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Ian Spink

(b Aberdeenshire, 1653; d ?Cambridge, after 1716). Scottish countertenor, composer and lutenist. The first occurrence of his name in official records is on 1 May 1679, when he was admitted ‘extraordinary’ then ‘in ordinary’ to the Chapel Royal. From the same time he is listed among the musicians of the King’s Private Musick as one of the lutes and voices and also as a violinist, though the latter post was probably a sinecure. Between 1679 and 1688 he received considerable sums of ‘bounty money’ for undisclosed services to the king while travelling abroad. Evelyn recorded (27 January 1682):

After supper came in the famous Trebble, Mr Abel, newly returnd from Italy, & indeed I never heard a more excellent voice, one would have sworne it had been a Womans it was so high, & so well & skillfully manag’d.

He graduated MusB at Cambridge in 1684...


John Whenham

(b 1623–8; d Bologna, 1699, before 28 Jan). Italian singer, composer and instrument maker. He was an Augustinian monk who was employed from about 1649 as a soprano castrato at the Este court at Modena. On 13 November 1660 he was appointed to the choir of S Petronio, Bologna, with a stipend of 50 lire a month; he was discharged on 24 April 1662 but rejoined on 25 July 1663. In October 1665 he returned to Modena, where he succeeded Marco Uccellini as choirmaster of the cathedral. He vacated this post in November 1673 and by early 1674 was again living at Bologna. Between 1677 and 1681 he served as a singer in the cappella of Duke Francesco II of Modena. In 1685 he was made a member of the Accademia Filarmonica, Bologna, and seems to have spent his last years in or near that city. He wrote to the Duke of Modena in ...


Keith A. Larson

(fl Naples, 1601–16). Italian composer and musician. He was mentioned by Cerreto (Della prattica musica vocale et strumentale, Naples, 1601/R) as one of a number of singers and instrumentalists in Naples. He published two volumes of music at Naples in 1616. The first, Il primo libro di canzoni, e madrigaletti, for three and four voices (RISM 1616¹¹), includes settings of texts by Tasso, Marino and Francesco degl’Atti. The canzoni – in fact canzonettas – usually have four-line stanzas and use triple metre occasionally. The tenor parts can be omitted. The five madrigalettos (one of which is by Scipione Dentice) are longer and avoid triple metre but are similar in style to the canzonettas. Albano recommended that lute, harp or harpsichord accompaniment be used, that the tempo be a little rushed and that, whereas intermediate cadences must be sung in strict time, final cadences could be drawn out a little. His second published volume, ...


Sergio Durante

[‘Il Luigino’ ]

( fl 1692–1706). Italian contralto castrato . His name first appears in a libretto in 1692 as Silandro in Pausania (composer unknown) at Crema, and he sang frequently thereafter in the principal Italian centres in lead and second-lead male parts. In Venice he appeared at S Giovanni Grisostomo in operas by C. F. Pollarolo (Tito Manlio, Marzio Coriolano, La fortuna per dote and Il Dafni). Galliard (1743), in the notes to his translation of Tosi’s treatise, indicated that he was a pupil of Pistocchi in the service of Emperor Josef I, but there is no record of such service. He served the Duke of Modena from 1694. Tosi cites him as Pistocchi’s successor only in terms of style. He was one of the best representatives of the generation of castratos after Pistocchi.

P. F. Tosi: Opinioni de’ cantori antichi e moderni (Bologna, 1723; Eng. trans. by ...


Jerome Roche

revised by Noel O’Regan

(b Rome, 1582; d Rome, Feb 7, 1652). Italian composer and singer, brother of Domenico Allegri. From 1591 to 1596 he was a boy chorister and from 1601 to 1604 a tenor at S Luigi dei Francesi, Rome, where the maestro di cappella was G.B. Nanino. According to Allegri’s obituary he studied with G.M. Nanino (see Lionnet). He was active as a singer and composer at the cathedrals of Fermo (1607–21) and Tivoli, and by August 1628 he was maestro di cappella of Santo Spirito in Sassia, Rome. He joined the papal choir as an alto on 6 December 1629, under Urban VIII, and was elected its maestro di cappella for the jubilee year of 1650. In 1640 his fellow singers elected him to revise Palestrina’s hymns (necessitated by Urban VIII’s revision of the texts), which were published in Antwerp in 1644. His contemporaries clearly saw him as a worthy successor to Palestrina and a guardian of the ...


Tim Carter and Anne MacNeil

[‘La Florinda’ ]

(b Milan, Jan 1, 1583; d Bologna, 1629–30). Italian actor, singer and poet, first wife of G.B. Andreini. When they married in 1601, Virginia and her husband formed the Compagnia del Fedeli, in which she assumed the role of prima donna innamorata. Her stage name derived from her performance in Giovanni Battista’s tragedy La Florinda (1603, Florence). In spring 1608 she replaced Caterina Martinelli as the protagonist of Monteverdi’s Arianna and took part in his Ballo delle ingrate during the wedding celebrations for Prince Francesco Gonzaga and Margherita of Savoy; according to Antonio Costantini (1608), she learnt the part for Arianna in six days. She also sang the title role in G.C. Monteverdi’s opera Il rapimento di Proserpina during the festivities for the birth of the Infanta Margherita Gonzaga in 1611. Contemporary accounts suggest that her performance in Arianna was exceptionally powerful, and her talents as a singer were recalled with praise by Bonini in his ...


H. Wiley Hitchcock

revised by Tim Carter

[‘La Romanina’]

(fl 1582–1620). Italian soprano, lutenist and dancer, wife of Antonio Archilei . Probably a pupil of her husband, whom she married most likely in 1582, she was a protégée of Emilio de' Cavalieri in Rome and was with him in the service of Cardinal Ferdinando de’ Medici before he became Grand Duke of Tuscany in 1587. She participated in the festivities for the wedding of Eleonora de' Medici and Vincenzo Gonzaga in 1584. When Cavalieri was made artistic superintendent at the Medici court in 1588, she went with her husband to Florence, where she became one of the most famous singers of her time. She apparently remained in the service of the Medici until her death.

She had a major part, as soprano soloist and lutenist, in the spectacular ‘intermedii et concerti’ for the comedy La pellegrina during the festivities for the marriage of Ferdinando de' Medici and Christine of Lorraine in ...


Galliano Ciliberti

[Bonaventura Perugino ]

( b Cascia Spolentina, Perugia, 1620/21; d Rome, Feb 7, 1697). Italian soprano castrato . One of the most celebrated singers of his day, he was active in Rome and sang oratorios by Carissimi at the Collegio Germanico Ungarico between 27 March 1638 and 13 December 1646. On 15 August 1645 he entered the choir of the Cappella Sistina without competition, and was successively puntatore (1665), chamberlain (1660), maestro di cappella (1661), pensioner (1670) and dean (1694). He also performed cantatas, serenades and music dramas at the courts of the Roman aristocracy, and from June 1645 to December 1647 he was in the service of Prince Camillo Pamphili and his wife Olimpia Aldobrandini. In Rome he sang in solemn ceremonies at S Luigi dei Francesi (1645 and 1648), S Maria del Popolo (1657–8 and 1660...


(b ?Arizu or Arizcun, Navarra, c1593; d Madrid, May 15, 1648). Spanish composer and singer. Between 1601 and 1604 he entered the choir school of the Spanish royal chapel and studied with its vicemaestro, the composer Gabriel Díaz Bessón. On 1 January 1614, after his voice had broken, he was appointed alto in the same capilla. On 1 March 1629 his salary was doubled, and on 28 February 1642 he was granted an annual allowance of 350 ducats, followed by another of 250 ducats on 20 March 1645 (though his salary was no longer doubled). In addition to his duties in the capilla Arizo was responsible for the musical instruction of the Bourbon Queen Elisabeth's ladies-in-waiting for at least ten years (1618–28), during which period he must have been in touch with the queen's chamber musician, Álvaro de los Ríos.

Arizo's two extant secular compositions are a four-part canción, ...


Almonte Howell

(b southern France; fl 1609–14). Spanish liturgist of French birth. A Dominican friar, educated at the monastery at Saint-Maximin-la-Sainte-Baume, Provence, he served as cantor in a number of houses of his order in France, Aragon and Castile, including S Pablo at Valladolid and finally S María de Atocha in Madrid. He was commissioned to prepare a new simplified processional for the Spanish Dominicans, Processionarium secundum morem almi ordinis Praedicatorum S.P.N. Dominici (Madrid, 1609), which contains information on past chant manuals of the order, and the rubrics and music for the special services involving processions. Its music was badly garbled by the printer. Artufel’s second work, Modo de rezar las horas canónicas conforme al rezo de los Frayles Predicadores … con un Arte de canto llano y con la entonación de los hymnos y sus rúbricas (Valladolid, 1614), is in three parts with separate paginations. The first, a ceremonial for the Office, is chiefly an extract in translation from the Dominican Ordinary but with some interesting added material on the use of the organ; the second part contains the hymn intonations; the third is a manual on chant consisting of 23 chapters on the rudiments of music (notation, solmization, intervals, modes) and a collection of examples. The bulk of the technical material is taken verbatim from the ...


James R. Anthony

( bc 1656; d Paris, 1704). French singer . She sang at a young age in the musical establishment of Philip, Duke of Orleans, and first appeared on stage as Diana in Les amours de Diane et d’Endymion by Sablières at Versailles (1671). Her performance impressed Robert Cambert, who cast her as Phyllis in his pastorale Les peines et les plaisirs de l’amour (1671). She created six leading roles in Lully’s operas: Aeglé in Thésée (1675), Sangaride in Atys (1676), Io in Isis (1677), Philonoé in Bellérophon (1679), the title role in Proserpine (1680) and Andromeda in Persée (1682). She assumed such a ‘prodigious size’ that she retired in 1684 because ‘she could not walk and appeared toute ronde’ (F. Parfaict: Histoire de l’Academie royale de musique, MS, 7741, F-Pn ).

Aubry fanned the antagonism between Lully and Guichard, her former lover. She told Lully that Guichard plotted his murder by asking her brother to mix arsenic in Lully’s tobacco. There followed a bitter trial lasting nearly three years....


(fl 1691–6). Italian singer. She is described in contemporary documents as ‘torinese’, although that may refer to her service in the court of Turin; she is also described as ‘ musica di camera to His Royal Highness of Savoy’ in the libretto of La pace fra Tolomeo e Seleuco by C. F. Pollarolo (1691, Piacenza). A singer of no particular distinction, she usually took second female parts. Among the most important productions in which she appeared were those at the Teatro S Giovanni Grisostomo in Venice, where she sang with the best singers of the time: G. F. Tosi’s L’incoronazione di Serse (1691) and C. F. Pollarollo’s Ibraim sultano, Onorio in Roma (both 1692), Rosimonda and Ercole in Cielo (both 1696) and L’Ulisse sconosciuto (1698). By 1695 Aureli had married the librettist Pietro d’Averara. She seems not to have been related to the Bolognese family of singers of the same name....



(b ?Amiens, c1590; d Paris, c1656). French composer and singer. Although his birthplace is not known, there were families bearing this name in Amiens; a member of one, a relative of the composer, served as mayor of the town. Aux-Cousteaux studied under Jean de Bournonville at the choir school of the collegiate church at Saint Quentin. From 1613 to 1627 he sang haute-contre in Louis XIII's chapel. A period at Noyon followed about which little is known. He succeeded Bournonville as maître de musique both at Saint Quentin (1631) and Amiens (c 1632–4). On 24 June 1634 he relinquished this more lucrative post for that of a ‘clerk’ haute-contre at the Ste Chapelle in Paris. In spite of a recalcitrant and quarrelsome nature (‘scandalous, insolent and disrespectful acts committed daily during the Office’), Aux-Cousteaux advanced rapidly and by 1643 was maître de musique...


Olive Baldwin and Thelma Wilson

(fl 1692–6). English soprano and actress. She sang in The Fairy Queen at Dorset Garden Theatre in May 1692 and soon became Purcell’s leading soprano. In the Gentleman’s Journal for August 1692 Peter Motteux referred to her performance of Purcell’s italianate ‘Ah me to many deaths decreed’ in Crowne’s play Regulus as ‘divinely sung’. Well over a dozen of Purcell’s stage songs and dialogues were published as sung by her and she was a soloist in his Hail, bright Cecilia (1692) and Celebrate this Festival (1693). In 1695 she went to Lincoln's Inn fields with Betterton’s company and there she also acted a little, creating Miss Prue in Congreve’s Love for Love. Her last recorded appearance was in November 1696 when she sang in The Loves of Mars and Venus, a masque with music by Eccles and Finger.

BDA; LS O. Baldwin and T. Wilson...


[Antoine ]

( b ?Rome, 1638; d Versailles, 1740). Swiss boy (later castrato) singer , active in France. Son of one of Louis XIV's Swiss guards, Bagniera was a Page de la Chapelle (a boy singer in the royal chapel choir) noted for the ‘prodigious volume and extreme beauty of his voice’ (Bêche). Small stature and physical deformities may have been factors in his decision to persuade his cousin, a surgeon, to castrate him in a (successful) bid to preserve his greatest asset, his voice. When Louis XIV discovered what had taken place, he threatened Bagniera with banishment, but pardoned him after intervention by the Swiss guards who pleaded that his action had only been for the best interests of the king's music. Bagniera continued to sing both in the chapel and in court operatic performances (e.g. Lully's Alceste in 1677). He became a naturalised French citizen in 1680. From a year earlier, Louis XIV employed as many as five Italian castrati at any one time, alongside Bagniera, who sang to the age of 77, retiring at the king's death in ...


Siegfried Gmeinwieser

(b Crevalcuore, nr Bologna, c1650; d Rome, Dec 22, 1714). Italian composer and singer. He is first heard of on 20 October 1670 as an alto in the Cappella Giulia at S Pietro, Rome, which he served for the rest of his life. The account books from 1696 to 1713 list him as a tenor; he may have become a tenor shortly before this, but the account books for 1693–5 are missing. His long experience as a singer under such renowned directors as Benevoli, Ercole Bernabei, Masini and Lorenzani stimulated him to compose, and it may have been because of this that on 19 November 1713, shortly before Lorenzani died, he was himself appointed maestro di cappella, a post that he held for the 13 months until his own death. He was best known for his famous nine-part Miserere in falsobordone style. Except in 1768 and 1777...


(b Florence; fl 1680–1717). Italian contralto castrato . The earliest reference to him is in 1680, when he sang in Le pompose feste di Vicenza (composer unknown) in Vicenza and the role of Tazio in P. S. Agostini’s Il ratto delle Sabine in Venice. In 1682 he took the leading role in Legrenzi’s Ottaviano Cesare Augusto at Mantua, and from that year until at least 1693 he styled himself ‘musician to Ferdinando Carlo Gonzaga, Duke of Mantua’. From 1684 he sang in many Italian cities. In 1700 he appeared in Ariosti’s Lucio Vero in Florence (Pratolino) and in his La festa d’Imeneo in Berlin. From 1708 he was in Vienna in the service of the Emperor Joseph I, and he took part in the production of C. A. Badia’s Gli amori di Circe con Ulisse (1709) and the intermezzo Vespetta e Milo (1717; by A. Scarlatti and F. Conti) in Dresden. Tosi mentioned him (as Baron Ballerini) for his qualities as an actor, and in particular for his masterly execution of dramatic recitative....


[‘Padre Raimo’]

(b Gaeta, 1606; d Naples, July 15, 1656). Italian composer and singer. His teacher was probably G.B. de Bellis. On 19 December 1626 he joined the royal chapel at Naples as a bass and remained there until 1636. In March of that year he was admitted to the Congregazione dell'Oratorio with a salary for life for himself and his mother. He was music prefect in 1642 and from 1652 to 1656. He played some part in the posthumous publication of Scipione Dentice's Madrigali spirituali, libro secondo (Naples, 1640) which he dedicated to Cardinal Buoncompagno. He died of the plague. He was a prolific composer of church music, which the fathers of the oratory valued so highly that in 1713 one of them, Scipione Narni, arranged for the copying of the most often performed works. The motets for four choirs (in I-Nc and Nf ) are mainly homophonic, and the few contrapuntal passages are rather weak....


(fl Vicenza, 1600–40). Italian composer and singer. He apparently spent his career at Vicenza. He was probably a pupil of Leone Leoni, maestro di cappella at Vicenza Cathedral from 1588 to 1607, and certainly had connections at Vicenza by 1600, since his second book of canzonettas, dedicated from there, includes pieces by Leoni and his circle. The dedication of the first to Lorenzo Beccaria suggests that Baselli may have been in his service before 1600. He evidently took holy orders between 1600, when the title-pages of his works refer to him in secular terms, and 8 November 1605, when he is first listed in the Libri dei processi of the cathedral as a priest and singer. Eitner claimed that he was maestro di cappella there, but this is not supported by the Libri, which consistently list him as a singer up to the last reference, on 19 February 1631...


(b Lovere, 1593; d Bergamo, April 15, 1660). Italian singer, theorbo player, organist and composer, younger brother of Natale Bazzini. He studied at the seminary and at the Accademia della Mia at Bergamo, where he gained a reputation as an excellent singer. He studied composition with Giovanni Cavaccio and in 1614 began teaching at the academy. He served as organist of S Maria Maggiore, Bergamo, and also sang in the choir there, until he was summoned to serve the Este court at Modena. He was prominent as a singer and theorbo player in performances at the court and in the city itself, and he was given leave to perform at the court in Vienna and at Venice, Florence and Parma (1628). In 1636 he returned to the Bergamo area where he remained until his death. He was living at Zanica, very close to Bergamo, in 1637...