Valeriano Pellegrini

(c. 1663—1746)

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(b Verona, ?c1663; d Rome, 18 Jan 1746). Italian soprano castrato and composer. He sang in the Chiesa Nuova and the Cappella Sistina choir in Rome, at Cardinal Ottoboni's private concerts and in Giovanni Bononcini's La fede publica in Vienna (1699). From 1705 to 1716 he was in the service of the Elector Palatine at Düsseldorf, where he created the difficult role of Gheroldo (requiring a range of c’ to b”) in Agostino Steffani's Tassilone (1709) and was knighted. During this period he also appeared at Venice (as Nero in G. F. Handel's Agrippina, 26 December 1709) and London. Pellegrini served the elector in other capacities; he acquired for him a large collection of medals at Verona in 1708, but in 1715 the painter Sebastiano Ricci shamelessly fobbed him off with a bogus Correggio. Pellegrini made his London début on 9 April 1712 at a concert in the Old Spring Garden, but did not appear on the stage until the following November. G. F. Handel composed for him Mirtillo in Il pastor fido, the title role in Teseo and probably Lepidus in Silla. He seems to have been a technically proficient rather than a glamorous singer. By 1728 he had lost his voice and become a priest. In his last years in Rome he was dependent on charity.

From The Grove Book of Opera Singers in Oxford Reference.

Subjects: Opera.

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