Individual Composer

Michelangelo Faggioli

1666 - 1733

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(b Naples, 1666; d Naples, 23 Nov 1733). Italian composer.

He came from a family of lawyers and in 1687 received the doctorate at the University of Naples in both canon and civil law. He composed, apparently in 1706, the music for the earliest known comic opera in Neapolitan dialect, La Cilla (text by F.A. Tullio), which was ‘splendidly produced’ on 26 December 1707 in the palace of Fabrizio Carafa, Prince of Chiusiano, to celebrate the return of Carafa's son from Spain; the libretto indicates, however, that the work had already been performed in the preceding year. Its novelty was such as to occasion comment in contemporary Neapolitan journals, and Faggioli himself, in his dedicatory letter, shows awareness of having created something new, begging forebearance and protection for it. Further performances held in Carafa's palace in January 1708 attest its success. In this prototype of dialect comic operas all the characters sing in Neapolitan. The plot is a romantic farce set in a village, with comic effects arising from the devices of mistaken identity and transvestite disguise. Some 66 short arias, duets and trios, spaced without any apparent plan, frequently interrupt the action; the exit aria is not yet a standardized feature. The music is lost, but Faggioli's style in this genre can be seen in a comic cantata with dialect text for soprano solo and continuo, Lo Paglietta (I-Nc), containing two da capo arias in a simple, tuneful melodic style with competent but unadventurous harmony. Faggioli also wrote an oratorio in 1709 (text by L. Perone; title and occasion unknown). This music too is lost, but another solo cantata, Didone abbandonata da Enea (I-Nc), attributed to him, shows that he was a capable if not brilliant composer of serious music: the pathetic text is expressively set, with demands for greater vocal agility than in the comic work and with greater harmonic elaboration. Another cantata for solo voice and basso continuo, Su le fiorite sponde, survives (in I-Nc) and his scherzo drammatico La partenope divota e Lucifero abbatatuo (text by L. Gianni) was performed on 13 June 1717 a the Palazzo Juvarra on the occasion of the feast of St Antony of Padua.