Personalities | Johann Adolf Hasse | Classical Era | Classical

(Yo’-han A’-dolf Has’-se) 1699–1783
German composer and tenor

Born just outside Hamburg, Hasse became the leading Italian opera composer of his time. He began his career as a tenor, went to Italy for training (under Alessandro Scarlatti, 1660–1725, and others), and had operas given in Naples; he married Faustina Bordoni (1700–81), a famous soprano who had sung for Handel in London and for whom that composer had also written several pieces. Hasse held a post as Kapellmeister at the Italianate Dresden court, but was in constant demand elsewhere, especially in Naples, Venice and above all Vienna. Metastasio favoured him above all others who set his librettos; a graceful and polished melodist, he was called by Burney ‘the most natural, elegant, and judicious composer of vocal music, as well as the most voluminous’. In his late years he chiefly wrote sacred music.

Recommended Recording:
Piramo e Tisbe, La Stagione Frankfurt (dir) Michael Schneider (Capriccio)

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