Published online by Cambridge University Press: 29 August 2010
VACCAJ, Nicola, a prolific composer of Italian operas, born at Tolentino March 15, 1790. He passed the first 10 or 12 years of his life at Pesaro, a few more at Rome with the view to the law, and it was not till his 17th or 18 th year that he threw off this, and took lessons of Jannaconi in counterpoint. In 1811 he went to Naples and put himself under Paisiello for dramatic composition, and there wrote a couple of cantatas and some church music. In 1814 he brought out his first opera, ‘I solitari di Scozia,’ at Naples. The next seven years were passed at Venice, each one with its opera. None, however, were sufficiently successful, and he therefore took up the teaching of singing, and practised it in Trieste and in Vienna. In 1824 he resumed opera composition, and in 1825 wrote amongst several others his most favourite work, ‘Giulietta e Romeo,’ for Naples. In 1829 he visited Paris, and stayed there two years as a singing master in great popularity. He then passed a short time in London, and in 1831 we again find him writing operas in Italy, amongst others ‘Marco Visconti’ and ‘Giovanna Grey’—the latter for Malibran. In 1838 he succeeded Basili as head and principal professor of composition of the Conservatorio of Milan. In 1844 he left his active duties, returned to Pesaro, and wrote a fresh opera, ‘Virginia,’ for the Argentino Theatre, Rome.