Firenze 1730 – Parigi 1786

Antonio Sacchini

A son of poor fishermen, it was Sacchini’s destiny to be ‘fished out’ by Francesco Durante, who happened to hear him sing and convinced his parents to support Sacchini in his studies at the Conservatorio Sant’Onofrio in Naples. He studied violin with Nicola Fiorenza and later became a student of Durante’s along with Nicola Piccinni and Pietro Guglielmi.
He moved to Rome in 1762, composed various comic and serious operas in different cities until his Alessandro nell’Indie, performed in Venice in 1768, met with enough success to earn him the position of Director at the city’s Conservatory. He reached London in 1772 and thanks to the influence of the renown castrato, Venenzio Rauzzini (who sang Lucio Silla and Exultate Jubilate by Mozart), some of his operas were performed at the Teatro Italiano and the Teatro Reale.
However, his love of luxury and the good life drove Sacchini to cross the channel for Paris (leaving behind numerous financers). In Paris, Sacchini’s work was not meet very favourably, despite the protection granted him by Marie Antoinette, because a polemical battle was raging between Gluckists and Piccinnists. The last minute cancellation of the performance of his opera Oedipe à Colone, a piece he wrote expressly for The Opérà, took away his will to live: Sacchini died the 6th of  October, 1786.
The merits of his work, the smooth cantabile quality of his Arias, clash with the negligence and rapidity of his writing, a defect common to many Italian opera writers of the time. Still, the fame he enjoyed while living was welcomed, and even Rauzzini was inclined to claim some of Sacchini’s most beautiful Arias.

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