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Article

Dennis Libby

(b Milan, c 1720; d after 1766). Italian tenor . He made his début in opera seria in Venice in autumn 1737, then sang with the Mingotti company in central Europe, resuming his Italian career in autumn 1740 when he was quickly recognized as a leading artist with engagements in the most important theatres. In Venice he sang in Gluck’s ...

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( fl 1719–42). Italian choreographer and dancer . He was probably a native of Florence, since he is often cited in librettos as ‘Francesco Aquilanti, Fiorentino’ or ‘da Firenze’. His early choreographic work was concentrated in Venice, where he provided ballets for 17 operas at the Teatro S Giovanni Grisostomo (1721–34; including Leo’s Catone in Utica, Porpora’s Semiramide riconosciuta and works by Gasparini, Orlandini, Vinci and others), and for five operas during Ascension seasons at the Teatro S Samuele (1722–35; including Vivaldi’s Griselda). During this time he is also listed as a choreographer in Reggio Emilia (1725, Porpora’s Didone abbandonata) and as a dancer for opera productions in Turin (1727–8, 1729–30), along with Chiara Aquilanti who may have been his wife, sister or daughter. He spent two seasons in Naples as a choreographer, first for operas at the Teatro S Bartolomeo (1736–7...

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Philip Weller

( fl 1704–7). French soprano . After making her début at the Paris Opéra in 1704, as Venus and La Jeunesse in Destouches’ Le carnaval et la folie, she sang Iris in the revival of Lully’s Isis later that year. She created the role of Electra in Desmarets and Campra’s ...

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Dennis Libby

(b ?Rome, c 1720; d after 1755). Italian soprano . She is first found in comic opera in Naples in 1735–6, and was expelled from the kingdom for unknown reasons, probably her sexual conduct. She was seconda donna in opera seria in Parma in Carnival 1737 and rose to prima donna in Carnival ...

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David Cummings

(b Graglia, nr Vercelli, 1720; d Turin, Oct 28, 1757). Italian soprano. After study with Bravio in Milan she made her début at the Teatro Regio, Turin, in Il Ciro riconosciuto by Leonardo Leo (1739). She sang at the Teatro S Samuele, Venice, from 1739 and appeared with Caffarelli at the S Carlo, Naples (...

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Thomas Bauman

(b Graz, Nov 19, 1722; d Vienna, May 18, 1809). Austrian librettist. Educated in medicine at the University of Vienna, he made a name for himself as the inventor of the percussion method of diagnosing diseases of the chest cavity (1761). In 1775 he stood witness at the wedding of the court composer Antonio Salieri, for whom he wrote his only stage work, the libretto for ...

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Harris S. Saunders

(b Bergamo; d ?Turin, by aut. 1720). Italian librettist. In Bergamo, he was a member of the Accademia degli Arioni. By 1686 he had moved to Venice and in 1687 he moved to Turin, by which time he was an abbate. In 1692 or 1693 he resigned his order to marry the singer Diana Margherita Aureli; they settled in Turin in 1697.

In the preface to Angelica nel Cataj, Averara claims to have written over 40 librettos, a number yet to be confirmed by bibliographic sources. His documented librettos were produced for Venice, Turin and Milan. In Turin, he also acted as impresario for two seasons, 1688–9 and 1689–90. From the preface to Filindo, it is clear that he had died by autumn 1720

The fact that Averara drew many of his subjects from mythology reflects the preferences of the court of Savoy and the Spanish dependency of Milan. ...

Article

Christoph Wolff and Ulrich Leisinger

Member of Bach family

(46) (b Weimar, March 8, 1714; d Hamburg, Dec 14, 1788). Composer and church musician, the second surviving son of (7) Johann Sebastian Bach (24) and his first wife, Maria Barbara. He was the most important composer in Protestant Germany during the second half of the 18th century, and enjoyed unqualified admiration and recognition particularly as a teacher and keyboard composer.

He was baptized on 10 March 1714, with Telemann as one of his godfathers. In 1717 he moved with the family to Cöthen, where his father had been appointed Kapellmeister. His mother died in 1720, and in spring 1723 the family moved to Leipzig, where Emanuel began attending the Thomasschule as a day-boy on 14 June 1723. J.S. Bach said later that one of his reasons for accepting the post of Kantor at the Thomasschule was that his sons’ intellectual development suggested that they would benefit from a university education. Emanuel Bach received his musical training from his father, who gave him keyboard and organ lessons. There may once have been some kind of ...

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Hans Joachim Marx

(bc 1700; d after 1726). German bass . He was mentioned in the Hamburg Relations-Courier (4 Dec 1724) as ‘the new bass Mons. Bahn’, who was billed to sing Argante in Handel’s Rinaldo at the Gänsemarkt theatre. He had previously made his début as Mars on 2 November in Giovanni Porta’s ...

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Michael Talbot

(b ?Venice, 1700 or 1701; d Venice, Feb 1, 1733). Italian singer . Having sung contralto roles in operas performed in the provinces from as early as 1720, she made her Venetian début in Vignati’s I rivali generosi at S Samuele in 1726. Her career was short; the last opera in which she is known to have appeared was Orlandini’s Adelaide (S Cassiano, Carnival 1729). A contract that she made with Vivaldi on 13 October 1726 shows her to have been a worthy seconda donna; for singing in only one opera (Vivaldi’s Farnace, given at S Angelo, Carnival 1726–7) she was to receive 200 ducats, payable in instalments before, during and after the performances. Her retirement may have been caused by her marriage to a Venetian spicer, Angelo Venzoli. She died from an injury sustained when a carnival booth in St Mark’s Square collapsed.

R. Giazotto: Antonio Vivaldi...

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Colin Timms

(b ?Massa; fl 1723–41). Italian singer . He was in the service of the Duke of Massa and Carrara in 1724–5, the Landgrave of Hesse-Darmstadt in 1729 and the Hereditary Prince of Modena from 1730 to 1736. He appeared in eight operas at Florence between 1723 and 1737 and 11 at Venice, 1724–37, including new works by Albinoni, Antonio Pollarolo, Orlandini, Vivaldi and Porpora. He also sang at Livorno in 1727 and at Naples in 1740–41. He may have been married to Teresa Baratta, who appeared at Florence and Venice in 1735–7, Naples in 1739–41 and Turin in 1742–3. She may possibly be identified (according to Weaver) with the soprano (Maria) Teresa Pieri, who performed at Florence (1727–32), Naples (1728–30 and 1740–41) and Venice (1734–5); if so, she appeared as both Baratta and Pieri in 1740–41.

R. L. Weaver and N. W. Weaver...

Article

Nicholas Temperley

(fl Castleton, Derbys., 1723–53). English psalmodist and ?composer. In 1723 he published the first edition of A Book of Psalmody in conjunction with John Barber. A second edition, by Robert Barber alone, followed in 1733, and a third, entitled David’s Harp Well Tuned, in 1753. He also published The Psalm Singer’s Choice Companion in 1727. A Book of Psalmody enjoyed a good deal of popularity in the north Midlands. It was similar to other parochial collections, and most of its contents were derivative. The second edition, however, had a remarkable feature: it included, as well as chants for the canticles, a complete musical setting of Morning Prayer, litany and ante-communion on cathedral lines, but for alto, tenor and bass only. Barber made it clear on the title-page that this was designed for ‘our Country Churches’. He thus brought to its logical conclusion the trend begun by Henry Playford, who published anthems for parish church use in ...

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(b Bologna, fl 1716–67). Italian singer. She is referred to in some programmes as Ferrarese – perhaps through confusion with her father, the bass Francesco Belisani – but is the ‘Belisania’ mentioned in the celebrated frontispiece of Marcello’s Il teatro alla moda. She sang in opera seria and pastoral dramas from 1716 (Armida abbandonata), mostly in works by the Bolognese composer G. M. Buini, whom she married in 1721, but parts were also written for her by Vivaldi (Gliinganni per vendetta, 1720), Chelleri, Orlandini, Brivio and others. From 1727 she styled herself virtuosa of the Prince of Hessen-Darmstadt, governor of Mantua.

G. F. Malipiero: Antonio Vivaldi, il prete rosso (Milan, 1958) S. Durante: ‘Alcune considerazioni sui cantanti di teatro del primo settecento e la loro formazione’, Antonio Vivaldi: teatro musicale, cultura e società: Venice 1981, 427–82 E. Selfridge-Field: ‘Marcello, Sant’Angelo and Il teatro alla moda’, ...

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( fl 1724–35). Italian librettist . He was a curious kind of literary adventurer: his output was small, his propensity to borrow tacitly from others great, and his lack of respect for the truth staggering. His first libretto was Amore e sdegno (original title Ottone amante), performed at the Venetian theatre of S Cassiano in 1726 with music by Luigi Tavelli – but this is merely a new version of Silvani’s La moglie nemica. His Il regno galante (Giovanni Reali) was given at S Moisè, Venice, in 1727. In 1730 Boccardi dedicated to the Elector of Bavaria the libretto of an Adelaide which he claimed (falsely) was to be performed at the Haymarket Theatre with music by Handel. His statements on the title-page that he was a member of the Roman Arcadia and a Fellow of the Royal Society of London were equally untrue, and one must view with suspicion his description of himself as a ‘patrizio Torinese’, particularly since other sources make Mazara in Sicily his birthplace. Continuing his deceptions, he dedicated to the Elector of Saxony a ...

Article

(fl Paris, 1733–50). French composer. He pursued a military career, but was praised by Voltaire for daring, as an aristocrat, to present his own compositions. He wrote two stage works. The first, a ballet-héroïque L’empire de l’Amour (prol., 3, F.-A. P. de Moncrif), given at the Opéra on 14 April 1733, was revised even during the opening run and restaged on 31 May; a letter by Moncrif to the Mercure (May 1733) details the changes. The programme of the work, announced in the prologue on Naxos, was to show Love’s universal sovereign power. Three domains were chosen: Crete (with its mortals Phaedra, Ariadne and Theseus), Paphos (with the gods Cupid and Psyche) and the kingdom of Zélindor, king of the fire spirits. The last entrée should have come second, but a complicated scene change was required for the sumptuous ‘décoration si éclatante qu’à peine en peut-on soutenir la vue’. This was the vast interior of a richly decorated, galleried, domed and arcaded palace, the unprecedented effect of which was judged ‘particulier et bizarre’ (...

Article

Hans Joachim Marx

( fl c 1725). German soprano . She sang in Dresden before going to the Hamburg Gänsemarkt Opera in 1724. She made frequent appearances at the Hamburg Opera until 1726, under Telemann’s direction; her roles included Arethusa in Keiser’s Cupido (1724), Ursel in Keiser’s Der Hamburger Jahrmarkt (...

Article

Hans Joachim Marx

(b before 1700; d after 1735). German bass . The singer described as ‘Ms. Braun’ in the libretto of the Hamburg Gänsemarkt Opera (not to be confused with the Hamburg town musician Friedrich Nicolas Braun) appeared as a guest artist in 1722. Telemann, the new director of the Gänsemarkt Opera, probably engaged him in Brunswick. He is known to have sung in three operas in Hamburg that year, by Orlandini, Telemann and Keiser. He seems to have returned to the Brunswick Opera, where he is recorded in ...

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Harris S. Saunders

(b Venice; fl 1709–10). Italian librettist . Briani wrote only two librettos, both for the Teatro S Giovanni Grisostomo, the most prestigious Venetian opera house of his day. They are in the elevated, serious style cultivated at this theatre, and their subjects are closely suited to Briani’s illustrious dedicatees. Both were set by Lotti. Il vincitor generoso (1709) is dedicated to King Frederick IV of Denmark, who visited Venice from 29 December 1708 until 9 March 1709. Although not based on history, it is set in and around Warsaw, which was neutral (as was Denmark during the War of the Spanish Succession). Isacio tiranno (1710), dedicated to a hero of that war, John Churchill, Duke of Marlborough, is loosely based on an episode involving Richard I as he passed through Cyprus on his way to the Holy Land. Although neither work was ever restaged in Italy, Paolo Rolli used ...

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Franco Piperno

(b Florence; fl 1737–58). Italian mezzo-soprano . Initially a singer of intermezzos, in 1742 she married the bass Pietro Pertici, with whom she performed commedie per musica; as members of companies specializing in opera buffa the two contributed significantly to the wide success of the genre. Brogi took soubrette and leading juvenile roles in the highly successful comic operas of Auletta, Chinzer, Latilla and others. She worked mainly in Tuscany but also sang in Venice, Milan, Turin, Brescia, Mantua, Genoa and Bologna; outside Italy she appeared in comic opera in London (...

Article

Hans Joachim Marx

( fl c 1725). German tenor . He sang comic roles, such as servants or peasants, at the Hamburg Gänsemarkt Opera, 1722–8; he was also a dancer in opera performances. In 1722, under the composer’s musical direction, he sang Sancio in Telemann’s Don Quichotte der Löwenritter, and in 1725 he danced in Kunzen’s Singspiel ...