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Niccolo Jommelli: Fede, Speranza e Amor Divino

By Valentina Bilancione

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By Valentina Bilancione, Marialucia Caruso, Manuel Ried, MAKSi Akademieorchester, and Maurizio Quaremba. By Niccolo Jommelli. Classical. 2 listening CDs. Bongiovanni #GB2480/81-2. Published by Bongiovanni (NX.GB2480-81-2).

Item Number: NX.GB2480-81-2

The composition of Il Barbiere di Siviglia by Francesco Morlacchi (Perugia 1785-Innsbruck 1841) began in Dresden on January 29, 1815, and ended on April 18 of the following year, shortly before its premiere that took place in April 1816 at the Royal Theatre of Dresden. The opera had been commissioned by the Saxon court where Morlacchi was Kappelmeister, since 1810. The anti-romantic and conservative taste of his clients - who in spite of the dominating Romanticism still loved to amuse themselves with the old Neapolitan farces and preferred Cimarosa or Paisiello to Weber - influenced Morlacchi's stylistic choices in a decisive way. So, while Rossini was staging his Barbiere (February 1816) based on the newer and more advanced libretto by Cesare Sterbini, Morlacchi was still working on the old text by Giuseppe Petrosellini (1727-1797) that Paisiello had already set to music in 1782. The most important source to understand the relations between Morlacchi and Rossini is a letter the latter wrote on November 1817 from Naples (that is, almost one year after the premieres of their Barbiere di Siviglia) to the impresario of Teatro Valle in Rome: "About Maestro Morlacchi - Rossini wrote - let me know whether you are ready to give him 600 scutes. The maestro is good and sacrifices are justified in order to have him". Such a prayer couldn't be insincere since Rossini, then the director of the Neapolitan theatres, engaged Morlacchi for an opera to be performed at the San Carlo in 1818. Boadicea, for which the "good maestro" used the symphony from his Barbiere.

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