Temporary Italian entry 1, 2022
This Week in Classical Music: October 31, 2022. Temporary Italian entry 1. A brief hiatus with Italian taste requires an Italian theme for this week’s entry, and historical past, so wealthy on Italian music, obliges. Vincenzo Bellini, the creator of La sonnambula, Norma, and I puritani, was born on November 3rd of 1801 in Catania, Sicily. Simply final week we wrote concerning the nice soprano sfogato Giuditta Pasta: she sung on the premier performances of two of those operas, as Anna in La sonnambula, in Milan’s Teatro Carcano, in March of 1831, and in December of the identical 12 months, the function of Norma, additionally in Milan however in Teatro alla Scala. Bellini was 33 when he died of dysentery. His first opera was written when he was 23, nonetheless a pupil on the Naples San Sebastiano Conservatory – Bellini had solely ten inventive years however nonetheless left us a number of the most memorable bel canto operas.
And likewise this week, two historic Italian singers have been born: the nice castrato Senesino, on October 31st of 1686, and Tarquinia Molza on November 1st of 1542. Senesino, an Italian alto castrato, born Francesco Bernardi in Siena (thus Senesino), was considered one of Handel’s favourite singers. He got here to London in 1720, turned enormously common and was paid equally huge charges (after leaving London, he constructed a flowery home in Siena, which carried an inscription: “the folly of the English had laid the muse of it.” Senesino sung in 20 Handel operas, of which 17 have been written for his voice; his efficiency in Giulio Cesare was known as “past all criticism.” Right here, from a 2012 Salzburg manufacturing of Giulio is Andreas Scholl, the German countertenor, as Cesar, singing the aria Va tacito e nascosto (Silently and stealthily). This, alas, is barely an approximation of Senesino’s voice. And from the identical manufacturing, right here’s Cleopatra’s aria E pur così in un giorno (And even so in a day) sung by Cecilia Bartoli. We suspect that she’s not worse than the well-known Fancesca Cuzzoni who premiered the function in February of 1724.
Tarquinia Molza was a rare girl: an excellent singer, a virtuoso participant on bass viol in a mode known as “viola bastarda,” and poet. She was born in Modena and round 1583, already a widow, moved to Ferrara, one of many musical facilities of Italy, as a lady-in-waiting to the Duchess Margherita Gonzaga d’Este. In Ferrara she served as an advisor to the well-known Concerto delle donne, of which we’ve written a number of instances, for instance, right here. Whereas on the courtroom, she had a tryst with the composer Giaches De Wert, deemed inappropriate (she was a minor the Aristocracy whereas composers have been thought-about of a serving class) and needed to go away Ferrara. She moved to Rome and died there in 1617.
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