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Sacchini, Antonio Maria Gaspare

SACCHINI, ANTONIO MARIA GASPARE (1734-1786), Italian, musical composer, was born at Pozzuoli, on the 23rd of July 1734. He was the son of a poor fisherman and was heard singing on the sands by Durante, who undertook his education at the Conservatorio di Sant' Onofrio at Naples. Durante and Piccinni taught him composition, and Nicola Fiorenza the violin. The intermezzo Fra Donate was written for the theatre of the Conservatorio in 1756, but his first serious opera was produced at Rome in 1762, and was followed by many others, nearly all of which were successful. In 1769 he went to Venice, and in consequence of the great success achieved there by the production of his opera Alessandro nell' Indie he was appointed director of the Conservatorio dell' Ospedaletto, where he trained some admirable female singers and wrote church music. In 1772 he visited London, where, notwithstanding a cruel cabal formed against him, he achieved a brilliant success, especially in his four new operas, Tamerlano, Lucio Vero, Nitelli e Perseo and // Gran Cid. Later he met with an equally enthusiastic reception in Paris, where in 1 783 his Rinaldo was produced under the immediate patronage of Queen Marie Antoinette, to whom he had been recommended by the emperor Joseph II. But neither in England nor in France did his reputation continue to the end of his visit. He seems everywhere to have been the victim of bitter jealousy. Even Marie Antoinette was not able to support his cause in the face of the general outcry against the . favour shown to foreigners; and by her command, given with the utmost reluctance, his last opera and undoubted masterpiece, (Edipe d Colons, was set aside in 1786 to make room for Lemoine's Phedre a circumstance which so preyed upon his mind that he died of chagrin on the 7th (or 8th) of October 1786.

Sacchini's style was rather graceful than elevated, and he was deficient both in creative power and originality. But the dramatic truth of his operas, more especially the later ones, is above all praise, and he never fails to write with the care and finish of a thorough and accomplished musician. (Edipe was extremely successful after his death, and was performed at the Academic nearly six hundred times.

Note - this article incorporates content from Encyclopaedia Britannica, Eleventh Edition, (1910-1911)

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