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Dennis Libby

(b ?Naples, c1730; d after 1797). Italian soprano castrato. He began in opera seria at Rome during Carnival 1747 in secondary roles and sang as primo uomo from Carnival 1749 at Palermo. In 1757–9 he was in London, where Burney was not impressed, calling him ‘an uncertain singer, and an affected actor, with more taste than voice’. In ...

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Dennis Libby

(fl 1776–88). Italian soprano. She was engaged, apparently without prior experience, as prima donna in London in 1776, and proving unequal (though according to Burney ‘young, handsome, and possessed of a voice uncommonly clear, sweet and powerful’) was demoted to seconda donna, remaining until 1778. Between 1780 and ...

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(b early 18th century; d 1754). French composer and singer, possibly the sister or daughter of Honoré-Claude Guédon de Presles. She worked at the Paris court theatre as a singer, actress and composer under the name ‘Mlle Guédon’. From 1748, when she appeared in the entrée La vue from Mouret’s Le triomphe des sens, she sang many secondary roles at the Théâtre de la Reine. More notable operas in which she appeared were Collasse’s Thétis et Pélée, Mouret’s Les amours de dieux and Campra’s Tancrède (all 1748), and Lully’s Bellérophon (1749). Her name also appears in details of three opera performances in the dauphine’s salon: Lully’s Armide in 1749 and Campra’s Hésione and Lully’s Phaëton (both 1750). Other performances in which she sang included Campra’s L’Europe galante (1750–52), Les élémens by Lalande and Destouches and Lully’s Roland (both 1751), and lastly ...

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John Rosselli

(fl 1790–1814). Italian impresario. He had already had experience as impresario at Genoa when in 1798 he took on the management of La Scala, Milan, under the republican regime installed by Napoleon. He remained in charge until 1814 (with a brief hiatus caused by the French retreat in 1799), with a series of partners including Barbaia. Thanks to wartime prosperity in Milan from 1802, and to the decision of the Napoleonic government to reintroduce a gambling monopoly centred on the opera house, he enjoyed large profits, some of which he invested in lavish productions of opera and ballet, employing Rossini, the librettist Felice Romani, the scene designers Paolo Landriani and Alessandro Sanquirico, and the choreographer Salvatore Viganò; these established La Scala as the leading Italian opera house. When the new Austrian government forbade gambling, in 1814, Ricci, who had invested large sums in property, retired.

J. Rosselli...

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Colin Timms

( fl 1757–?85). Italian soprano . She seems to have made her début in Venice, where she sang in 12 operas (1757–9 and 1763–4), including Piccinni’s La buona figliuola maritata. She may have been the Ristorini who appeared in several operas and concerts in London in 1770–71 (at the King’s Theatre) and in ...

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( fl 1750–89). Italian tenor . He specialized in buffo roles. His first known appearance was in 1750 at Stuttgart, but during the early part of his career his main centre of activity was Venice, where he sang in 11 operas in 1758–9, 1763–4 and 1773. After performances in Reggio (1774), Parma, Modena, Warsaw and Copenhagen he moved to St Petersburg, his base for a decade.

On 13/24 November 1780 he sang in a work in honour of Catherine II, and shortly afterwards he joined the Italian troupe at court as buffo secondo. He may be the tenor whom Paisiello described, in a letter of about 1781, as ‘comparable à Grimaldi, mais qui remplit encore les rôles de grand comique, et qui chante bien’, for in the following year he appeared as Marchese Cicala in Paisiello’s Dal finto il vero. He left St Petersburg when his contract expired in ...

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Paul Cauthen

( fl mid-18th century). Italian librettist . He took religious vows and spent most or all of his life in Rome; in his printed librettos he is usually identified as ‘Abate Gaetano Roccaforte, romano’. All eight of his known librettos were first performed in Rome. He appears to have acted as resident librettist and impresario at the Teatro Argentina during the 1746 and 1747 opera seasons. Three of his librettos enjoyed some degree of success: Caio Mario, Antigona and Tito Manlio were each set many times. The most successful settings were Galuppi’s Antigona and Jommelli’s Cajo Mario, each of which was revived at least a dozen times.

See also Caio Mario and Tito Manlio .

Tito Manlio (os), Manna, 1742 (Jommelli, 1743; Abos, 1751; Latilla, 1755; Cocchi, 1761; P. A. Guglielmi, 1763; Borghi, 1780; Giordani, 1784; Tarchi, 1791); Cajo Mario (os), Jommelli, 1746 (G. Scarlatti, 1755; Piccinni,?1757; Galuppi, 1764; Scolari, 1765; Anfossi, 1770; ...

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Dennis Libby

(b ?Faenza, c 1750; d ?Bologna, after 1812). Italian soprano castrato . A singing pupil of Gibelli in Bologna, he first sang in opera seria at Parma in 1767 and was then secondo uomo at Munich (1768–71), rising to primo at Mannheim (1772–6). In 1777–1803...

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Sybil Rosenfeld

(b London, 1743; d London, March 3, 1801). English scene painter. Born Michael Rooker, he was the son of Edward Rooker, a famous harlequin at Drury Lane. Paul Sandby instructed him in drawing and landscape painting. He was a scene painter at the Little Theatre in the Haymarket under George Colman the elder and later under the younger, 1779–97; when he lost his job there, reportedly because he refused to help with the manager’s debts, his health was affected. Rooker’s work on comic operas was confined to the music of Samuel Arnold, beginning with Summer Amusement (1779); the last solo work was Auld Robin Gray (1794), though he collaborated with Marinari on Zorinski (1795). For The Battle of Hexham (1789) he supplied nine scenes, of which one, for a camp, is in Paul Mellon’s collection at Upperville, Virginia (reproduced in Rosenfeld ...

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(b Bologna, fl 1730–62). Italian soprano . She first appeared in Bologna, in commedie per musica by G. M. Buini (Il podestà di Colognole and La maschera levata al vizio) and also in opera seria, but she soon began to specialize in comic intermezzos, especially those by Hasse, and almost always with the bass Domenico Cricchi. In 1735 she married Girolamo Bon, a painter, stenographer, librettist and leader of a troupe of actors; with him and Cricchi she performed in Russia (St Petersburg, 1745–7), Germany (1748–62) and then Hungary, in the service of Prince Paul Anton at Eszterháza from 1762. There she met Haydn and influenced the work he produced during those years (La canterina, Lo speziale, Le pescatrici and L’infedeltà delusa).

G. Lazarevich: ‘Haydn and the Italian Comic Intermezzo Tradition’, Joseph Haydn: Vienna 1982, 376–86 F. Piperno: ‘Note sulla diffusione degli intermezzi di J. A. Hasse’, ...

Article

Elizabeth Forbes

(b c1798; d 1836 or later). Italian bass. In 1830 he sang Ernesto in Bellini’s Il pirata at Trieste. In 1832 he sang Rodolfo (La sonnambula) at the Teatro della Pergola, Florence, and took part in Donizetti’s Otto mesi in due ore at the Teatro Valle, Rome. He sang Cardenio in Donizetti’s ...

Article

[Francesco ]

(d Lisbon, Jan 18, 1775). French choreographer and dancer . His name first appears as ‘Mons. Soutter’, ballet-master for the 1738–9 opera season at the S Giovanni Grisostomo, Venice: his first opera was Rinaldo di Capua’s Farnace. Except for a three-year period in Stuttgart (1758–61), where he immediately preceded Noverre and choreographed three Jommelli operas, Sauveterre worked in Italy until 1766, creating ballets for operas in Padua (1740), Turin (1740–41, 1749–50), Florence (1743–4, 1746–7), Milan (1746, 1748, 1752–3, 1755–6, 1763, 1765), Reggio Emilia (1741, 1750–51, 1753, 1755), Naples (1742, Leo’s Andromaca), Rome (1749), Bologna (1756) and Venice (1749, 1740–51, 1763–6). Sacchini, Paisiello and Guglielmi are among the composers with whom he worked. In 1766 Sauveterre accompanied his student, Pietro Colonna, to Lisbon, and was recommended as dancing-master to the prince and choreographer for the court theatres, replacing Andrea Alberti, ‘Il Tedeschino’; there he choreographed many operas by Jommelli, as well as works by Perez, Piccinni and others. A contemporary writer in Florence described his ballets as superb. He emphasized dramatic and mimetic content in the style of ...

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Dennis Libby

(b ?Siena; fl 1758–92). Italian soprano castrato. He first appeared in opera seria in 1758 as a secondo uomo, then sang serious parts in opera buffa, and female roles at Rome, both in opera buffa (1760–61) and as prima donna in opera seria (1762–5). He was then for many years secondo uomo in London, singing in Italy in ...

Article

Gaynor G. Jones

(Luise)

(b Mainz, April 26, 1773; d Berlin, April 29, 1809). German singer. She studied singing in Würzburg with Dominicus Steffani and in Mainz with Righini, and sang under Mozart at Frankfurt in 1790; her stage début was in 1791. After a guest appearance at Hamburg in 1793 she became chamber and theatre singer at the Berlin court and from ...

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Thomas Bauman

(b Hamburg, March 25, 1741; d Hamburg, Aug 19, 1771). German librettist . The son of a businessman, he studied law at Göttingen and Leipzig. After taking his doctorate in 1768 he returned to Hamburg, where he died of tuberculosis when only 30. As a student at Leipzig he collaborated with J. A. Hiller on two German operas, and at Hamburg provided C. P. E. Bach with the text of his oratorio Die Israeliten in der Wüste (1769). He adored Metastasio, memorized entire scenes from his works, and sought to imitate him in Die Grossmuth des Scipio (1768). As a poet he also made significant contributions to the Romanze.

Basilio und Quitera, oder Don Quiscotte der Löwenritter (dramatische Singgedicht), Telemann, 1761; Lisuart und Dariolette, oder Die Frage und die Antwort (Operette), Hiller, 1766; Die Muse (Comödie), Hiller, 1767; Die Grossmuth des Scipio (dramatische Singgedicht), J. Schuback...

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(b Lille, 1768; d Paris, July 14, 1807). French soprano. She made her début in 1786 under the name of Mlle Grécy. After engagements at Montpellier, Avignon and Marseilles, she made her Paris début in 1792 at the Opéra-Comique, later singing at the Opéra. At the Théâtre Feydeau she created the title roles of Cherubini’s ...

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Dennis Libby

(fl 1767–92). Italian tenor. He sang in opera seria at Modena in Carnival 1767 but did not begin a sustained career until 1771. In 1771–3 he was at Cádiz, resuming Italian engagements in 1777 at leading theatres, with later absences in 1782–4 (London) and 1788–90 (Spain). He retired from the stage in ...

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Marita P. McClymonds

(b Vico Equendo, 1744; d June 13, 1799). Italian poet . He was named poeta di corte for Naples in 1778 as part of a reform of the theatrical administration and held the post until 1795. His duties included writing prologue and cantata texts for special occasions and vetting and adapting librettos for operas produced in all Neapolitan theatres. His Ifigenia in Aulide, set by Vicente Martín y Soler for Naples in 1779, was reset by Alessio Prati for Florence in 1784. Serio’s version of this often reworked opera seria plot can be identified by the absence of Clytemnestra and the presence of Elisena, the ‘other’ Iphigenia, who dies instead of the heroine. This calls into question attributions to Serio of settings by Lorenzo Rossi (1784) and Giuseppe Giordani (1786) and suggests that the London production, with music by Bertoni, was based on Serio’s libretto and not Cigna-Santi’s. Serio’s ...

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Marita P. McClymonds

( fl 1787–95). Italian poet . He was a member of the Arcadian Academy active in Naples. His first known libretto was for an oratorio set for Naples by Giuseppe Giordani in 1787. The following year he produced an oratorio for Guglielmi; the comic opera I matrimoni per fanatismo, set by Anfossi in the same year, may also be by him. His two tragedies of the 1790s both have happy endings, unlike their counterparts in the north. Sernicola was one of the first to treat the bloody story of the Orazi and the Curiazi in operatic form. In his version Orazia is reconciled with her brother, whereas she dies at his hands in Sografi’s version for Cimarosa a year later (1796, Milan). In Sofronia ed Olindo, the villain dies in the extended action finale. Both Sernicola’s comic and his serious operas contain a number of ensembles in addition to introductory ensembles and finales. ...

Article

Olive Baldwin and Thelma Wilson

(Joanna )

(b Florence, c 1750; d London, July 11, 1814). Italian soprano . She made her début at her native city, Florence, in 1763. From 1765 to 1773 she and Anna Sestini, probably her sister, appeared together in Italian operatic centres and in Lisbon, where she married Jose Christiano Stockler (Stocqueler) (c 1752–1812). Giovanna sang in London from 1774 and was a popular performer in Italian comic operas at the King’s Theatre for many seasons and at the Smock Alley Theatre, Dublin, in 1777–8. Richard Mount Edgcumbe remembered her as ‘handsome, sprightly and a good actress’, but considered that she was ‘nothing of a singer, except for lively comic airs’. She also performed in English operas at Covent Garden (1782–4), in Dublin (1784–5), and in five summer seasons at the Haymarket. O’Keeffe, who designed the part of Lorenza in Castle of Andalusia, The for her, called her ‘lovely, charming, tuneful, clever’, and made an English adaptation of ...