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Cimarosa, Domenico
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Cimarosa, Domenico

(Born; Aversa, 17 Dec 1749; Died; Venice, 11 Jan 1801). Italian composer. He trained in Naples as a violinist, keyboard player and composer, and wrote mainly sacred works at first. He had comic; operas staged there from 1772; his first serious opera was Cajo Mario (1780, Rome). By the mid-1780s he was established both in Italy and abroad. He became maestro Circa; 1782 at a Venetian conservatory, the Ospedaletto, holding this post with that of second organist at the Naples royal chapel from 1785. In 1787-91 he was maestro di cappella at the St Petersburg court (for which he wrote three operas), and in 1791-3 court Kapellmeister at Vienna, where his most famous opera, Il matrimonio segreto, was given in 1792 and encored in toto at its première. He then returned to Naples and was first organist of the royal chapel from 1796, the year of Gli Orazi ed i Curiazi, his most widely praised serious opera; but he was imprisoned in 1799 for his republican sympathies and later moved to Venice, where he died - poisoned, accorded to rumours, which were officially denied.

Cimarosa's more than 60 operas, mostly comic, made him one of the most popular composers of his day, and some of his works were long in the repertory. Stendhal rated him alongside Haydn and Mozart. His writing in the operas shows a keen sense of drama and caricature, with much vivacity and light, clear textures; the later works show a warmer melodic style, with more colourful modulations and scoring. Among his other works are oratorios, keyboard sonatas, concertos and chamber music.

Operas: Cajo Mario (1780), I due baroni (1783), L'impresario in angustie (1786), Il maestro di cappella (intermezzo, Circa;1790), Il matrimonio segreto (1792), Gli Orazi ed i Curiazi (1796); Circa;55 others.

Vocal music: 5 oratorios; Missa pro defunctis, g (1787); 18 masses; mass movts; sacred pieces; secular cantatas, hymns, songs.

Instrumental music: over 80 kbd sonatas; Hpd Conc. , BFlat;; Conc. , 2 fl, G (1793); 4 fl qts; other chamber works.

Groves Dictionaries, MacMillan Publishers Limited, UK

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