Baldassare Galuppi

Baldassare Galuppi (October 18, 1706 - January 3, 1785) was an Venetian composer noted for his operas, and particularly opera buffa.

He was born on the island of Burano in the Venetian Lagoon, as a result of which he became known as Il Buranello. His first attempt at opera, La fede nell incostanza ossia gli amici rivali (1722) was a spectacular failure, being hissed off the stage. He subsequently studied music with Antonio Lotti, and, after a brief period in Florence working as a harpsichordist, returned to Venice for another attempt at opera. This time, his opera seria Dorinda (1729) was a success and launched his theatrical career.

In 1740 he was appointed music director of the Ospedale dei Mendicanti, and he worked at St. Mark's in Venice from 1748, being appointed maestro di cappella, considered Venice's top musical post, there in 1762. He lived and worked for most of his life in Venice, though from 1741 to 1743 he worked in London and from 1765 to 1768 he worked for Catherine the Great in St Petersburg.

His first opera buffa was L'Arcadia in Brenta (1749). This was also his first collaboration with librettist Carlo Goldoni, with whom he produced a number of operas. These works were very popular, with Il filosofo di campagna (1754) a particular success. Goldoni's libretto Il mondo della luna, first set by Galuppi, was later used by a number of other composers, including Josef Haydn.

In his later years, his operatic output decreased somewhat. Among his non-operatic works are a large number of pieces for harpsichord and several oratorios. By the time of his death in Venice, Galuppi was one of the best known and most respected figures in the Venetian musical establishment. A requiem mass was held in his memory at St Mark's.

Robert Browning's poem "A Toccata of Galuppi's" refers to Galuppi and his work.


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