Vittoria Tesi


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Senesino (c. 1680—1759)

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(b Florence, 13 Feb 1700; d Vienna, 9 May 1775). Italian contralto. She received her first instruction from Francesco Redi in Florence and from Campeggi in Bologna. (An alleged meeting with G. F. Handel in Florence, in connection with the performance there of his opera Rodrigo in 1707, rests on a confusion between Tesi and Vittoria Tarquini.) She first appeared as an opera singer in 1716, in Parma (Alessandro Scarlatti's Dafni) and Bologna. In the 1718–19 season she was in Venice as virtuosa di camera to Prince Antonio of Parma. By 1719 she was in Dresden, where she sang in Antonio Lotti's Giove in Argo for the opening of the new opera house on 3 September, and ten days later appeared as Matilda in his Teofane, thereby numbering (along with the singers Laurenti, Durastanti, Santa Stella Lotti and the castrato Senesino) among the most prominent performers in the musical festivities surrounding the marriage of the Saxon electoral prince to the Archduchess Maria Josepha. With the dissolution of the Italian Opera, Tesi left Dresden to return to Italy; in Carnival 1721 she sang in Florence and from there travelled until 1747, visiting all the great theatres of Italy between Naples, Venice and Milan, with a guest appearance in Madrid (1739–40) and perhaps a trip to Frankfurt, 1741–2, for the emperor's coronation. Her career reached a peak at the opening of the Teatro S Carlo in Naples (1737, with Domenico Sarri's Achille in Sciro) and again ten years later when she appeared there with Caffarelli, Gioacchino Conti, Giovanni Manzuoli and others in Ranieri de’ Calzabigi's serenata Il sogno d'Olimpia, with music by Giuseppe de Majo.


From The Grove Book of Opera Singers in Oxford Reference.

Subjects: Opera.

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