Personalities | Antonio Maria Bernacchi | Classical Era | Opera

1690–1756, Italian

The Italian mezzo-soprano castrato Antonio Maria Bernacchi earned fame throughout Europe for his impressive technical virtuosity. Bernacchi performed in operas by most of the important composers of his time, including Handel. In 1716 and 1717, Bernacchi sang at the Haymarket, London, in parts previously sung by women, including Goffredo in Handel’s Rinaldo. However, Bernacchi was not popular with English audiences; the writer Charles Burney thought his singing ‘artificial’. Bernucchi performed for the Elector of Bavaria in Munich between 1720 and 1735. During this period, he won a singing contest in 1727 with the castrato Farinelli (1705–82), even though Farinelli was 20 years his junior and is now considered the most famous castrato. Nevertheless, Bernacchi was close to the end of his career and by 1736, when he founded a singing school in his native city, Bologna, his voice was in decline.

Introduction | Classical Era | Opera
Personalities | Antonia Bernasconi | Classical Era | Opera
The Voice | The Castrati | Early & Middle Baroque | Opera
The Voice | The Training of the Castrati | Late Baroque | Opera


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