Antonio Maria Gaspare Sacchini

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Antonio Maria Gaspare Sacchini (July 23, 1734 - October 7?, 1786), Italian musical composer, was born at Pozzuoli.

He was the son of a poor fisherman and was heard singing on the sands by Durante, who undertook his education at the Conservatorio di Sant' Onofrio at Naples. Durante and Piccinni taught him composition, and Nicola Fiorenza the violin. The intermezzo Fra Donato was written for the theatre of the Conservatorio in 1756, but his first serious opera was produced at Rome in 1762, and was followed by many others, nearly all of which were successful.

In 1769 he went to Venice, and in conseauence of the great success achieved there by the production of his opera Alessondro nell' Indie he was appointed director of the Conservatorio deli' Ospedaletto, where he trained some admirable female singers and wrote church music. In 1772 be visited London, where, notwithstanding a cruel cabal formed against him, he achieved a brilliant success, especially in his four new operas, Tamerlano, Lucio Vero, Nitelli e Perseo and Il Gran Cid.

Later he met with an equally enthusiastic reception in Paris, where in 1783 his Rinaldo was produced under the immediate patronage of Queen Marie Antoinette, to whom he had been recommended by Emperor Joseph II. But neither in England nor in France did his reputation continue to the end of his visit. He seems everywhere to have been the victim of bitter jealousy. Even Marie Antoinette was not able to support his cause in the face of the general outcry against the favour shown to foreigners; and by her command, given with the utmost reluctance, his last opera and undoubted masterpiece, Oedipe a Colone, was set aside in 1786 to make room for Lemoine's Phèdre--a circumstance which so preyed upon his mind that he died of chagrin on the 7th (or 8th) of October 1786.

Sacchini's style was rather graceful than elevated, and he was deficient both in creative power and originality. But the dramatic truth of his operas, more especially the later ones, is above all praise, and he never fails to write with the care and finish of a thorough and accomplished musician. Oedipe was extremely successful after his death, and was performed at the Académie française nearly six hundred Maria Gaspare Sacchini


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