of human nature only by seeing man acting in the society in which he lived. His concept of a series of linked novels – the Rougon-Macquart novels – was his major literary contribution in this respect.

His credo affected not only much other writing, visual art and theatre but also opera, providing a French alternative to Italian ...


David Flanagan

revised by Géza Gábor Simon and Barry Kernfeld

(Cornelius )

(b Visegrad, nr Budapest, June 13, 1927; d Townshend, VT, Jan 26, 1998). Hungarian guitarist. He grew up in a musical family and first studied violin and trumpet; he changed to guitar when he decided to make music his career. After playing in Budapest with Mihály Tabányi’s Pinocchio Ensemble (1946–8) he performed and recorded in Vienna, where he had spent a brief period as a double bass player in a pit orchestra, with Vera Auer (1948–54). In Frankfurt he played bop with Jutta Hipp (1954–5), whose group also included Auer. He followed Hipp to the USA early in 1956, but soon returned to Germany, where he worked with Hans Koller (April 1956–1959) and visiting American musicians, notably Oscar Pettiford (he occasionally played double bass while Pettiford played cello). In 1959 he was awarded a scholarship to the Lenox School of Jazz and moved to the USA. Following a short period with Chico Hamilton (...



Virko Baley

(‘The Golden Ring’)

Opera-drama in four acts by Borys Mykolayovych Lyatoshyns’ky to a libretto by Yakiv Mamontov after Ivan Franko’s novel Zakhar Berkut; Odessa, 28 March 1930 (revised version, L’viv, 29 April 1970).

The opera is set in the Carpathian mountains, where the Tukholtsi live. The son Maxym (tenor) of their leader Zakhar Berkut (bass) rescues, during a hunting expedition, Myroslava (soprano), daughter of the boyar Tuhar Vovk (baritone). The two fall in love. Vovk attempts to take over some public lands and is condemned and banished by the Tukholtsi; he sides with an invading Tatar horde, but is drowned when the Tukholtsi destroy a river barrier and cause a flood. Maxym, their prisoner at the time, perishes too, but is acclaimed as a hero for sacrificing his life for his country.

One of the most significant operas to come out of the Soviet Union in its time, Zolotyy obruch (sometimes known as ...


Howard Rye

Record label. It was founded in 1899 by Frank Seamon and was continued by Victor after that company took over Seamon’s National Gramophone Corporation. After 1910 the name was not used in the USA, but it remained in use in Britain (and was later also adopted in Australia) as the Gramophone Company’s cheap label. Much of the repertory was recorded in Britain and includes some of the most highly regarded British hot dance music of the 1920s; the catalogue also contained American material recorded by Victor. Following the setting up of EMI, Zonophone was merged in ...




William Ashbrook

(‘Zoraide of Grenada’)

Melodramma eroico in two acts by Gaetano Donizetti to a libretto by Bartolomeo Merelli after J.-P.-C. de Florian’s Gonsalve de Cordove, ou Grenade reconquise; Rome, Teatro Argentina, 28 January 1822 (revised version, Rome, Teatro Argentina, 7 January 1824).

The plot deals with the machinations of Almuzir (tenor) to marry Zoraide (soprano), the daughter of the king he has murdered and whose throne he has usurped. His attempts to dispose of his rival Abenamet (contralto en travesti), whom Zoraide truly loves, are ultimately foiled when Abenamet, as an unknown knight, wins a single combat to defend her, whereupon he forces Almuzir to confess his perfidy and then defends the usurper against the wrath of the populace. The grateful Almuzir permits Abenamet to marry Zoraide.

Abenamet was to have been a tenor role, but the singer assigned the part died during rehearsals and Donizetti was forced to recast the part as a ...


Graham Sadler

Tragédie en musique in five acts by Jean-Philippe Rameau to a libretto by (Jean-)Louis de Cahusac; Paris, Opéra, 5 December 1749.

* – original version only † – 1756 version only

Though produced with more than usual magnificence and a cast including Jélyotte (Zoroastre), Chassé (Abramane) and Fel (Amélite), Zoroastre had initially only limited success. Despite 25 performances it proved far less popular than Mondonville’s Le carnaval du Parnasse, staged during the same period. By May 1752 Rameau and Cahusac had begun an extensive reworking affecting the whole character of the work. This version, first given on 19 January 1756, was much more successful. It was revived with minor modifications on 26 January 1770 to inaugurate the Opéra’s Palais Royal theatre, rebuilt after the fire of 1763. The earlier version was staged at Dresden on 17 January 1752 in an Italian translation by Casanova, music by Johann Adam replacing most of Rameau’s.

As Cahusac pointed out, ...


Elizabeth Forbes

(b Amberg, Bavaria, March 31, 1828; d Weimar, Oct 16, 1899). German bass-baritone . He made his début in 1855 at Nuremberg and was then engaged at Hamburg, Hanover and, in 1865, at the Munich Hofoper, where he remained until 1880. He sang King Mark in the first performance of ...


Ian Mikyska

(b Brno, 13 March 1966). Czech composer, pedagogue, and writer on music, son of zdeněk zouhar. He studied composition at the Janáček Academy of Music and Performing Arts (JAMU) in Brno (with Miloš Ištván and alois piňos) and musicology at the Masaryk University, followed by post-graduate studies at the Hochschule für Musik und darstellende Kunst Graz (with Herman Markus Preßl and younghi pagh-paan) and JAMU. He remains an external pedagogue at both these institutions, as well as being active as a researcher at the Palacký University Olomouc (vice-dean starting in 2010), Ostrava University, and Masaryk University.

His brand of postmodernism is surprisingly respectful, using disparate materials in a serious manner, and generally staying with a few pieces of material for the duration of a piece or movement. Often composed in an additive, evolutionary structure, his works are sonically reminiscent of New York post-minimalism, but are very European in their approach to expressivity and emotional intensity. This approach includes both the intense rhythms of ...



Jan Fairley

A popular music genre of the Creole-speaking Caribbean, particularly Guadeloupe, Martinique, St Lucia and Dominica, but also Haiti and French Guiana. These regions share a similar French and British colonial past and are populated mainly by the descendants of African slaves. The term ‘zouk’ originated in Martinique where it was the common expression initially for a party, and later for dance parties. In the 1980s it became associated with the music of the group Kassav, whose members, from Guadeloupe and Martinique, now mostly live in Paris.

In zouk, musical influences can be so intermingled and disguised in complex arrangements that they are difficult to isolate. A music in perpetual transformation, it is a product of what Guilbault has described as the inter-island cross-fertilization of popular and traditional musics over a long period, part of a network of traditions (including African) with the imprint of many foreign influences. It has absorbed elements from Haitian ...


Elizabeth Forbes

(b Berlin, March 29, 1800; d Berlin, July 7, 1876). German bass . He sang in the children’s chorus of the Berlin Hofoper, then in the regular chorus and in 1819 took on small parts there. After an engagement in Budapest, in 1826 he joined the Königstädtisches Theater, Berlin, making his début as Gaveston (...


Walter Ojakäär

(Nikolayevich )

(b Moscow, Nov 15, 1936). Russian saxophonist and composer. Self-taught as a musician, he played clarinet in the brass band of the Moscow M. V. Lomonosov State University, where he studied physics (graduating in 1958), and tenor saxophone in the big band of the Tsentral’ny Dom Rabotnikov Iskusstva (Central house of artists; 1954–7). In 1956 he joined the octet Vosmoyrka, at that time the best jazz group in Moscow. Later he was a member of Oleg Lundstrem’s orchestra (1960–65) and the Kontsertny Estradny Orkestr Tsentral’novo TV i Vsesoyuznovo Radio (Concert variety orchestra of central TV and all-union radio). In 1967–8 he led two groups known by the name Crescendo – a quintet in which the vibraphonist Leonid Garin played in 1968 and a quartet. From 1974 to 1979 he worked with the ensemble Melodiya, and in the 1980s he was active as a freelance and wrote film music. In ...


Pavla Jonssonová

(‘Tooth and Nail’)

Czech rock group. Formed by university students in Prague in 1980 as Plyn (‘Gas’), with Marka Horáková (Míková; b 1959; piano, bass, vocals), Pavla Fediuková (Slabá, Jonssonová; b 1961; guitar, vocals), and Hana Kubíčková (Řepová; b 1961; drums, vocals). All of the members contributed songs in a punk, girl-band, dadaist fashion, playing college clubs and alternative music festivals. After Plyn was blacklisted, they re-formed under a new name as Dybbuk, and were joined by Kateřina Nejepsová (Jirčíková; b 1963) on the flute and saxophone, and Eva Trnková (b 1963) on the lead guitar. Their eponymous EP (Panton, 1987) was released during the communist era. Dybbuk disbanded in 1987.

In 1988 Míková started Zuby nehty with Slabá on the bass, Naďa Bilincová (1959−2011) on the guitar, and Tomáš Míka (b 1960) on the saxophone. In 1991 Dybbuk reunited to record their 1980s material on the album ...


(b London, Jan 28, 1793; d Bologna, Feb 1879). Italian bass. The son of an Italian father and an English mother, he accompanied his family to Italy in 1803 and for a time studied painting. He eventually studied singing with Crescentini in Bologna, and in 1816 made his début at Ferrara, going in the same year to Munich, where he was engaged at the Hoftheater. In 1819 he sang in operas by Rossini and Guglielmi at the Kärntnertortheater, Vienna, returning to La Scala for Rossini’s La pietra del paragone, L’italiana in Algeri and La Cenerentola, in which Rossini thought him the best Don Magnifico he had heard. On 26 December 1820 Zucchelli sang in the Rome première of Pacini’s La gioventù di Enrico V. In 1821–2 he appeared in Trieste and in the following season he went to London, where he performed in the English première of Rossini’s ...


Adriano Mazzoletti

(b Spilimbergo, Italy, 1911; d Asti, Italy, c1977). Italian guitarist and leader. He played guitar from the age of six. In 1934 he recorded as an unaccompanied soloist and in 1938 formed a group that later became the Quintetto Ritmico di Milano; this was modeled after the Quintette du Hot Club de France and included three guitars (of which Zuccheri played the lead), a violin (from ...


Sergio Durante

( fl 1678–85). Italian soprano . She sang in Venice in 1678 in Carlo Pallavicino’s Vespasiano for the opening of the Teatro S Giovanni Grisostomo. Thereafter her name appears only in librettos of Neapolitan productions, including the first performances of Alessandro Scarlatti’s Aldimiro, o vero Favor per favore and Psiche, o vero Amore innamorato...