Nicola Porpora: Notes and Commentary

Nicola (Antonio) Porpora (or Niccolò Porpora) was an Italian composer of Baroque operas and teacher of singing, whose most famous singing student was the castrato Farinelli. Other students included composers Matteo Capranica and Joseph Haydn. Porpora’s first opera, Agrippina, was successfully performed at the Neapolitan court in 1708. His second, Berenice, was performed at Rome. In a long career, he followed these up by many further operas, supported as maestro di cappella in the households of aristocratic patrons, such as the commander of military forces at Naples, because composing operas alone did not yet make a viable career.

His enduring fame rests chiefly upon his unequalled power of teaching singing, not his compositions. Indeed, towards the end of his career, florid style was becoming old-fashioned, his last opera, Camilla, failed, his pension from Dresden stopped, and he became so poor that the expenses of his funeral were paid by a subscription concert. Yet at the moment of his death, two of his most well-known students, Farinelli and Caffarelli, were living in splendid retirement on fortunes largely based on the excellence of the old maestro’s teaching.

A good linguist, who was admired for the idiomatic fluency of his recitatives, and a man of considerable literary culture, Porpora was also celebrated for his conversational wit. He was well-read in Latin and Italian literature, wrote poetry and spoke French, German, and English. Besides some four dozen operas, there are oratorios, solo cantatas with keyboard accompaniment, motets and vocal serenades. Among his larger works, his 1720 opera Orlando, one mass, his Venetian Vespers, and the opera Arianna in Nasso have been recorded.

He lived from August 17, 1686, to March 3, 1768.Excerpted from Wikipedia

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Nicola Porpora: Complete Works

Operas

Agrippina
Flavio Anicio Olibrio
Basilio, re di Oriente
Arianna e Teseo
Berenice regina d’Egitto
Temistocle
Faramondo

See complete list of operas

Oratorios

Davide e Bersabea
Gedeone

Cantatas

12 cantatas for solo voice and continuo
I. D’amore il primo dardo
II. Nel mio sonno almen (Il sogno)
III. Tirsi chiamare a nome
IV. Queste che miri O Nice
V. Scrivo in te l’amato nome (Il nome)
VI. Già la notte s’avvicina (La pesca)
VII. Veggo la selva e il monte
VIII. Or che una nube ingrata
IX. Destatevi destatevi 0 pastori
X. Oh se fosse il mio core
XI. Oh Dio che non è vero
XII. Dal pover mio core

Instrumental music

6 Sinfonie da camera op.2
12 Sonatas for violin and bass op.12
12 Triosonatas for 2 violins and bass
Sonatas for cello and Bass
Concerto for cello and strings

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Nicola Porpora, 1686-1768

Porpora

Selected Recordings

Sonata XI in D Major

Il Gedeone – Odo le strida

De profundis clamavi, Psalm 129

Selected Sheet Music

Alto Giove

Porporo-2

Source: IMSLP.org

Showcase Piece

Alto Giove

Notes and Commentary

Nicola (Antonio) Porpora (or Niccolò Porpora) was an Italian composer of Baroque operas and teacher of singing, whose most famous singing student was the castrato Farinelli. Other students included composers Matteo Capranica and Joseph Haydn. Porpora’s first opera, Agrippina, was successfully performed at the Neapolitan court in 1708. His second, Berenice, was performed at Rome. In a long career, he followed these up by many further operas, supported as maestro di cappella in the households of aristocratic patrons, such as the commander of military forces at Naples, because composing operas alone did not yet make a viable career.

His enduring fame rests chiefly upon his unequalled power of teaching singing, not his compositions. Indeed, towards the end of his career, florid style was becoming old-fashioned, his last opera, Camilla, failed, his pension from Dresden stopped, and he became so poor that the expenses of his funeral were paid by a subscription concert. Yet at the moment of his death, two of his most well-known students, Farinelli and Caffarelli, were living in splendid retirement on fortunes largely based on the excellence of the old maestro’s teaching.

A good linguist, who was admired for the idiomatic fluency of his recitatives, and a man of considerable literary culture, Porpora was also celebrated for his conversational wit. He was well-read in Latin and Italian literature, wrote poetry and spoke French, German, and English. Besides some four dozen operas, there are oratorios, solo cantatas with keyboard accompaniment, motets and vocal serenades. Among his larger works, his 1720 opera Orlando, one mass, his Venetian Vespers, and the opera Arianna in Nasso have been recorded.

He lived from August 17, 1686, to March 3, 1768.Excerpted from Wikipedia

Books and Music

Selected Books

Two Fugues for Clavier ( sheet music )
Adegi Graphics, 2011
$17.41 on Amazon

Porpora-8

Selected Music

porpora-6 Or Si M’Aveggio Oh Amore (2008), 1 CD

porpora-4 Il Gedeone (1999), 2-CD set

porpora-7 Opera Arias (2009), 1 CD

More Nicola Porpora music

Complete Works

Operas

Agrippina
Flavio Anicio Olibrio
Basilio, re di Oriente
Arianna e Teseo
Berenice regina d’Egitto
Temistocle
Faramondo

See complete list of operas

Oratorios

Davide e Bersabea
Gedeone

Cantatas

12 cantatas for solo voice and continuo
I. D’amore il primo dardo
II. Nel mio sonno almen (Il sogno)
III. Tirsi chiamare a nome
IV. Queste che miri O Nice
V. Scrivo in te l’amato nome (Il nome)
VI. Già la notte s’avvicina (La pesca)
VII. Veggo la selva e il monte
VIII. Or che una nube ingrata
IX. Destatevi destatevi 0 pastori
X. Oh se fosse il mio core
XI. Oh Dio che non è vero
XII. Dal pover mio core

Instrumental music

6 Sinfonie da camera op.2
12 Sonatas for violin and bass op.12
12 Triosonatas for 2 violins and bass
Sonatas for cello and Bass
Concerto for cello and strings

Back to home page

Antonio Caldara: Notes and Commentary

Antonio Caldara was an Italian Baroque composer mostly known for operas, cantatas, and oratorios. Several of his works have libretti by Metastasio. He was born in Venice, the son of a violinist. He became a chorister at St Mark’s in Venice, where he learned several instruments, probably under the instruction of Giovanni Legrenzi. In 1699 he relocated to Mantua, where he became maestro di cappella to the inept Charles IV, Duke of Mantua, a pensionary of France with a French wife, who took the French side in the War of the Spanish Succession. Caldara removed from Mantua in 1707, after the French were expelled from Italy, then moved on to Barcelona as chamber composer to Charles VI of Austria, the pretender to the Spanish throne who kept a royal court at Barcelona. There, he wrote some operas that are the first Italian operas performed in Spain. He moved on to Rome, becoming maestro di cappella to Francesco Maria Marescotti Ruspoli, 1st Prince of Cerveteri. While there he wrote in 1710 La costanza in amor vince l’inganno (Faithfulness in Love Defeats Treachery) for the public theatre at Macerata. In 1716, he obtained a similar post in Vienna to serve the Imperial Court, and there he remained until his death. He lived from 1670 to December 28, 1736.—Excerpted from Wikipedia

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Antonio Caldara: Complete Works

Note: The following is a partial list of Caldara’s works. Access a more complete list.

Oratorios
Maddalena ai piedi di Cristo
Santo Stefano, primo Re d’Ungheria
La Conversione di Clodoveo Re di Francia
La passione di Gesù Cristo
Il Re del dolore
Stabat Mater

Others
“Sebben, crudele” (Aria from La costanza in amor vince l’inganno)
L’Olimpiade
D’improvviso
“Alma del core” (Aria)
“Selve amiche” (Aria)
Missa Dolorosa
Crucifixus

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