Personalities | Nicola Antonio Porpora | Late Baroque | Opera
Porpora was born and trained in Naples, where he also taught and worked for much of his career. His first opera was Agrippina (1708), and a few years later he composed Arianna e Teseo (1714) using a new libretto by Pariati. Between 1715 and 1721 Porpora worked at the Conservatorio di St Onofrio, where he became a widely respected singing teacher. His pupils included Farinelli and Caffarelli, and he also taught Hasse composition. Porpora was one of Metastasio’s first musical collaborators, resulting in Angelica (1720), and his operas were performed in Vienna and Rome. In 1726 he moved to Venice, but in 1733 he became the music director of the ‘Opera of the Nobility’ in London, which opened with his Arianna in Nasso (1733). Some of Porpora’s finest works, including five operas, were composed for London before the company ceased its activities in 1737. Porpora returned to providing operas for Venice and Naples, and in the late 1740s was employed at the Dresden court, where his Filandro (1747) was performed under the direction of Hasse. He retired to Vienna, where he met the young Haydn, before spending his final years back at Naples but in poverty.
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