Individual Composer

Benedetto Riccio

1678 - after 1710

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(b ?Naples, ?1678; d after 1710). Italian composer. He was listed by Prota-Giurleo among the ‘dilettanti’ (together with Faggioli, Orefice and Mauro) who originated the Neapolitan dialect opera buffa.

His L’alloggiamentare (text, N. Gianni; Teatro dei Fiorentini, February 1710) belongs, formally speaking, among the earliest examples of the genre, with its many (57) short musical numbers, frequent ensemble pieces, use of short and probably sometimes strophic arias, lack of exit arias, and in general rapid, fluid movement between recitative and song. As far as can be judged from the libretto, however, it is progressive in intent: the verse forms in the arias are often longer and more complex than those in the opera’s predecessors; the possibilities of onstage music begin to be exploited, for example in Act 3 a serenata (which Viviani considered possibly a popular song of the day) and a dance; and there is some evidence that the dramatic material was shaped in terms of the musical, as in Act 2 scene iii, with its increasingly complex series of numbers. Riccio had earlier composed a serious opera, L’Ateone (D. Renda; Fiorentini, 1708) and two melodrammi sacri: L’Iride in cielo (1704) and L’umanità consolata (O. Pinto; Congregazione di S Maria del Parto dei Dottori, cloister of SS Apostoli dei PP Teatini, Christmas season, 1703; both in I-Nf). Two cantatas survive (in I-Gl and I-Nc); that in Naples, Clori, vorrei narrarti quel che sò, consists of a recitative and aria for soprano and continuo and is a conventional but skilful exercise in pastoral pathos with a neatly contrapuntal bass part. Some works by a ‘Riccio’ (I-RI) may also be his.

James L. Jackman and Francesca Seller. "Riccio, Benedetto." In Grove Music Online. Oxford Music Online, (accessed April 18, 2012).