Individual Composer

Geminiano Giacomelli

b Piacenza, c1692; d Loreto, 25 Jan 1740

Italian composer. In his early years in Parma he studied singing, counterpoint and keyboard with G.M. Capelli, maestro di cappella of the cathedral. The story of his being sent to study with Alessandro Scarlatti in 1724, and afterwards being in the service of Charles VI in Vienna was doubted by Eitner, and there is little evidence to support either contention: Scarlatti died in October 1725, and the opera L'Arrenione, supposed to have been composed for the Viennese court, is not by Giacomelli.

From 1719 to 1727 and from 1732 to 1737 Giacomelli was maestro di cappella of the court of Parma and the church of the Madonna della Steccata, serving jointly with his aged teacher Capelli; in the intervening years (1727--32) he held the same position at S Giovanni in Piacenza. In 1737 he directed performances of his opera Cesare in Egitto in Graz before succeeding Tommaso Redi as maestro di cappella of the Santa Casa, Loreto, on 24 November 1738. The announcement of his death, discovered by Tebaldini, states that he died at about 48 while still serving at Loreto.

Giacomelli wrote 19 operas for various Italian cities; his most successful was Cesare in Egitto (1735). The set of intermezzos, Golpone e Birina, performed in Rome for Carnival 1739 with his Achille in Aulide, were written by Fini and Zanetti for Venice in 1732, not by Giacomelli. He also composed two oratorios and many sacred compositions of which only a few survive. Giacomelli seems to have been highly esteemed by his contemporaries; Benedetto Marcello published Giacomelli's letter of recommendation in the preface to volume seven of his Estro poetico-armonico (Venice, 1724--6/R).