Francesco Bussani


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(b Rome, 1743; d after 1807). Italian bass. He started his career as a tenor, appearing in Rome in 1763 in Guglielmi's Le contadine bizzare. He sang in Venice, Milan and Rome for the next 15 years, and first appeared in Vienna in 1771. In 1777 he was described in Florence as singing primo buffo and mezzo carattere roles; by this time his voice was a bass-baritone. He appeared in Venice from 1779, and in 1783 was invited to Vienna where he remained until 1794. With 20 years’ experience of the theatre he was engaged not only as a singer but also as manager of scenery and costumes, and as such was paid for stage-managing W. A. Mozart's Der Schauspieldirektor at Schönbrunn in 1786. He also arranged pieces, and in 1784 adapted Carlo Goldoni's Il mercato di Malmantile as a libretto for music by Josef Bárta. He appeared regularly in the Italian repertory and sang Pippo in Bianchi's La villanella rapita, for which Mozart wrote the quartet ‘Dite almeno’ k479 (28 November 1785). Mozart intended the role of Pulchiero for him in Lo sposo deluso (1783–4, unfinished), and he doubled the roles of Bartolo and Antonio in the première of Le nozze di Figaro (1 May 1786). He was an active member of the Italian faction in Vienna during the 1780s and according to Lorenzo Da Ponte (Memorie, 1823–7) intrigued against him and Mozart when Figaro was in rehearsal. Da Ponte described Bussani as knowing something of every profession except that of a gentleman.


From The Grove Book of Opera Singers in Oxford Reference.

Subjects: Opera.

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