Apostolo Zeno


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(1668–1750). Venetian librettist but also a critic and scholar of reforming classicist ideas. He took part in polemical debates on the Crusca in the 1690s, and was a member of the Accademia dell'Arcadia. He founded the Giornale de' letterati d'Italia in 1710 with his brother Pier Caterino, Antonio Vallisneri, and Scipione Maffei. His first libretto, Gli inganni felici (1696), was followed by the successful Faramondo (1699), Lucio Vero (1700), and Atenaide (1714), which led to his appointment as imperial poet and historian by Charles VI of Austria. In Vienna from 1718 to 1729, he wrote Lucio Papirio (1719), which was set to music by the Venetian Antonio Caldara, and various other successful libretti on classical and historical subjects. On returning to Italy he published the religious Poesie sacre drammatiche in 1734. He did not enjoy writing libretti, preferring his work on classical scholarship, history, and numismatics, which included the Dissertazioni vossiane (published in 1752–3) and Degli istorici delle cose veneziane (1718).


From The Oxford Companion to Italian Literature in Oxford Reference.

Subjects: Literature.

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