Calzabigi [Calsabigi], Ranieri (Simone Francesco Maria) de’ (opera) [de, da]
- Bruce Alan Brown
(b Livorno, Dec 23, 1714; d Naples, ?July 31, 1795). Italian writer and librettist. He was the librettist who most successfully and persistently challenged the Metastasian form of serious opera, in both librettos and polemical prose writings. He adopted the form ‘de’ Calsabigi’ while in France, probably conforming to mispronunciations he frequently heard there, but his family name in Italian has always been simply ‘Calzabigi’.
The first-born son of a merchant family in the port city of Livorno, he was educated at the Jesuit College of Prato between 1722 and 1729; in 1733 he took charge of the correspondence (largely French) of the family business, at the same time assembling a fine private library. His supposed involvement in a poisoning, previously assumed to be the cause of his departure from Naples in 1750, has been shown by Masini (1987) to be connected with earlier difficulties in the management of his family’s firm. His first literary productions date from the late 1730s; by ...