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Published online by Cambridge University Press:  16 February 2017


We often read about the castrato Senesino's arrogant, self-absorbed personality, especially in relation to Handel and his London years. Concerns about Senesino's difficult character spread in London even before his arrival in September 1720. That this preoccupied the singer is shown in his correspondence with Giuseppe Riva, which reveals that Senesino was also apprehensive about working with the composer. Evidence shows that Senesino sought to control his debut through the choice of and involvement in a production of the opera Arsace. The selection of a libretto that exploits a subject drawn from British history, the poetic and dramaturgical revisions made by Rolli to the original text from 1715, and the changes and additions to Orlandini's original score all brought Senesino to the fore. That Senesino's voice stood as a strong argument in his rhetorical strategy may not be surprising; the aria type that he chose and the avoidance of ostentatious ornamentation are unexpected, however, and may reveal a more subtle plan of self-fashioning.

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1 Mainwaring, John, Memoirs of the Life of the Late George Frederic Handel. To which is added, a Catalogue of his Works, and Observations upon them (London: R. and J. Dodsley, 1760), 107112 Google Scholar.

2 McGeary, Thomas, The Politics of Opera in Handel's Britain (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2013), 157160 CrossRefGoogle Scholar.

3 I have discussed the negotiations between the Royal Academy of Music and Senesino and their wider implications in Bucciarelli, Melania, ‘Senesino's Negotiations with the Royal Academy of Music: Further Insight into the Riva–Bernardi Correspondence and the Role of Singers in the Practice of Eighteenth-Century Opera’, Cambridge Opera Journal 27/3 (2015), 189213 CrossRefGoogle Scholar.

4 I-Vas, Giudici dell'Esaminador. B. 242, Interdetti, f. 182. Entry 17 March 1707. I would like to thank Beth Glixon for alerting me to the presence of Senesino's name on the creditors' list in the register.

5 Senesino's debut in Venice was originally thought to have taken place in Ruggeri's Armida abbandonata during the autumn of 1707.

6 This is the earliest known operatic role of Senesino. Pollarolo's beautifully preserved score is in GB-Lam MS78.

7 (Rovigo: Bissucci, 1707). Private collection.

8 Letter from Francesco Zambeccari to his brother Alessandro in Bologna, Naples 5 November 1715. I-Bu ms 92. Unless otherwise indicated, all translations are mine. Count Zambeccari acted as theatre agent for the viceroy in Naples. He probably expected the newly arrived singers to pay him a visit to show their respect, something Senesino and Casati failed to do. For a similar incident see Hunter, David, ‘Senesino Disobliges Caroline, Princess of Wales and Princess Violante, of Florence’, Early Music 30/2 (2002), 214223 CrossRefGoogle Scholar.

9 ‘L'altro giorno arrivarono la Durastante, Senesino e Casati, che sono molto piaciuti. Ieri sera arrivò a 4 ore la Landi, quale questa mattina ho veduta e sentita, e pure è bona, e certo che quest'anno è una compagnia che in pochi altri luoghi vi sarà la compagna. Il Casati ha una voce et un cantare che mi piace infinitamente; ma troppo patetico’ (The other day there arrived Durastante, Senesino and Casati, who have been very much liked. Last night at four Landi arrived. I saw her and heard her this morning; she is also good. It is certain that this year we have a company [of singers] that only few other places [theatres] can match. Casati has a voice and a way of singing that I like infinitely, although too pathetic). Letter from Francesco Maria Zambeccari to his brother Alessandro, Naples 24 September 1715. I-Bu ms 92.

10 Straub, Kristina, Sexual Suspects: Eighteenth-Century Players and Sexual Ideology (Princeton: Princeton University Press, 1992)Google Scholar. See also Freeman, Lisa A., Character's Theater: Genre and Identity on the Eighteenth-Century English Stage (Philadelphia: University of Pennsylvania Press, 2001)Google Scholar.

11 This example is discussed in Joncus, Berta’s theorization of the star singer in dramma per musica, ‘Producing Stars in Dramma per Musica ’, in Music as Social and Cultural Practice: Essays in Honour of Reinhard Strohm, ed. Bucciarelli, Melania and Joncus, Berta (Woodbridge: Boydell, 2007), 289 Google Scholar.

12 Anastasia Robinson's letter to Giuseppe Riva (undated), in Händel Handbuch, supplement in four volumes to the Hallische Händel-Ausgabe, ed. Walter Eisen and Margret Eisen (Kassel: Bärenreiter, 1985), volume 4, 112–113. Robinson here is making reference to Bononcini's opera Griselda (1722), in which she sang the role of the vulnerable, patient and submissive heroine. The English ballad of ‘Patient Grissel’ (sic) also circulated in print during the 1720s and was linked to Bononcini's opera.

13 See Desler, Anne’s excellent study, ‘“The little that I have done is already gone and forgotten”: Farinelli and Burney Write Music History’, Cambridge Opera Journal 27/3 (2015), 215238 CrossRefGoogle Scholar; Fischer, Christine, ‘Self-Stylization in Ceremonial Context: Maria Antonia Walpurgis as Talestri, regina delle amazzoni ’, in Italian Opera in Central Europe, volume 1: Institutions and Ceremonies, ed. Bucciarelli, Melania, Dubowy, Norbert and Strohm, Reinhard (Berlin: Berliner Wissenschafts-Verlag, 2006), 203219 Google Scholar; and especially Aspden, Suzanne, The Rival Sirens: Performance and Identity on Handel's Operatic Stage (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2013)CrossRefGoogle Scholar. Joncus touches upon the agency of singers in producing their own persona in ‘Producing Stars’.

14 The habit was satirized by Marcello, Benedetto (Il teatro alla moda (Venice, 1720))Google Scholar and condemned, amongst others, by Martello, Pier Jacopo (Della tragedia antica e moderna (Rome: Gonzaga, 1715))Google Scholar, and Riccoboni, Luigi (Dell'arte rappresentativa (London, 1728))Google Scholar.

15 Freeman, Character's Theater, 28; see also Straub, Sexual Suspects; Holland, Peter, The Ornament of Action: Text and Performance in Restoration Comedy (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1979)Google Scholar; and Worthen, William B., The Idea of the Actor (Princeton: Princeton University Press, 1984)CrossRefGoogle Scholar.

16 ‘Musidorus’, on the castrato Benedetto Baldassari in The Theatre 21 (8–12 March 1720). For a discussion of these two examples and a fascinating exploration of the interplay between singers’ theatrical and public personas on the London stage during the 1720s see Aspden, Rival Sirens.

17 However, several members of the aristocracy and most, if not all, Academy directors had acquired plenty of operatic experience during their travels and Grand Tours to Italy. The operatic seasons preceding the opening of the Royal Academy of Music, especially those featuring Nicolini, were of course an important precedent, which offered good elements for comparison.

18 Aspden, Rival Sirens, 245–262; Joncus, ‘Producing Stars’, especially 279–282.

19 Aspden, Rival Sirens, devotes ample space to a discussion of the singing voice and identity. See in particular her concluding discussion, 245–262.

20 Letter from Senesino to Giuseppe Riva, Siena 1 July 1720. I-MOe Autografoteca Campori. Large sections of four of the five letters between Senesino and Riva have been published before, by Burrows, Donald among others: George Frideric Handel: Collected Documents, volume 1: 1609–1725 (Cambridge, Cambridge University Press, 2013)Google Scholar. In my recent article ‘Senesino's Negotiations’ all five letters are transcribed and translated in full. I use these translations here, with some modifications.

21 Bucciarelli, ‘Senesino's Negotiations’, 200–201.

22 Avanzati, Elisabetta, ‘Aspetti inediti di Francesco Bernardi detto il Senesino: notizie e curiosità sulla sua vita privata tra Londra e Siena’, in Lo stile della trasgressione: arte, architettura e musica nell'età barocca a Siena e nella sua provincia, ed. Rotundo, Felicia (Siena: Nuova Immagine[, 2008]), 145152 Google Scholar.

23 ‘Herrn Johann Joachim Quantzens Lebenslauf von ihm selbst entworfen’, in Marpurg, F. W., Historisch-kritische Beyträge zur Aufnahme der Musik, volume 1 (Berlin, 1754)Google Scholar, trans. Nettl, Paul in Forgotten Musicians (New York: Philosophical Library, [1951]), 293 Google Scholar.

24 Letter from Senesino to Giuseppe Riva, Dresden 15 (4) September 1718.

25 Milhous, Judith and Hume, Robert D., eds, Vice Chamberlain Coke's Theatrical Papers 1706–1715 (Carbondale, IL: Southern Illinois University Press, 1982), Nos 39 and 45Google Scholar.

26 Paolo Rolli had left Rome for London in January 1716. On Rolli see Dorris, G. E., Paolo Rolli and the Italian Circle in London, 1715–1744 (The Hague: Mouton, 1967)CrossRefGoogle Scholar, and Caruso, Carlo, Paolo Rolli. Libretti per musica (Milan: Franco Angeli, 1993)Google Scholar. Like Metastasio, he had been a pupil of Gian Vincenzo Gravina, one of the fathers of the Accademia dell'Arcadia. Rolli's letters to Giuseppe Riva are held at I-MOe Autografoteca Campori. A transcription and translation of the two letters is offered in Burrows, Donald, George Frideric Handel: Collected Documents, volume 1: 1609–1725 (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2014), 511516 Google Scholar. The transcriptions and translations given here differ, in places, from those given by Burrows.

27 Letter from Paolo Rolli to Giuseppe Riva, 23 September 1720. I-MOe Autografoteca Campori. Translation adapted from Burrows, Collected Documents, 512.

28 Arsace was Rolli's third commission for London after Numitore and Narciso (both 1720).

29 At least according to Rolli, in his letter to Giuseppe Riva dated 18 October 1720. Rolli also seems (as his handwriting is particularly challenging here) to refer to Polani as ‘il mostro ebraico caffettiero’, and continues ‘non ho mai veduto bestia sì strepitosa sfrontata et orrida come costì’ (the Jewish monster coffee-seller . . . I have never seen such an amazing, impudent and horrible beast as him): letter from Rolli to Giuseppe Riva, 23 September 1720). If Rolli is indeed referring to Polani here, anti-Semitism may offer an additional explanation for Senesino's objections. Both letters in I-MOe Autografoteca Campori. Girolamo Polani may have been in London since 1717. For more on this composer see Michael Talbot, Introduction to Girolamo Polani: Six Chamber Cantatas for Solo Voice (Middleton, WI: A-R Editions, 2011), ix–xv.

30 Talbot, Six Chamber Cantatas, xv.

31 Lindgren, Lowell, ‘Handel's London: Italian Musicians and Librettists’, in The Cambridge Companion to Handel, ed. Burrows, Donald (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1997), 80 Google Scholar.

32 The libretto, by Cardinal Pietro Ottoboni, does not provide the names of the singers. However, we learn of Senesino's presence in Rome and his performance in Teodosio il giovane through the dispacci (news reports) in the Fondo Albani at the Pesaro State Archives, discussed in Gialdroni, Teresa M., ‘Spigolature romane: la musica a Roma attraverso avvisi e dispacci del fondo Albani dell'Archivio di stato di Pesaro (1711)’, in ‘Vanitatis fuga, aeternitatis amor’: Wolfgang Witzenmann zum 65. Geburtstag, ed. Ehrmann-Herfort, Sabine and Engelhardt, Markus (Laaber: Laaber, 2005), 390 Google Scholar, note 43. In addition to Teodosio il giovane, Amadei had composed three oratorios and two melodrammi sacri. He was associated with Cardinal Ottoboni from at least 1702 to 1711.

33 Rolli's handwriting in this letter is challenging. This, and some other passages, have been misinterpreted by scholars, who have not recognized the references to Arsace as Senesino's intended debut opera.

34 Tipton, Alzada, ‘The Transformation of the Earl of Essex: Post-Execution Ballads and “The Phoenix and the Turtle”’, Studies in Philology 99/1 (2002), 58 Google Scholar.

35 Devereux's Apologie of the earle of Essex circulated in manuscript form in 1598 and was subsequently published in 1603.

36 This body of literature included Secret History of the Most renowned Q. Elizabeth and the E. of Essex. By a person of quality (Cologne, 1680), which was a translation of Le Comte d'Essex. Histoire Angloise (Paris, 1678), a nouvelle historique that also circulated as a chap-book and was the source of Banks, John’s tragedy The Unhappy Favourite of 1682 (Cologne 1680)Google Scholar, but also of the French dramatizations by Gautier de Costes, seigneur de la Calprenède (1638), Claude Boyer (1672) and Thomas Corneille (1678).

37 Banks's Unhappy Favourite was the first dramatization of the Elizabeth–Essex theme in English, and portrayed both Elizabeth and Essex as suffering victims. It was based on the French Le Comte d'Essex. Histoire Angloise and influenced by Corneille's tragédie. For a discussion of Banks's sentimental tragedy see Blair, Thomas Marshall Howe’s Introduction to his edition of The Unhappy Favourite (New York: Columbia University Press, 1939)Google Scholar.

38 The Unhappy Favourite was performed at the Theatre Royal, Drury Lane on 1 December 1720 (with Wilks as Essex and Mrs Porter as the Queen) and at Lincoln's Inn Fields on 27 December (with Ryan as Essex and Mrs Bullock as the Queen), with further performances on 14 May 1721 (Lincoln's Inn Fields) and 25 May (Drury Lane). See The London Stage, 1660–1800: A Calendar of Plays, Entertainments & Afterpieces, together with Casts, Box-Receipts and Contemporary Comment. Compiled from the Playbills, Newspapers and Theatrical Diaries of the Period, part 2: 1700–1729, two volumes, ed. with a critical introduction by Emmett L. Avery (Carbondale, IL: Southern Illinois University Press, 1960).

39 Rolli, Arsace (London 1721), note to the reader (no pagination).

40 Both Rolli and Salvi were, in part, wrong on this point, as Girolamo Frigimelica Roberti had preceded Salvi and written three tragedie per musica with tragic endings for Venice between 1695 and 1707.

41 However, Alexander Cunningham, who served as a tutor to the son of the first Duke of Queensbury, reported in a letter to Joseph Addison that the Venetian audience was ‘much divided in their judgement’ about Arsace (quoted in Selfridge-Field, Eleanor, A New Chronology of Venetian Opera and Related Genres, 1660–1760 (Stanford: Stanford University Press, 2007), 336 Google Scholar). On the Senesino–Durastanti and Nicolini–Romanina partnerships and other stage associations among singers see Bucciarelli, ‘Senesino's Negotiations’, 202–203.

42 See Giuntini, Francesco, I drammi per musica di Antonio Salvi: aspetti della ‘riforma’ del libretto del primo Settecento (Bologna: Il Mulino, 1994), 3254 Google Scholar. Giuntini also discusses Ferdinando de’ Medici's unusually close involvement in the choice of the French models used by Salvi (13–18).

43 Reinhard Strohm's studies in this area are numerous and well known. See at least the four-part article ‘Tragédie into Dramma per Musica’ originally published between 1988 and 1991 and now in Dramma per Musica: Italian Opera Seria of the Eighteenth Century (New Haven: Yale University Press, 1997), 121–177. See also Bucciarelli, Melania, Italian Opera and European Theatre, 1680–1720: Plots, Performers, Dramaturgies (Turnhout: Brepols, 2000)Google Scholar, where I explore the theatrical and rhetorical nature of dramma per musica and the interactions of its parts.

44 Feldman, Martha, ‘Magic Mirrors and the Seria Stage: Thoughts toward a Ritual View’, Journal of the American Musicological Society 48/3 (1995), 423484 CrossRefGoogle Scholar, especially 460–474. Feldman however, undermines the importance of dramaturgy, staging and gesture as tools to kindle, enhance and channel audience's emotions and understanding of the drama. As Reinhard Strohm's numerous studies (and my own) show, these elements worked in synergy with the arias, recitatives and instrumental interludes. With specific reference to Arsace, the dramaturgical modifications that Rolli made in order to foreground the primo uomo combine with the musical expression of Arsace/Senesino's persona.

45 The captatio benevolentie (literally ‘capturing benevolence’) is a rhetorical technique aimed at winning the listener's favour and goodwill at the beginning of a speech or an appeal. Aristotle (in the Poetics) placed great importance on both the captatio benevolentie and the peroratio (at the end of a speech). These were the parts of the speech in which the orator (or actor) could appeal more forcefully to the emotions of the listener.

46 These choices reflect Rolli's adherence to the ideals of the Accademia dei Quirini, born out of a schism within the Accademia dell'Arcadia led by Gravina and supported by Rolli in 1711. The ‘Quirini’, who included Gravina's pupil Metastasio, aimed at a more comprehensive (that is, not limited to poetry) cultural renewal and rigorous application of the Arcadian ideals of classicism and rationalism. While the Arcadians took inspiration mainly from the pastoral, the Quirini considered tragedy, with its moral and cathartic objectives, to be the highest form of poetry.

47 Arsace, Venice 1718 (Sartori 2847 and 2848); Arsace, Naples 1718 (Sartori 2846); Arsace, Modena 1719 (Sartori 2849); Amore e maestà, Rome 1720 (Sartori 1613). Sartori, Claudio, I libretti italiani a stampa dalle origini al 1800: catalogo analitico con 16 indici (Cuneo: Bertola & Locatelli, 1990–1994)Google Scholar.

48 These are indicated by a double asterisk in Table 2. The principal musical source is the manuscript score for Johann Mattheson's production of Arsace in Hamburg in 1722 (D-B 16371). The recitatives were newly written by Mattheson, but the arias reflect the production in London in 1721 (see Reinhard Strohm, ‘Die Tragedia per Musica als Repertoirestück: Zwei Hamburger Opern von Giuseppe Maria Orlandini’, Hamburger Jahrbuch für Musikwissenschaft 5 (1981), 37–54). Several arias (either in print or manuscript) are also found in: GB-Lbl Add 31601; GB-Lbl R.M.23.g.4; GB-Lam MS90; GB-Cfm MU MUS 54 (that is, 24 F 15); GB-Cdu Mackworth Collection, volume 10; GB-Lbl G.316.g and G.305; GB-Ob Harding D 2455(3); D-SWl Mus.134, 136, 185, 2479 and 4074; and D-B 30316. GB-Lbl Add 16146 (Act 2) refers to a production in 1739.

49 It is difficult to be definitive about this, as we cannot compare the original Salvi–Orlandini settings with the new Rolli–Amadei ones.

50 All translations from Arsace (1721) are those provided in the copy of the libretto at the British Library, which provides the original Italian and an English translation of the text.

51 The acrimony between Senesino and Salvai may have provided Senesino with an added incentive not to address her directly on stage. I would like to thank Suzanne Aspden for this observation, which provides an alternative perspective on Rolli's revisions.

52 Rolli's main changes to the 1708 libretto for the Roman production concerned the replacement of Apostolo Zeno's old arias with more modern ones (meaning metrically regular, shorter lines and a less abstract and sententious style) and the inclusion of additional arias. There were no significant cuts to Zeno's text and no substantial reshuffling or dramaturgical modification of scenes, but rather straightforward additions of solo scenes and arias to benefit a particular singer. In London, Astarto was subjected to further revisions by Rolli himself, and, as we would expect, there were extensive cuts to the recitatives. While numerous aria texts were simply retained and set to music by Bononcini, some scenes were modified in similar fashion to Arsace (if not to the same extent) in order, first, to reduce emphasis on the conspiracy against Astarto and, secondly, to favour the primo uomo (Senesino). For example, in Act 2 Scene 2 Clearco/Astarto (Senesino) does lose an aria to Elisa (Durastanti), but she then leaves the stage to him after her aria. Senesino thus gains a solo scene to conclude the first scenic unit with the aria ‘La costanza il timore l'affetto’. In Rome in 1715 (as in Venice in 1708), it was Clearco (Francesco Vitali) who sang an aria first (‘Parto, ma nel partire’) and then left the stage to Elisa (Innocenzo Baldini).

53 Reinhard Strohm, ‘Tragédie into Dramma per Musica’, 181.

54 It may be worth pointing out that this was Senesino's debut opera in Naples in 1715, the one that attracted Zambeccari's criticism of the singer (cited above).

55 The term ‘scenic unit’ is preferred here to the almost equivalent ‘scenographic unit’ as it coincides with both a mid-act change of scene and the conclusion of a dramatic section.

56 This may be a scheme derived from French dramaturgy – the librettos of Astarto, Radamisto, Arsace and Rodelinda were all modelled on French dramas. It may be worth mentioning that in Metastasio's two drammi staged in London, Arstaserse and Siroe, the hero appears in the first scene.

57 The similarities between the two settings are obvious, but see also McLauchlan, Fiona, ‘Lotti's “Teofane” (1719) and Handel's “Ottone” (1723): A Textual and Musical Study’, Music & Letters 78/3 (1997), 349390 CrossRefGoogle Scholar.

58 Nicolini's aria text reads: ‘Ho due compagni al cor / che non mi fan temer / L'un si chiama onor / l'altro è la fedeltà. / Onor tiene in pensier / lungi da vil timor / Fede mi dà valor / nè spaventar mi fa’ (I have two companions in my heart / who make me not to fear / one is called honour / the other is loyalty / Honour keeps my thoughts / away from cowardly fear / faith gives me valour / and prevents me from becoming scared).

59 Selfridge-Field, Chronology of Venetian Opera, 336.

60 See LaRue, C. Steven’s study of Senesino's vocal profile as it emerges from Handel's settings in Handel and His Singers: The Creation of the Royal Academy Operas, 1720–1728 (Oxford: Clarendon, 1995)Google Scholar.

61 See Romagnoli, Angela, Fra catene, fra stili e fra veleni . . . ossia Della scena di prigione nell'opera italiana (1690–1724) (Lucca: Libreria Musicale Italiana, 1995)Google Scholar.

62 The original libretto from 1715 indicated ‘Carcere angusta’ (narrow prison) for Act 3 Scenes 3–5. This indication is absent from the 1721 libretto. However, when Arsace is taken away by the guards (Scene 6) the stage directions read: ‘Entrano soldati nella prigione’ (Soldiers enter the prison).

63 This aria seems to have been met with considerable success, as it exists in several printed and manuscript sources. In addition to the full manuscript score in Berlin, it is also found in: D-SWl mus.136 and mus.2479; GB-Lam ms 90; GB-Lbl R.M.23.g.4 (ascribed to Orlandini) and in G.305, here also with the English text ‘Celestial Corinna’; the aria is also found in GB-Cfm MU.MS.54, where it is attributed to Lotti.

64 Domenico Sarro's score from I-Mc has been printed in facsimile for the Garland Opera Series (New York: Garland, 1978), with Introduction by Howard Mayer Brown. The score for Michelangelo Gasparini's setting for Venice 1718 is lost, but four arias for Faustina Bordoni, who sang the role of Rosmiri, survive in I-Bc DD 47 (‘Sento ancor’, ‘Se avete influssi o stelle’, ‘Rondinella che rimira’ and ‘Molto vuoi troppo mi chiedi’).

65 See Romagnoli, Fra catene, fra stili e fra veleni, 149–174, for discussion of the ‘prison aria’.

66 The text of Rosmiri's aria reinforces further the heroic image of Arsace: ‘Idol mio se tu morrai / là tra l'ombre degli eroi / non andrai senza di me’ (My hero, if you die / there among the spirits of the heroes / you shall not go without me).

67 See Romagnoli's list of operatic productions with prison scenes, Fra catene, fra stili e fra veleni, 303–407, her observations at 45 and 209–211 and Zanetti's caricature of Nicolini in his prison attire reproduced at 210.

68 Prison scenes seem to have been very popular in Restoration theatre (see Marsden, Jean I., ‘Spectacle, Horror, and Pathos’, in The Cambridge Companion to English Restoration Theatre, ed. Fisk, Deborah Payne (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2000), 174190 CrossRefGoogle Scholar), and Nicolini himself may have capitalized on this tradition while in London.

69 This amounts to what Martha Feldman would describe as a ‘deluxe castrato’; see The Castrato: Reflections on Natures and Kinds (Oakland: University of California Press, 2015), chapter 4, ‘Castrato De Luxe’.

70 Joncus, ‘Producing Stars’, 287–290.

71 For an overview of Senesino's operatic experiences before London see Bucciarelli, Melania, ‘From Rinaldo to Orlando, or Senesino's Path to Madness’, in The Baroque Composers: Handel, ed. Vickers, David (Farnham: Ashgate, 2010)Google Scholar. First published in D'une scène à l'autre: l'opéra italien en Europe, ed. Damien Colas and Alessandro Di Profio, two volumes (Mardaga: Wavre, 2009), volume 1, 135–155.

72 ‘Herrn Johann Joachim Quantzens Lebenslauf’, in Marpurg, Historisch-kritische Beyträge, 213, trans. Nettl, Forgotten Musicians, 292.

73 Feldman, The Castrato, discusses stardom and bravura singing at length; see especially ‘Bravura, Competition, Struggle’, 133–148.

74 Muratori, Ludovico Antonio, Della perfetta poesia italiana, four books published in two volumes (Modena: Bartolemeo Soliani, 1706)Google Scholar, book 3, 40. On opera's effeminate character see book 3, 38–51: this is caused by, among other things, woman-like voices (‘dalle voci de’ recitanti, le quali naturalmente, o per arte, son quasi tutte donnesche’ (by the voices of the singers, which either naturally or artificially are almost all woman-like)).

75 Marpurg, Historisch-kritische Beyträge, 292.

76 Riccoboni, Luigi, Réflexions historiques et critiques sur les différents théâtres de l'Europe (Amsterdam, 1740), 39 Google Scholar, subsequently translated into English as A General History of the Stage (London: W. Owen, 1754), 79.

77 See Tosi, Pier Francesco, Opinioni de’ cantori antichi e moderni (Bologna, 1723)Google Scholar, trans. and ed. Galliard, J. E. as Observations on the Florid Song (London, 1724; second edition, London: Wilcox, 1743), 171172 Google Scholar.

78 In his Italian translation of Steele, Richard’s comedy The Conscious Lovers, Gli amanti interni. Commedia Inglese Del Cavaliere Riccardo Steele (London, 1724)Google Scholar, Act 2 Scene 2, Rolli alters Steele's original dialogue between Indana and Lelio to introduce references to Bononcini's recent operas Crispo and Griselda and, in particular, to the aria ‘Dolce sogno’. He elaborates further in endnotes 7 and 8 (161–166).

79 This was Bononcini's most successful opera. Produced first in Naples in 1696, it reached London in 1706, and was performed (in English) sixty-three times between 1706 and 1709.

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