Antonio Sacchini

Antonio Sacchini

born on 14/6/1730 in Firenze, Toscana, Italy

died on 6/10/1786 in Paris, Île-de-France, France

Antonio Sacchini

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia.

Antonio Maria Gasparo Sacchini (14 June 1730 6 October 1786) was an Italian composer, most famous for his operas.

Sacchini was born in Florence, but raised in Naples, where he received his musical education. He made a name for himself as a composer of serious and comic opera in Italy before moving to London, where he produced works for the King's Theatre. He spent his final years in Paris, becoming embroiled in the musical dispute between the followers of the composers Gluck and Niccolò Piccinni. His early death in 1786 was blamed on his disappointment over the apparent failure of his opera dipe à Colone. However, when the work was revived the following year, it quickly became one of the most popular in the 18th-century French repertoire.


Childhood and education

Sacchini was the son of a humble Florentine cook (or coachman),[1] Gaetano Sacchini. At the age of four, he moved with his family to Naples as part of the entourage of the infante Charles of Bourbon (later to become King Charles III of Spain). The young Sacchini's talent for music caught the attention of Francesco Durante, who enrolled him in the Conservatorio di Santa Maria di Loreto at the age of ten. Here Durante and his assistant Pietrantonio Gallo taught Sacchini the basics of composition, harmony and counterpoint. Sacchini also became a skilled violinist under the tuition of Nicola Fiorenza as well as studying singing under Gennaro Manna. Sacchini was one of the favourite pupils of Durante, a hard teacher to please. It was said that Durante would point out the young Sacchini to his fellow pupils, warning them that he would be a difficult rival to beat and urging them to try to match him, otherwise Sacchini would become the "man of the century."[2]

Early career in Italy

Sacchini was 25 when Durante died in 1755. The following year, he became a "mastricello" (a junior teacher in the school) and had the opportunity to compose his first operatic work, an intermezzo in two parts entitled Fra' Donato. Fra' Donato, which was performed to great acclaim by the school's students, was followed a year later by another intermezzo, Il giocatore. The warm reception these works enjoyed paved Sacchini's way to commissions from the smaller theatres which performed opera in Neapolitan dialect. One of his major successes was the opera buffa Olimpia tradita (1758) at the Teatro dei Fiorentini, which led to commissions from the Teatro San Carlo, where his first opera seria, Andromaca, was premiered in 1761.[3] Meanwhile, Sacchini was pursuing his career at the Conservatorio, where he had initially taken up the unpaid position of "maestro di cappella straordinario", assisting the "primo maestro", Manna, and the "secondo maestro", Gallo. When Manna retired in 1761, shortly before the premiere of Andromaca, Sacchini was promoted to "secondo maestro".[2]

In 1762 the Conservatorio gave Sacchini permission to travel to Venice to present the operas Alessandro Severo (with a libretto by Apostolo Zeno) at the Teatro San Benedetto, and Alessandro nelle Indie (with a libretto by Metastasio) the following year at the Teatro San Salvatore. Over the next couple of years, Sacchini produced new operas for theatres across Italy: Olimpiade in Padua (Teatro Nuovo, 1763), Eumene in Florence (La Pergola, 1764), Semiramide riconosciuta in Rome (Teatro Argentina, 1764), and Lucio Vero in Naples (Teatro San Carlo, 1764). Success on an Italian-wide level encouraged Sacchini to leave his job at the Conservatorio di Santa Maria di Loreto,[4] as well as his temporary post in Venice, and to try his luck as an independent composer.[5]

Initially settling in Rome, Sacchini spent several years composing opere buffe for the Teatro Valle. These works made him famous throughout Europe. One of the most notable of them it has been revived and recorded in modern times was the two-act intermezzo La contadina in corte (1765). In 1768, Sacchini moved to Venice, having accepted the temporary post of director of the Conservatorio dell'Ospedale dei Poveri Derelitti (the "Ospedaletto"),[6] offered by his predecessor in the job Tommaso Traetta, who had been Sacchini's friend since their studies together in Naples and who was now leaving Venice to work at the court of Saint Petersburg.[7] In Venice, Sacchini soon made a name for himself as a singing master (his pupils included Nancy Storace and, possibly, Adriana Gabrielli, who, under the name Adriana Ferrarese del Bene was subsequently to go down in history as the first singer to play Mozart's Fiordiligi). While continuing to pursue his career as an opera composer, he also spent time writing sacred pieces (oratorios, masses, hymns, motets) for the Conservatorio and various Venetian churches, as his contract required.[2]

Charles Burney met Sacchini in Venice in 1770. By then, Sacchini was enjoying an enormous reputation: he had just scored successes with the operas Scipione in Cartagena and Calliroe in Munich and Ludwigsburg,[3] and he was, in the opinion of the English writer, the only composer worthy to stand alongside the "giant" Baldassare Galuppi among all the "dwarfs" who then populated the Venetian musical scene.[8]


In 1772, Sacchini moved to London, accompanied by Giuseppe Millico, one of the finest castrati then active on the European stage and Gluck's favourite. Beginning with two new operas staged at the King's Theatre in 1773, Il Cid (in January) and Tamerlano (in May), in the words of Burney, Sacchini soon "captured the hearts" of the London public. He was so popular that Tommaso Traetta was unable to make any impression with his operas when he arrived in the British capital in 1776, even though Sacchini himself had supported the move by his old friend.[9] Sacchini remained in London for a decade, until 1782, despite the fact his enormous mounting debts created growing difficulties and even enemies. Among the latter was Venanzio Rauzzini, who had taken over from Millico as the leading male singer at the King's Theatre, and who claimed that he had written some of Sacchini's most famous arias himself.[2] The majority of Sacchini's chamber music dates from his years in London.[10] As far as music for the stage is concerned, new operas by Sacchini were produced every year over the whole period apart from 1776/1777,[11] probably in connection with the composer's trips to the Continent and with the staging in Paris of French-language pasticci based on two previous works: the dramma giocoso from the Roman period, L'isola d'amore, now entitled La colonie, and the opera seria L'Olimpiade, which became L'Olympiade.[12] The translator of the libretti into French was the musician and writer Nicolas-Étienne Framery, a lover of Italian music. At that time, the Parisian operatic scene was divided between supporters of the German composer Gluck, famous for his musical reforms, and followers of his Italian rival Niccolò Piccinni. A member of the emerging Piccinnist faction, Framery also admired Sacchini and formed a lasting friendship with him.[13] On 8 June 1779, a work by Sacchini appeared for the first time on the stage of the Paris Opéra. It was a revival of the dramma giocoso L'amore soldato, which had premiered in England the previous year, and was now advertised as an intermède in three acts.[14] During his stays in Paris in the seventies Sacchini is also said to have imparted the rudiments of a real singing education to the future European star of opera and refined cantatrice, Brigida Banti.[15]


Sacchini's position in London eventually became untenable: his health had declined and his work was no longer attracting the same success. These factors and the looming threat of debtors' prison finally induced him to accept Framery's invitation to move to Paris in 1781. Sacchini received a warm welcome in the French capital: the Piccinnists saw him as a natural ally in their battle against the influence of Gluck; but, more importantly, Emperor Joseph II happened to be in Paris at the time, travelling incognito. The emperor was a passionate devotee of Italian music, and Sacchini's in particular, and he eagerly recommended the composer to his sister Marie Antoinette, the Queen of France. The Queen's patronage paved Sacchini's way to the Opéra (she had helped Gluck in much the same fashion eight years earlier). In October, Sacchini signed a lucrative contract with the Académie Royale de Musique (the Paris Opéra) to produce three new works.[2][10]

However, Sacchini immediately found himself embroiled in intrigues. Seigneur de la Ferté, the intendant of the Menus-Plaisirs du Roi, a sort of master of royal ceremonies who was also head of the Académie Royale, was opposed to the queen's predilection for foreign music.[16] He plotted to delay the premiere of Sacchinis first French opera, Renaud. Meanwhile, the Gluckists were manoeuvring to detach Sacchini from his Piccinnist supporters. When Renaud finally appeared on 25 February 1783, its reception was positive but not overwhelming. The libretto was a reworking, to which Framery contributed, of a libretto by Simon-Joseph Pellegrin (Renaud, ou La suite d'Armide), which had originally been set to music in 1722 by Henri Desmarets. Contrary to what has often been claimed,[17] the Parisian Renaud was not a revised version of Sacchini's Armida of 1772, itself revised to create a new opera Rinaldo for London in 1780. Instead, Renaud was "a completely new opera, starting with the action, which begins at the point where the other two leave off; the subject of the opera was no longer the love of Armida and Rinaldo in the enchanted garden, which Armida destroys after her lover leaves her, but based on their subsequent story in Tasso's Gerusalemme liberata (with many liberties taken)."[18] However, Renaud pleased neither party: "Piccinni's faction asserted that the score ... was influenced by Gluck, while the Gluck supporters condemned the work for lacking dramatic power and originality."[2]

Sacchini's second opera for the Paris stage was also based on a subject the composer had treated (twice) before, the story of El Cid. The new work appeared at the court theatre under the title Chimène in November 1783, in an atmosphere of direct competition with Piccinni. Piccinni's Didon, staged at court the previous month, had been hailed as a masterpiece, enjoying a further two performances there; in comparison, Chimène made less of an impression and was only given once. However, "both composers were presented to the king (Sacchini by the queen herself) and given a large pension".[2] In fact, despite Sacchini's arrival in Paris having been supported by Piccinni himself (he had initially seen Sacchini as an ally), the continuing absence of Gluck (which would turn out to be permanent), the intrigues of Piccinni's enemies, Sacchini's touchiness and his need for money, had inevitably ended in a rivalry between the two Italian composers, and a third musical faction had emerged on the Parisian scene: the "Sacchinists", a "sort of moderate Gluckists, who, as [the writer on music] Grimm wittily observed, had adhered to the new sect solely because of their jealousy towards Piccinni. With his indecisiveness and weakness, Sacchini only succeeded in setting himself against both factions, without endearing himself to either; and when it came to a fight, he found both of them against him." [19]

Sacchini's first two Parisian operas had been praised for their Italianate charm, but criticised for a certain dramatic weakness, also deriving from the Italian style. With his next operas, Sacchini "attempted to create works that conformed to the ideals of French musical drama."[2] Dardanus, with a libretto which was largely a reworking of Jean-Philippe Rameau's opera of the same name, provoked mixed reactions and appeared in two different versions in the first year of its life on stage. His next opera, dipe à Colone, was to have a far more dramatic impact on the life of the composer. Sacchini had finished the score in November 1785, and the enthusiastic Marie-Antoinette was keen for it to be given at court on 4 January 1786 to mark the opening of the new theatre at the Palace of Versailles (even though the finishing touches had not been made to the building). Perhaps because of difficulties with rehearsals, the one and only performance at court had limited success, but fate denied the composer the satisfaction of seeing it again, either at court, or at the Opéra. His pupil Henri Montan Berton, himself an opera composer, described the circumstances which delayed further performances:

Queen Marie Antoinette, who loved and cultivated the arts, had promised Sacchini that Oedipe would be the first opera to be performed at the court theatre after its transfer to Fontainebleau. Sacchini had shared the good news with us and continued his habit of meeting Her Majesty after she had heard mass, when she invited him to join her in her music salon. There she took pleasure in listening to some of the finest excerpts from Arvire et Évélina, the opera [with words by] Guillard on which he was then working. Having noticed that, for several Sundays in a row, the Queen seemed to avoid catching his eye, Sacchini tormented with anxiety deliberately placed himself in her way so that Her Majesty had no choice but to speak with him. She received him in the music salon and told him, in a voice full of emotion: 'My dear Sacchini, people say I show too much favour to foreigners. They have pressured me so strongly to have Monsieur Lemoyne's Phèdre[20] performed instead of your dipe that I could not refuse. You see the position I am in, please forgive me.'
Sacchini, struggling to contain his distress, bowed respectfully and immediately returned to Paris. He was brought to my mother's house. He entered in tears and threw himself into an armchair. We could only get a few broken phrases from him: 'My good friend, my children, I'm finished. The Queen, she no longer loves me! The Queen, she no longer loves me!' All our efforts to allay his grief were in vain. He refused to have dinner with us. He was very ill with gout...we took him back to his house and three [days] later he died at the age of 56.[21]

Sacchini died on 6 October 1786, aged 56, leaving the score of Arvire et Évélina incomplete. It was finished by Jean-Baptiste Rey, the head of the Opéra, and successfully produced on 29 April 1788.

Sacchini's dramatic death caught the public's imagination. The involvement of the queen and a sincerely appreciative article by Piccinni, who dedicated a moving funeral oration to the dead composer, turned popular opinion in his favour. The management of the Académie Royale, without even waiting for the usual pressure from above, ordered dipe à Colone to go into rehearsal at the Théâtre de la Porte Saint-Martin, then the temporary home of the Opéra. "The first performance of dipe à Colone took place on Tuesday 1 February 1787 ... The hall was packed, and many people had to remain standing ... The turnout made the triumph even more impressive." [22] Its success was resounding and lasting: henceforward, the work was staged in Paris's leading theatre every year from 1787 to 1830, and revived in July 1843 and May 1844, giving a total of 583 performances,[23] making it Sacchini's most famous opera and one of the most durable of the eighteenth-century repertoire, surpassing even the operas of Gluck, at least until it fell into the oblivion in which it has more or less remained until today, along with the rest of Sacchini's work.

Musical style

"The real significance of Sacchini's work is difficult to determine aesthetically, although the obvious historical importance of the composer and his activity undoubtedly demands more careful study and more thorough investigation":[3] with these words the editor of Sacchini's article in the Grande Enciclopedia della Musica Lirica begins the section evaluating his music. Any such assessment is made more difficult by the comparative lack of interest the modern operatic world has shown in Sacchini's works, although this has begun to change in the early 21st century: there are now two complete recordings of dipe à Colone and one of Renaud.[24]

In his own time, Sacchini was described as the champion of melody. Indeed, the composer Giuseppe Carpani, about twenty years his junior, said that Sacchini might even be considered the finest melodist in the world.[25] This melodic gift, along with the general facility Sacchini found in composing music, was undoubtedly the result of his upbringing amid the flourishing Neapolitan school of opera.[3] From the beginning, however, Sacchini revealed a tendency to distance himself from the more hackneyed features of the Italian operatic tradition. "Only rarely did he adhere to the complete da capo form, but he often made use of altered versions of this basic plan. He also made frequent use of a cavatina-like two-part aria that approximates to the A portion of the da capo form, and of the vocal rondò, in both comic and serious works."[25] However, it was only when he became part of "an international musical milieu and with the acquisition of a much broader and more diverse experience that Sacchini's finest qualities achieved complete maturity."[3] This is true above all of the period in Paris, when he "strengthened his own style with an obviously Gluckian influence, which was not, however, strong enough to cancel out his melodic and sensuous gifts", which derived from the Italian tradition, "while his orchestral palette was also enriched by new and vivid colours, which frequently anticipated many aspects of the future Romantic movement."[3] The most characteristic work in this respect is undoubtedly dipe à Colone, but the description also applies to Dardanus: "these are operas in which every element lacking a dramatic function has been removed. Accompanied recitatives, ariosos and arias blend naturally into one another...[giving life] to scenes whose unity is guaranteed by the use of the same thematic material...the combination of cavatina and cabaletta is particularly successful, and it was destined to become a common feature of opera in the following century...[finally] the choral scenes, alternating chorus and soloists, are highly effective, on the one hand revealing the influence of Gluck, and on the other showing the way forward to the grand opera of Spontini."[26] Writing in Grove, David DiChiera concludes, "With his masterpiece, dipe, Sacchini admirably achieved a synthesis of Italian melodic style and Gluckian principles within a French dramatic framework".[25]


Unless otherwise stated in the footnotes, the following list of Sacchini's works is drawn from the "biographical summary" by Georges Sauvé, Antonio Sacchini 1730-1786 Un musicien de Marie-Antoinette.[27] The list of works is still incomplete, mainly as far as non-operatic music is concerned.


Title Genre Acts Premiere (place) Premiere (date) Revisions and notable revivals
Fra Donato intermezzo 2 acts Naples 1756
giocatoreIl giocatore intermezzo Naples 1757
Olimpia tradita[28] commedia Naples 1758
copistaIl copista burlato commedia Naples 1759
vendemmiaLa vendemmia intermezzo 1 act Rome 1760 Revised for Barcelona in 1767
testaccioIl testaccio opera buffa Rome 1760
due fratelliI due fratelli beffati commedia Naples 1760
Andromaca opera seria Naples 1761-05-3030 May 1761
fintaLa finta contessa farsetta Rome 1761
due bariLi due bari opera buffa Naples 1762
amore in campoL'amore in campo dramma giocoso 2 acts Rome 1762
Alessandro Severo opera seria 3 acts Venice 1763-02Carnival 1763
Alessandro nell'Indie opera seria Venice 1763
Olimpiade opera seria 3 acts Padua 1763 Revived in Paris in 1777 as a pasticcio with music by Sacchini, under the title L'olympiade, to a translation by N.E. Framery
Semiramide riconosciuta opera seria 3 acts Rome 1764
Eumene opera seria Florence 1764
Lucio Vero opera seria Naples 1764-11-044 November 1764 Partly revived in London in 1773 as a pasticcio
fintoIl finto pazzo per amore intermezzo 2 acts Rome 1765 Multiple revivals
Creso opera seria 3 acts Naples 1765 Revised for London in 1774 and, under the new title of Euriso, in 1781
contadinaLa contadina in corte opera buffa Rome 1765 Multiple revivals (London, 1782)
isolaL'isola d'amore dramma giocoso 2 acts Rome 1766 Revived in Paris in 1775, to a translation by N.E. Framery entitled La colonie, as a pasticcio with music by Sacchini, in the form of an opéra-comique.
The original Italian version was also revised for London in 1776 while the French one was furtherly reworked in German in 1779
contadineLe contadine bizzarre[29] Milan 1766
Artaserse opera seria 3 acts Rome 1768
CiddeIl Cidde opera seria 3 acts Roma 1769[30]
Nicoraste opera seria 3 acts Venice 1769
Scipione in Cartagena opera seria Munich 1770-01-088 January 1770
Calliroe opera seria Ludwigsburg 1770
eroeL'eroe cinese opera seria Munich 1770
Adriano in Siria opera seria Venice 1770
Ezio opera seria Naples 1771
Armida opera seria 3 acts Milan and Florence 1772 Revised for London in 1780 as Rinaldo
Vologeso opera seria Parma 1772
CidIl Cid opera seria London 1773-01-1919 January 1773
Tamerlano opera seria London 1773
Perseo opera seria 3 acts London 1774
Nitteti opera seria 3 acts London 1774
Montezuma opera seria 3 acts London 1775
Didone abbandonata[31] opera seria London 1775
Erifile opera seria 3 acts London 1778
amore soldatoL'amore soldato dramma giocoso 3 acts London 1778 Revived in Paris in 1779 (Sacchini's debut at the Paris Opéra)
avaroL'avaro deluso, o Don Calandrino dramma giocoso 3 acts London 1778
Enea e Lavinia opera seria 3 acts London 1779
Mitridate opera seria London 1781
Rosina[32] London 1783
Renaud[33] opéra
(tragédie lyrique)
3 acts Paris 1783
Chimène tragédie lyrique 3 acts Fontainebleau 1783
Dardanus[34] tragédie 4 acts Paris 1784
Oedipedipe à Colone[35] tragédie lyrique 3 acts Versailles 1786-01-044 January 1786
Arvire et Évélina
(unfinished, completed by Jean-Baptiste Rey)
tragédie lyrique 3 acts Paris 1788

Operas written in collaboration with other musicians

In this section are listed the operas containing original music by Sacchini and by other composers.

  • Niccolò Piccinni
    • Le donne dispettose (Naples, 1754) (uncertain)
    • Le trame per amore (Naples 1759) (uncertain)
    • Il curioso imprudente (Naples, 1761) [36]
    • La massara spiritosa (Naples, 1761)
    • Il Cavalier partigiano (Naples, 1762)
    • I due sediarii (Naples, 1759)[37]
  • Baldassare Galuppi
    • Villano (Venice?, 1762?)[38]
  • Tommaso Giordani
    • Le vicende della sorte (1770)[39]

Instrumental music

Nearly all instrumental music published by Antonio Sacchini dates from his London years (1772-1781). Most of the works listed below, first published in London, were later reprinted in Paris and elsewhere.

  • 2 sinfonias printed in Paris in 1767[40]
  • Periodical Overture n. 49, in 8 parts, Bremner, London, 1776[41]
  • 6 trio sonatas, for two violins and basso continuo, op. 1, London, Bremner, 1775
  • 6 string quartets, op. 2, London 1778
  • 6 sonatas for harpsichord or piano and violin, op. 3, London, 1779
  • 6 sonatas for harpsichord or piano and violin (2nd set of favourite lessons), op. 4, London, 1780

Sacred music

Sacchini's sacred works were composed for the most part during his directorship at the conservatoire of the Ospedaletto in Venice. Significantly, all Venice compositions are in major tonality.[42]

  • 1761 Gesù presentato al tempio, oratorio, Naples
  • 1764 L'umiltà esaltata, oratorio, Naples
  • 1766 L'abbandono delle richezze di San Filippo Neri, oratorio, Bologna[43]
  • 1768 II popolo di Giuda liberato della morte per intercessione della regina Esther, oratorio, Venice
  • 1768 Magnificat in D major, Venice
  • 1768 Salve Regina in G major, antiphon, Venice
  • 1768 Fremo gemendo in poena in B major, psalm, Venice
  • 1768 Sicut lilia in valle amoena in F major, psalm, Venice
  • 1769 Mass in D major (Kyrie, gloria), Venice
  • 1769 Te Deum in D major, Venice
  • 1769 Habet amor suas procellas in D major, Venice
  • 1769 Aurae de coelo in B major, Venice
  • 1769 Charitas omnia vincit (modi sacri), motet, Venice
  • 1769 Paventi ut nautae in G major, psalm, Venice
  • 1770 Salve Regina in F major, hymn (antiphon), Venice
  • 1770 Machabaeorum mater, azione sacra (actio sacra), Venice
  • 1771 Ave Regina coelorum in F major, hymn (antiphon), Venice
  • 1771 O quam carae et quam beatae silvae, psalm, Venice
  • 1771 Jephtes sacrificium azione sacra (actio sacra), Venice
  • 1772 Miserere in E major, psalm, Venice
  • 1772 Regina coeli in D major, antiphon, Venice
  • 1772 Missa solemnis in D major (Kyrie, gloria, credo), Venice
  • 1772 Cor serba te fidelem in F major, psalm, Venice
  • 1772 Nuptiae Ruth, azione sacra (actio sacra), Venice
  • 1786 Juditta, oratorio, Paris

Undated, but traceable back to the Venetian period (1768-1772)

  • Ave Regina coelorum in E major, hymn (antiphon), Venice
  • Regina coeli in B major,antiphon, Venice

Salon vocal music

Georges Sauvé reports that there exist "numerous works not yet catalogued, in Italy, in London (including nine 1775 duets), in Paris, in Dublin, ariettas which were published long after his death, arias, cantatas ..." There also exists Fanny Bazin's Music Book,[44] a completely unpublished handwritten collection by Antonio Sacchini, dating back to 1785 and currently belonging to Sauvé himself, a descendant of Madame Bazin. It contains 19 melodies (16 for piano and soprano, 1 for piano solo, 1 duet for two sopranos and a quartet), and is due to be published by ELPE-Musique (Le Cahier de musique de Fanny Bazin). The book was used in the lessons Sacchini gave to the 11-year-old Bazin at the behest of Queen Marie Antoinette[45] and "is witness to the refinement and intensity of the artistic life that Queen Marie Antoinette shared with those close to her".[46]

Notes and references

  1. Sauvé, p. 15
  2. 2.0 2.1 2.2 2.3 2.4 2.5 2.6 2.7 DiChiera, p. 114
  3. 3.0 3.1 3.2 3.3 3.4 3.5 Caruselli, IV, p.1087
  4. Sauvé, pp. 2627
  5. Dorsi/Rausa, p. 167
  6. Sauvé, p. 30
  7. See Giuseppe Ellero, Maria Carla Paolucci, Jolanda Scarpa (ed.), Arte e musica all'Ospedaletto. Schede d'archivio sull'attività musicale degli Ospedali dei Derelitti e dei Mendicanti di Venezia (sec. XVIXVIII), Venice, Stamperia di Venezia Editrice, 1978
  8. The Present State of Music in France and Italy: or, The Journal of a Tour through those Countries, undertaken to collect Materials for a General History of Music. By Charles Burney, Mus. D., second edition, London, Becket, Roeson and Robinson, 1773, pp. 184185
  9. Jörg Riedlbauer, Tommaso Traetta. Opere (Bari, Palomar, 2008) ISBN 9788876002519
  10. 10.0 10.1 Sauvé
  11. In 1780, there appeared Rinaldo, a reworking of a previous opera, Armida (see below with reference to Renaud).
  12. The staging of this opera seria at the Comédie Italienne was highly unusual and in fact a violation of the long-standing legal agreement which reserved the performance of tragic operas for the Académie Royale de Musique et de Danse
  13. Jullien, pp. 15 et seq.
  14. Pitou, pp. 482483; Lajarte, p. 311
  15. Bruce Carr, Banti, Brigida Giorgi, in The New Grove Dictionary of Opera, cit., I, p. 304.
  16. It was less than ten years since Gluck had succeeded in breaking the century-old monopoly French (or naturalised French) had exercised over the repertoire of the Opéra.
  17. cfr. DiChiera, p. 114, Caruselli, p. 1087, Dorsi/Rausa, p. 167
  18. Dizionario dell'opera (article on: Renaud)
  19. Jullien, p. 61
  20. Phèdre was in fact performed at court on 26 October.
  21. Revue et gazette musicale de Paris, 1833, number 12. Quoted in Francesco Florimo (, pp. 426427. The quotation by Florimo, as well as the one by Jullien (pp. 103104), refers to a period of "three months" between Marie Antoinette's announcement and Sacchini's death. Since such a lapse of time is obviously incongruous with the other available facts, Sauvé took the trouble to check Berton's original report in the library of the Opéra and discovered that he had actually written "three days". The date is also confirmed by a letter reproduced as a photograph by Sauvé (pp. 113115): this was written 69 years after the events by Françoise "Fanny" Bazin, at the time a young reader to the queen (she was the daughter of Charles Bazin, the intendant of the queen's Menus Plaisirs) and she too gives direct and clear evidence about what happened.
  22. Sauvé, pp. 121122
  23. Lajarte, p. 355
  24. dipe à Colone: Chur de Chambre et Orchestre de la Camerata de Bourgogne, conducted by Jean-Paul Penin (Dynamic, 2005); Opera Lafayette Orchestra and Chorus, conducted by Ryan Brown (Naxos, 2006); Renaud, Les Talens Lyriques, conducted by Christophe Rousset (Ediciones Speciales, 2013).
  25. 25.0 25.1 25.2 DiChiera, p. 115
  26. Dorsi/Rausa, p. 168
  27. The sources from which Sauvé states he has drawn his information (p. 143), are as follows:
    *Grove (diChiera), i.e. the article by David DiChiera, Sacchini, Antonio (Maria Gasparo Gioacchino), in The New Grove Dictionary of Opera;
    * Thierstein, i.e. a dissertation produced at the University of Cincinnati in 1974 and apparently never published (Eldred A. Thierstein, Antonio Maria Gaspero Sacchini and his French operas);
    * Hochstein, i.e. Wolfgang Hochstein, Musikforschung am Ospedaletto zu Venedig zur Zeit Antonio Sacchinis, «Die Musikforschung», 1987, 40, 320337;
    * Roberto Zanetti, i.e. probably, La musica italiana nel Settecento, Busto Arsizio, Bramante Editrice, 1978
  28. Sauvé's list reports the erroneous title of L'Armida tradita.
  29. Cited by Opera Glass.
  30. Sauvé erroneously antedates in 1764 the production of the opera under the title of Il Gran Cidde (as stated by Dennis Libby, Cidde, Il, in The New Grove Dictionary of Opera, cit., I, p. 862).
  31. Cited by Sauvé and by Opera Glass. The New Grove Dictionary of Opera reports this work, along with 1770 Le vicende della sorte, as just containing music by Sacchini ("Music in:").
  32. Reported by Sauvé, but not cited by DiChiera.
  33. score
  34. score
  35. score
  36. Stated by DiChiera too.
  37. No mention of the collaboration is made by Siegfried Gmeinwieser/R in his article Fenaroli, Fedele, in Grove Dictionary, II, p. 152.
  38. No mention of the collaboration is made by Dale E. Monson in his article Galuppi, Baldassare, in Grove Dictionary, II, p. 340. Monson just cites, among the original operas by Galluppi, a 1762 work bearing the similar title of Il marchese villano.
  39. Reported as a pasticcio by Irena Cholij in her article Giordani, Tommaso, in Grove Dictionary, II, p. 426, and as containing music by Sacchini ("Music in:") by DiChiera (cf. footnote above).
  40. According to Sauvé this piece of information is taken from "Grove", i.e. probably, in this case, The New Grove Dictionary of Music and Musicians.
  41. The Periodical Overture was an editorial initiative by Robert Bremner, consisting in publishing 'periodically' new overtures by different composers. In the programme were involved, over a period of twenty years (1763-1783), such musicians as Thomas Arne, Karl Friedrich Abel, Johann Christian Bach, Luigi Boccherini, Christian Cannabich, Carl Ditters von Dittersdorf, Christoph Willibald Gluck, François-Joseph Gossec, Pietro Alessandro Guglielmi, Franz Joseph and Michael Haydn, Ignaz Holzbauer, Niccolò Jommelli, Niccolò Piccinni, Gaetano Pugnani, Franz Xaver Richter, Johann Schobert, Johann Stamitz, Johann Baptist Vanhal. Cf David Wyn Jones, Robert Bremner and The Periodical Overture, "Soundings" (University College Cardiff Press), VII (1978), p. 6384.
  42. The composition titles containing forms of the Latin word caelum ('heaven') are reported by Sauvé in such correct classical spelling; within this article, however, the current ecclesiastical spelling coelum has been preferred.
  43. In his list of Sacchini's sacred works, Sauvé identifies Rome as the first performance place (p. 146), whereas he had previously stated Bologna (p. 30). In fact, in Bologna, at the local Congregation of the Oratory, is preserved the manuscript of the work, which, incidentally, was performed in 2007, during the event Creator Faenza Musica Sacra (Amadeusonline Calendario)
  44. The dedicatee of the book is Françoise (Fanny) Bazin, already mentioned above in a footnote, an ancestor of Sauvé, and the former holder by inheritance of Sacchini's own copy of the original edition of dipe à Colone, which was utilized by ELPE-Musique for the modern edition of the opera.
  45. Cf. the review of Sauvé's "bréviaire biographique" by Emmanuelle Pesqué , in ODB Opéra Passion (2007)
  46. Le Cahier de musique de Fanny Bazin



  • (Italian) Salvatore Caruselli (ed.), Grande enciclopedia della musica lirica, Longanesi & C. Periodici S.p.A., Rome
  • David DiChiera, Sacchini, Antonio (Maria Gasparo Gioacchino), in Grove Dictionary, op. cit. (below), IV, pp. 114116
  • (Italian) Frabrizio Dorsi e Giuseppe Rausa, Storia dell'opera italiana, Turin, B. Mondadori, 2000. ISBN 978-88-424-9408-9
  • (Italian) Francesco Florimo, Cenno storico sulla scuola musicale di Napoli. Del Cavalier Francesco Florimo, archivista del Real Collegio di musica in S. Pietro a Majella, Naples, set by Lorenzo Rocco, 1869 (accessible for free online in consulted 27 January 2011)
  • (French) Adolphe Jullien, La Cour et l'Opéra sous Louis XVI. Marie-Antoinette et Sacchini Salieri Favart et Gluck. D'après des documents inédits conservés aux Archives de l'État et à l'Opéra, Paris, Librairie Académique (Didier),1878 (accessible for free online in, consulted 3 February 2011)
  • (French) Théodore de Lajarte, Bibliothèque Musicale du Théatre de l'Opéra. Catalogue Historique, Chronologique, Anecdotique, Paris, Librairie des bibliophiles, 1878, Tome I (accessible online at consulted 25 January 2011)
  • Spire Pitou, The Paris Opéra. An Encyclopedia of Operas, Ballets, Composers, and Performers Rococo and Romantic, 1715-1815, Greenwood Press, Westport/London, 1985. ISBN 0-313-24394-8
  • Stanley Sadie (ed.), The New Grove Dictionary of Opera, Grove (Oxford University Press), New York, 1997. ISBN 978-0-19-522186-2
  • (French) Georges Sauvé, Antonio Sacchini 1730-1786 Un musicien de Marie-Antoinette Bréviaire biographique, Paris, L'Harmattan, 2006. ISBN 2-296-01994-3

Online sources

  • This page contains material translated from the equivalent article in the Italian Wikipedia

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