Gioacchino Conti


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Caffarelli (1710—1783)


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(b Arpino, 28 Feb 1714; d Rome, 25 Oct 1761). Italian soprano castrato, probably the son of Nicola Conti. His nicknames derived from Domenico Gizzi, who taught him singing. His début at Rome in Leonardo Vinci's Artaserse (1730) was a spectacular success. He sang at Naples in operas by Vinci (1732–3), and in Vienna (1734), Genoa, Venice (1735, two operas, including Leonardo Leo's La clemenza di Tito) and other Italian cities. In 1736 he was engaged by G. F. Handel for London and made his Covent Garden début in a revival of Ariodante on 5 May; a week later he created the role of Meleager in Atalanta. The press reported that he ‘met with an uncommon Reception’; the poet Thomas Gray admired him ‘excessively’ in every respect except the shape of his mouth, which ‘when open, made an exact square’. According to Charles Jennens, Handel considered him ‘a rising genius’. The next season, Conti appeared in Handel's new operas Arminio (as Sigismond), Giustino (Anastasius) and Berenice (Alessandro) and in several revivals. He also sang in Handel's oratorio Esther (with several new arias) and probably in Il trionfo del tempo, and was to have taken part in a revival of Deborah which was cancelled.


From The Grove Book of Opera Singers in Oxford Reference.

Subjects: Opera.

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