Baldassare Galuppi Biography (BBC)
Though little-heard today, Baldassare Galuppi was one of the key composers of the 18th century, above all in the field of comic opera.
Born in 1706 on the Venetian island of Burano (for which he gained the nickname ‘Il Buranello’), he received a somewhat basic musical training from his father, a barber and theatre violinist. The failure of his first opera, composed at the age of 16, led him to pursue a more formal musical education, however, and soon he was studying with the eminent Venetian composer Antonio Lotti.
It was the success of Dorinda in 1729 which finally launched his career as an opera composer, and over the next 40 years and more he was to compose over 100 operas, mainly for the Venetian theatres, but also for a number of other important centres as well (he was in London in 1741–3, and in Vienna in 1748).
Though his earlier operas were mostly serious ones, he later on became increasingly involved in the emerging comic genre blowing in from Naples: opera buffa. Galuppi was one of the first figures to become internationally famous as a composer of opera buffa, as from the 1750s onwards he produced a string of successful and influential works, many – such as Il mondo della luna (1750) and Il filosofo di campagna (1754), perhaps his best-known operas today – in collaboration with the brilliant comic playwright Carlo Goldoni.
But Galuppi was also active as a church composer. In 1740 he was appointed maestro di musica at the Ospedale dei Mendicanti, one of Venice’s famous orphanage conservatoires, and in his later years he held a similar position at another, the Ospedale degli Incurabili.
In between, he had risen to Venice’s highest musical post, that of maestro di cappella at the Basilica of St Mark’s. In these capacities he produced a substantial body of liturgical music, as well as 27 oratorios. His reputation as a composer for church and stage was recognised in spectacular fashion in 1765 when he began a three-year term as musical director to the chapel of Catherine the Great in St Petersburg; while there, he mounted performances of Italian operas and also forged a new musical style for the Orthodox church in which Italian and Russian elements were successfully combined.
His skill as a keyboard player is also reflected in nearly 100 sonatas. Galuppi was a well-liked man. Contemporary accounts praise his charm, wit and intelligence, while the list of his musical admirers contains many of the major figures of the mid- to late-18th century, including Hasse, C. P. E. Bach and Salieri.
When the English music historian Charles Burney visited him in Venice in 1770, he recorded the composer’s definition of well-made music as ‘beauty, clearness and good modulation’.
Profile © Lindsay Kemp
Baldassare Galuppi Biography (Wikipedia)
Baldassare Galuppi (18 October 1706 – 3 January 1785) was a Venetian composer, born on the island of Burano in the Venetian Republic. He belonged to a generation of composers, including Christoph Willibald Gluck, Domenico Scarlatti, and C. P. E. Bach, whose works are emblematic of the prevailing galant style that developed in Europe throughout the 18th century. He achieved international success, spending periods of his career in Vienna, London and Saint Petersburg, but his main base remained Venice, where he held a succession of leading appointments.
In his early career Galuppi made a modest success in opera seria, but from the 1740s, together with the playwright and librettist Carlo Goldoni, he became famous throughout Europe for his comic operas in the new dramma giocoso style. To the succeeding generation of composers, he was known as "the father of comic opera". Some of his mature opere serie, for which his librettists included the poet and dramatist Metastasio, were also widely popular.
Baldassare Galuppi Tracks