Francesco Provenzale

(c.1626 - 1704)

Italian composer. His first opera, Il Ciro,was presented in Naples around 1653; two further operas in Naples, La Cloridea(1660) and La Bisalva, ovvero Offendere chi più sama(1667-68), have been attributed to Provenzale on circumstantial evidence. From 1663 he was appointed chief maestro at the Conservatorio S. Maria di Loreto in Naples, then headed the staff at S. Maria della Pietà dei Turchini from 1675 until 1701. He was maestro di cappellaat S. Gennaro (1686-99) but was passed over in favor of Alessandro Scarlatti for a similar post at the vice-regal court; he did serve the court, however, as maestro di cappella di camerain 1688 and from 1690 served during Scarlatti's absences. Provenzale is regarded as one of the founders of the Neapolitan opera school. Only two operas with music entirely by Provenzale have survived, Il schiavo di sua moglie(Naples, Palazzo Reale, April 21, 1672) and La Stellidaura vendicata(Naples, 1674); he stopped writing stage works after 1678.

With thanks to Dott. Mauro Abba of Turin for editorial input.

VF: Naples in the Seventeenth Century