Personalities | Giovanni Bononcini | Late Baroque | Opera
Bononcini was orphaned at the age of eight, and moved to Bologna, where he studied music and was accepted into the Accademia Filarmonica in 1686. By 1692, Bononcini had moved to Rome, where he met Silvio Stampiglia. They collaborated on several operas, including Il trionfo di Camilla (‘The Triumph of Camilla’, 1696), which was an enormous success in Naples. It was revived in 19 other Italian cities, and was produced in an adapted version in London by Nicolini and Swiney in 1706.
Bononcini was the favourite composer of Emperor Joseph I, and was based in Vienna between 1697 and 1712. In 1719, the Earl of Burlington secured Bononcini’s services for the Royal Academy of Music in London, where the composer enjoyed tremendous popularity for several seasons. His last opera, Astianatte (1727), was blighted by the repercussions of the rivalry between Faustina Bordoni and Cuzzoni, and he did compose for the stage again. Bononcini directed private performances of his own music for the Duchess of Marlborough until 1731, and he was a prominent member of the Academy of Ancient Musick in London until he was discredited in the early 1730s for plagiarizing a madrigal composed by Antonio Lotti (c. 1667–1740). Bononcini’s melodic style was considered agreeable and pleasant, and he was admired for his expressive setting of Italian texts.
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