There are no better examples of the opera singer having near god-like status, than the 18th Century singers. Castrati Farinelli, Senesino and sopranos Cuzzoni and Bordoni dazzled their audiences with emotional performances (and with their outfits). They were the celebrities of their day. Adored by many female fans, they commanded high fees and amassed extreme wealth.
The most successful writers of the time such as Abbate Pietro Metastasio and Nicola Francesco Haym were queuing to create libretti (the text of an opera) to be set to music. Composers were at the apex of creativity, constantly challenging traditional forms and ushering in new musical forms.
Scandals were rife amongst the "A-list" stars of the era, with plenty of competition between divas and divos all trying to be the star of a great composer's next creation. The Baroque era was much like Hollywood's Golden Age: a time of ground-breaking musical development and achievement.
Soprano Gabriella Di Laccio and Contralto Kismara Pessatti explore the artistic legacies of some of the legendary baroque singers.
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G.F Händel (1685-1759)
Aria: Confusa si miri
Aria: Ritorna caro dolce mio tesoro
Dueto: Io t’abbraccio
OPERA GIULIO CESARE
Aria: Al lampo dell’armi
Recitativo: E pur così in un giorno
Aria: Piangerò la sorte mia
Aria: Da Tempeste Dueto: Caro, Bella!
Aria: Fammi combattere
Aria: Brilla nel alma
OPERA RICCARDO I
Recitativo: Oh voi, che meco del Tamigi in riva
Aria: All’orror dele Procelle
Attilio Ariosti (1666-1729)
OPERA IL CORIOLANO
Recitativo: Spirate o iniqui marmi
Aria: Voi d’un figlio tanto miseroAria: Del cor la speme
Si, mio caro amor
Dueto Senesino / Cuzzoni