Antonio (Maria Gasparo Gioacchino) Sacchini

(1730 - 1786)

Antonio Sacchini

Italian composer. He attended the Naples Conservatorio S. Maria di Loreto and studied with Durante; there he became mastricello (1756), maestro di cappella straordinario (1758), and secondo maestro (1761). In 1761 his first opera seria, Andromaca, was performed at the Teatro S. Carlo. In Venice (1762-63) he composed his operas Alessandro Severo and Alessandro nell'Indie. Following his success with Olimpiade (Padua, 1763) and with other operas in Rome, Naples, and Florence, he abandoned his conservatory post. In Rome (1765-68) he composed comic operas for the Teatro Valle. In 1768 he moved to Venice and became director of the Conservatorio dell'Ospedaletto, where his singing pupils included Nancy Storace. He moved to London in 1772, enjoying success with Il Cid and Tamerlano (both 1773). When his licentious life-style led to legal difficulty in 1781, he left England for Paris, where he was already well known. There he won the favor of Marie Antoinette and composed for the Opéra. With the failure of his first opera, Renaud (1783), the initial support given to him by the Piccinnists quickly disappeared, and a rivalry with Piccinni followed. His next opera, Chimène (1783), secured for Sacchini a large royal pension. The delay until 1787 of the premiere of his most successful opera, Oedipe à Colone (1785), was a major disappointment to him; the opera remained part of the standard repertory until 1830. His last opera, Arvire et Evelina, completed by Rey, the conductor of the Opéra orchestra in 1788, was performed in Paris until 1827. In addition to over forty operas, Sacchini wrote oratorios, numerous sacred vocal pieces, and a small amount of chamber music.

Opera and Ballet