Baldassare Galuppi was a Venetian composer, best known for his operas. His work is characterized by its grandeur and dramatic intensity. He composed over 100 operas in the course of his career, but he is most famous for “La Finta Giardiniera” (The False Gardener).
Baldassare Galuppi (1670-1747) was an Italian composer of the Baroque era. His work is characterized by a highly expressive, dramatic style that uses dissonance and tonal color to evoke an intense emotional response.
For a long time, Baldassare Galuppi, a pivotal character in the history of Italian comic opera, was only recognized for his appearance in Robert Browning’s poem “A Toccata of Galuppi’s.” Galuppi’s father was a barber and a violinist, and he taught his son basic music lessons. He wrote an opera, La fede nell’incostanza ossia Gli amici rivali, at the age of 16. It was a stunning flop, and the curtain had to be down before the crowd erupted in riots. To find out why, the perplexed young man went to composer Benedetto Marcello. He was chastised by his instructor for daring to create an opera before he was ready, and he was forced to swear that he would not compose anything for three years and instead study with Antonio Lotti, who referred to Galuppi as his finest student.
In 1726, Galuppi moved to Florence to serve as a harpsichordist in the Teatro della Pergola’s orchestra. He returned to Venice and established a collaboration with G.B. Peschetti, a writer buddy from school. Dorinda (1729), his second effort at opera, was a huge success. He averaged approximately two operas each year for the remainder of his life, and they were performed in Italy’s major theaters. He was appointed as music director of the Ospedale dei Mendicanti (which included a conservatory) in 1740, and he created a magnificent orchestra and church music for the institution. In the meanwhile, Galuppi accepted an invitation from the Earl of Middlesex in 1741 to compose opera seria for his theater in London’s Haymarket. His first opera was fairly well received, and each subsequent opera grew in popularity.
When he returned to Italy in 1743, he saw the cutting-edge Neapolitan invention of opera buffa and decided to give it a try. These comedic operas, too, began to gain popularity after some early failures. He was named maestro of the cappella ducale at St. Mark’s Cathedral in 1748. (and in 1762 was promoted to the head position, maestro di cappella, considered the top musical job in Venice). The stress of these responsibilities forced him to resign from the Mendicanti in 1751. L’Arcadia in Brenta, to a libretto by Carlo Goldoni, with whom Galuppi formed a collaboration, was his first comedic triumph. Galuppi’s greatest operas were extensively performed across Europe, and he was chosen to be the music director of Catherine the Great’s chapel in Russia. He established an Italian domination of Russian theatrical life that lasted until Glinka’s time, as well as introducing Western counterpoint into Russian Orthodox Church music. In 1768, Galuppi returned to Venice, resuming his responsibilities at St. Mark’s and taking up the position of chorus master at the Ospedale degli Incurabili. He shifted his focus away from theater and onto keyboard music, religious pieces, and oratorios.
Burney, a traveling musical scholar, characterized him as a “agile little cricket” of a guy because of his small size. Burney also regarded Galuppi as one of the greatest operatic composers of his day, and the twentieth century’s renewed interest in the period helped to corroborate his assessment. His comedic operas are constructed around short, diverse vocal phrases with a strong melodic line and energetic rhythms. He had a knack for musical characterisation and scenario planning. His orchestration was noteworthy; winds signaled key times, and in the finales, he let the flow of string composition carry the primary melody material as the singers exchanged realistic dialogue. Galuppi’s keyboard work, which includes more than 130 sonatas, has a bright, idiomatic, and energetic compositional style, establishing him as a prominent Italian harpsichord and piano composer after Domenico Scarlatti.