Sunday, May 22, 2022

Why is Vittoria Tesi not better known?

Vittoria Tesi, probably at the Teatro San Giovanni Grisostomo in Venice during the Carnival season of 1735-36; caricature by Anton Maria Zanetti. Image source: Royal Collection Trust

Opera politics

Vittoria Tesi, the first Black or biracial prima donna, is an extraordinary and ground-breaking figure. She held the stage on equal terms with other superlative singers of her time, such as the Rival Queens Faustina Bordoni and Francesca Cuzzoni, Handel's longtime leading lady Anna Maria Strada, and the castrati Farinelli, Senesino, Carestini and Caffarelli. And yet I've been listening to Baroque opera for nearly 30 years and can't recall having heard her name before. One reason she is not as well known as her colleagues listed above and highlighted in the previous post is that, unlike every one of them, she never sang in London.

Handel came to Dresden in 1719 to recruit Senesino and other Italian singers for the Royal Academy, which would produce operas in London between 1720 and 1728. Although he saw Tesi perform in Lotti's Teofane and Giove in Argo (to whose libretti he later composed his own operas), he apparently did not extend an offer to her.

It's not known why Handel didn't attempt to engage Tesi, but a possible explanation may be opera politics. Since Senesino was the star Handel had been sent to recruit, his wishes weighed heavily in casting decisions. Soprano Maddalena Salvai was hired for the Royal Academy on Senesino's recommendation/insistence, for example, and travelled to London with Senesino and his frequent colleague, the castrato Matteo Berselli. It may be that Senesino, who was notoriously prickly, favored other singers over Tesi. [1]

Francesco Bernardi, detto il Senesino, engraved by Elisha Kirkall after Joseph Goupy, 1727. Image source: National Portrait Gallery, London

And although this is speculating about a speculation, it's possible that Senesino was motivated by professional jealousy: Tesi's vocal range was similar to Senesino's but apparently even wider. And at this early stage in her career (she was 19 and had been singing professionally for three years) she sang male as well as female roles: in Dresden she appeared both as the goddess Diana (in Giove in Argo) and as the god Mars (in Heinichen's La Gara degli Dei); she also sang the female role of Matilda, Ottone's cousin in Teofane, as well as the male role of Celso, Ascanio's confidant in Lotti's Ascanio, ovvero Gl' Odi delusi dal sangue. Senesino may have been wary of the competition.

There may also have been reasons of theatrical practicality for Handel's decision not to engage Tesi: Handel already had a long-established professional relationship with the English contralto Anastasia Robinson.

Opera economics: Handel's contraltos

Anastasia Robinson, engraved by John Faber Jr. after John Vanderbank, 1723. Image source: National Portrait Gallery, London

Robinson (then a soprano) was the singer for whom Handel had written "Eternal source of light divine" in Ode for Queen Anne's Birthday (1714), and she had sung with his opera company from 1714 to 1717. She created the role of Oriana, the heroine held captive by the sorceress Melissa, in Amadigi di Gaula (1715), and also appeared as Almirena, the heroine held captive by the sorceress Armida, in revivals of Rinaldo. She would sing with the Royal Academy from its first production, Radamisto (1720), in which she created the role of Radamisto's wife Zenobia, the heroine held captive by the tyrant Tiridate, through Giulio Cesare (1724), in which she created the role of Pompey's widow Cornelia, the heroine held captive by the tyrant Tolomeo.

Cornelia and her son Sesto's duet at the close of Act I of Giulio Cesare, "Son nata a lagrimar":

Son nata a lagrimar/
Son nato a sospirar,
e il dolce mio conforto,
ah, sempre piangerò.

Se il fato ci tradì,
sereno e lieto dì,
mai più sperar potrò.
I was born to weep/
I was born to sigh,
and my sweet comfort,
Alas, I will always mourn.

If fate betrays us,
for serene and joyful days
We can never hope.

The performers are Natalie Stutzmann (Cornelia) and Philippe Jaroussky (Sesto) accompanied by Orfeo 55 conducted by Stutzmann.

After the 1724 season Robinson secretly married Charles Mordaunt, Earl of Peterborough, and retired from the stage. This was another opportunity for Handel to engage Tesi; however, Robinson was replaced instead by the Italian contralto Anna Vincenza Dotti. Dotti was probably recruited in Venice by the impresario Owen Swiney (also spelled Swiny), who was acting as an agent for the Royal Academy. [2]

In 1724, Tesi was geographically remote from Venice: after a Carnival season in Milan and a Spring (post-Easter) season in Parma with Faustina, she travelled to Naples. She performed there through the 1726 Carnival season, often in prima donna or title roles. Even if Swiney had been in contact with Tesi (and there is no evidence in Swiney's letters to Academy subscriber Charles Lennox, the Duke of Richmond, to suggest that he was), the Academy probably couldn't have afforded her in addition to the salaries that were being paid to Senesino, Cuzzoni, and later Faustina (who signed a contract in 1725).

I was unable to find a source specifying Dotti's salary; my guess is that it was near or below the £500 that was paid to Robinson. When Dotti replaced Robinson, Handel reduced the prominence of her characters relative to Robinson's as indicated by the number of arias per opera. There is also an uncomplimentary first-hand report by Lady Bristol of Dotti's debut in Handel's Tamerlano on 31 October 1724: ". . .the [new] woman [Dotti] is so great a joke that there was more laughing at her than at a farce, but her opinion of her self gets the better of that." [3]

After the Royal Academy's final season in 1727-28, it was left heavily in debt and unable to continue. The directors agreed to turn the production of operas over to the impresario John Heidegger and Handel for the next five years, an arrangement that has become known as the Second Academy. Once again Handel needed to find singers, and in the winter of 1729 he travelled to Italy on a recruiting trip. He arrived in Venice in February and over the next three months visited Bologna, Siena, Rome, and Naples. However, he evidently didn't see Tesi perform again: in February and early March of that year Tesi was singing in Milan. By mid-May Handel had engaged a full company, including the castrato Antonio Bernacchi (Tesi's former teacher), the soprano Anna Maria Strada, and the contralto Antonia Merighi; by late May or early June he'd left Italy on his return journey to England.

Portrait of Handel by Balthasar Denner, ca. 1727. Image: Wikimedia Commons

A July 1729 entry in the diary of the London musician John Grano gives us a sense of one of Handel's major goals for the upcoming season: "Met Mr Smith the Opera Copyest in the Park, who told me the Performers Mr Handel Engag’d in Italy whe[re] very good and Cheap." John Christopher Smith was Handel's music copyist and friend; his information was likely from Handel himself. As an example of what "cheap" meant in the context of opera singers, Bernacchi was paid £1200 for the season, a savings of £300 over Senesino's salary; Strada was paid £600, a savings of £900 over Francesca Cuzzoni or Faustina Bordoni; and Antonia Merighi, apparently an improvement over Anna Dotti, was paid £800. [4]

Tesi would not have been "cheap." It can be hard to trace the compensation of singers; payment records don't always exist, and in addition to salaries, singers often received proceeds from (contractually specified) benefit performances, not to mention gifts from enthusiastic patrons. But we can estimate the fee Tesi would have required from Handel from information we have about her salary relative to that for the castrato Carestini.

Joannes [Giovanni] Carestini, engraved by John Faber Jr. after George Knapton, 1735. Image source: National Portrait Gallery, London

In the summer of 1730 Handel was attempting to engage a castrato to replace Bernacchi, who evidently had not pleased London audiences. Owen Swiney wrote on 18 July, "Senesino or Carestini are desired at 1200 G[uinea]s each, if they are to be had." In 1730 it was Senesino who finally agreed to terms, after negotiating his fee upwards. But a few years later, after Senesino deserted Handel for the rival Opera of the Nobility, Carestini did join Handel's company. He was engaged for the 1733-34 and 1734-35 seasons, probably for something close to the 1200 guineas per season that had been suggested in 1730. [5]

Carestini's aria "Mi lusinga il dolce affetto" from Alcina (1735):

Mi lusinga il dolce affetto
con l'aspetto del mio bene.
Pur chi sà? temer conviene,
che m'inganni amando ancor.

Ma se quella fosse mai
che adorai, e l'abbandono;
infedel, ingrato io sono,
son crudele e traditor.
Sweet passion tempts me
at the appearance of my beloved.
But who knows? I fear that
by loving once more, I deceive myself.

But should it ever come to pass
that I adore and then abandon her,
I would be unfaithful, ungrateful
and a cruel traitor.

The singer is Philippe Jaroussky (Ruggiero) accompanied by Le Concert d'Astrée conducted by Emmanuelle Haïm.

But both Handel's company and the Opera of the Nobility struggled, and after the close of the 1734-35 season Carestini returned to Italy. Benedetto Croce reports that for the 1736-37 season at Teatro di San Bartolomeo in Naples, Carestini was engaged by impresario Angelo Carasale for 800 doppie (double ducats). For the same season at the same theater Tesi accepted 700 doppie. If 800 doppie are roughly equivalent to the 1200 guineas that Handel offered Carestini for a London season, Tesi's salary of 700 doppie would be equivalent to 1050 guineas, or £1100 pounds. If this was her going rate, it is a fee that it's doubtful Handel would have been willing to pay a female singer in her vocal range. But Croce drops an intriguing hint: Tesi's acceptance of Carasale's offer of 700 doppie for the 1736-37 season in Naples, he wrote, meant "breaking off her negotiations with London." [6]

Could Tesi have been in contact with Handel or his agents in Italy after all? It's certainly possible, but given Handel's financial constraints it seems more likely that if any negotiations were taking place they were with the rival Opera of the Nobility, where her frequent stage partner Farinelli was the primo uomo. With his departure at the end of the 1737 season, the Opera of the Nobility collapsed. In any event, Tesi was never engaged by either London company, nor does any entry for her appear in the index to the three-volume George Frideric Handel: Collected Documents. [7]

Handel's London operas were thoroughly commented on at the time and have been the focus of great musical and historical interest over the past 150 years. As a result there has been extensive scholarly discussion of many of Handel's singers; since Tesi was never one of them, she is absent from that conversation.

Ars Minerva's Astianatte

Vittoria Tesi deserves to be much better known. And Céline Ricci's Ars Minerva, whose mission is to bring Baroque operas back to life, will do its part to help redress Tesi's relative neglect with their next production, scheduled for October 2022 at ODC Theater: Leonardo Vinci's Astianatte (Astyanax, 1725).

Ars Minerva Artistic Director Céline Ricci. Photo: Martin Lacey Photography. Image source:

Antonio Salvi's libretto for Astianatte is based on Racine's tragedy Andromaque (1688). In the opera, Andromaca (Andromache), widow of the Trojan warrior Hector, is held captive by Pirro (Pyrrhus). Pirro is the son of the Greek hero Achilles, who killed Hector in battle; although Pirro is betrothed to Ermione (Hermione), daughter of the Spartan King Menelaus and Helen, he has fallen in love with Andromaca. Andromaca, though, rejects Pirro: she is determined to honor Hector's memory and protect their son Astianatte. When Menelaus' brother Agamemnon sends his son Oreste (Orestes), former lover of Ermione, to Pirro with an an ultimatum—kill Astianatte or the Greeks will declare war—matters are brought to a crisis.

The original Naples production of Astianatte had a starry cast: Farinelli sang Oreste, with Anna Maria Strada as Erminone. And those were the secondary roles: in the main roles the opera featured Vittoria Tesi as Andromaca and contralto Diana Vico as Pirro. The inclusion of two contraltos in the cast may seem unusual, but Tesi and Vico appeared together in at least 11 operas in Bologna, Naples and Milan between 1721 and 1729.

Vico had sung in London with Handel's company at the King's Theatre from 1714 through 1716. She created the role of Dardano, Amadigi's rival for the love of Anastasia Robinson's Oriana, in the first production of Amadigi di Gaula (1715), and also performed the role of Rinaldo, the lover of Anastasia Robinson's Almirena, in the 1714-15 revival of Rinaldo.

Diana Vico in male costume, possibly as Quintus Fabius in Lucio Papiro dittatore at Teatro San Giovanni Grisostomo, Venice, 1720. Caricature by Marco Ricci, c. 1720-1730. Image source: Royal Collection Trust

Vico frequently performed male roles; for example, all of the operas she sang in London, and 10 of the 11 operas in which she appeared with Tesi, featured Vico in a so-called trouser role. Pirro's aria "Ti calpesto o crudo amore" from Astianatte, Act I, addressed to Oreste:

Ti calpesto, o crudo amore,
Hò già spento il vile ardore,
Sol trionfi onore in me.

E tu vanne ai Greco lido,
E di pur, che Pirro è fido
Nè mancò giammai di fè.
I crush you, cruel love,
After extinguishing an unworthy passion,
Only honor triumphs in me.

And you journey now to the Greek shore
And tell them that Pyrrhus is faithful
Nor did he ever waver.

The singer is Sonia Prina accompanied by Armonia Atenea conducted by George Petrou.

Ars Minerva has produced a superlative series of Baroque operas in their modern premières. I'm very much looking forward to what Ricci, her design team and her musical collaborators will offer audiences this fall. For more information about Astianatte and Ars Minerva's other projects, visit the Ars Minerva website.

Other posts on Vittoria Tesi:

Update 29 May 2022: Letters sent from Vittoria Tesi to Enea Silvio Piccolomini in the summer of 1736 provide more details about her negotiations to appear in London for the coming season. On 7 July Tesi writes, "Sappiate ch'è arrivato in Napoli uno cavagliere inghilese con ordine da quella Accademia di vedere d'accordarmi, sottoscrivendo trenta dei maggiori milordi, se io vado in Inghilterra." [Know that an English gentleman arrived in Naples with orders from their Academy to try to reach an agreement, subscribing thirty of the major milords if I go to England.] And on 10 July she reports: ". . .che purtroppo mi veggo in stato, di disperazione accanto di questi Inglesi, che pretendono ch'io sia impegnata tutte le volte che mi accordano quel c'ho cercato. Ed é di millecinquecento ghinee e una recita di benefizio a mia elezione." [. . .unfortunately I see myself in state of desperation beside these English, that pretend that I am engaged every time they agree to my wishes. And it's 1,500 guineas and a benefit recital of my choosing.] [8]

Unfortunately Tesi never names the agent, which might enable us to determine with which of London's two opera companies she was negotiating. Her designation of the source of the offer as "the Academy" does not provide strong evidence either way, in my view. The (first) Royal Academy had ceased producing opera at the end of the 1727-28 season. The Second Academy—the assumption of the five years remaining on the Royal Academy's lease of the King's Theater in the Haymarket by Heidegger and Handel—had ended after the 1733-34 season. Neither company was properly the Royal Academy at this point, and since many of the Opera of the Nobility subscribers had been Royal Academy subscribers, the term "Academy" might have been loosely applied to either. That Tesi's figure of 1500 guineas seems to have been accepted by the English agent makes it more likely that he represented the Opera of the Nobility.

  1. See Melania Bucciarelli, "Senesino's negotiations with the Royal Academy of Music: Further insight into the Riva-Bernardi correspondence and the role of singers in the practice of eighteenth-century opera," Cambridge Opera Journal, Vol. 27, No. 3, 2015, pp. 189-213.
  2. Swiney was, to put it mildly, a colorful character. As manager of the Queen's Theater in London he had produced Handel's Il Pastor Fido (1712) and Teseo (1713). Neither was a runaway success; Francis Coleman's Opera Register noted of Il Pastor Fido, "Ye Habits were old, and Ye Opera short." For Teseo, Coleman wrote, "all Ye Habits new and richer than ye former with 4 New Scenes, and other Decorations and Machines." But new costumes, scenery and machines were expensive, and the opera was not such a hit that it was able to recover its production costs. Facing mounting debts, after Teseo's second performance Swiney absconded with the box office receipts and fled. Coleman reported, "Mr. Swiny Brakes & runs away & leaves ye Singers unpaid ye Scenes & Habits also unpaid for. The Singers were in Some confusion but at last concluded to go on with ye operas on their own accounts, & divide ye Gain among them." But after 11 more performances, audiences had fallen off considerably, and Teseo closed. Swiney seems to have paid back the impresario Vanbrugh by the end of May, and Handel apparently held no grudge. (Coleman quoted in Jane Glover, Handel in London: The Making of a Genius, Pegasus Books, 2018, pp. 45-46.)
  3. Robinson's salary and Lady Bristol quote about Dotti's Tamerlano performance from Elizabeth Gibson, The Royal Acaemy of Music 1719-1728: The Institution and its Directors, Garland Publishing, 1989, pp. 144, 212. Swiney's letters to the Duke of Richmond in Gibson, Appendix C, pp. 348-382.
  4. John Grano, Handel’s Trumpeter: The Diary of John Grano, ed. John Ginger, Pendragon Press, 1998, p. 284. Quoted in Ilias Chrissochoidis, Handel Reference Database 1729, accessed 17 May 2022: Salaries of Second Academy singers from Elizabeth Gibson, "Owen Swiney and the Italian Opera in London," The Musical Times, 1984, Vol. 125, No. 1692, pp. 82-86.
  5. Swiney's letter quoted in Ilias Chrissochoidis, Handel Reference Database 1730, accessed 17 May 2022:
  6. Benedetto Croce, I teatri di Napoli, secolo XV-XVIII, L. Pierro, 1891, p. 311.
  7. Donald Burrows, Helen Coffey, John Greenacombe, Anthony Hicks, editors. George Frideric Handel: Collected documents. Cambridge, 2014; 3 vols. If Tesi was negotiating with the Opera of the Nobility, one possibility for the identity of their agent in Italy is Owen Swiney (see Gibson, The Royal Academy of Music 1719-1728, p. 353).
  8. Quotations from Benedetto Croce, ed. Un prelato e una cantate del secolo decimottavo: Enea Silvio Piccolomini e Vittoria Tesi: Lettere d'amore, Gius. Laterza & figli, 1946, pp. 59, 62. Translations (and any translation errors) are mine.

Wednesday, May 18, 2022

Vittoria Tesi's colleagues: Rival Queens and castrati

Vittoria Tesi, probably at the Teatro San Giovanni Grisostomo in Venice during the Carnival season of 1735-36; caricature by Anton Maria Zanetti. Image source: Royal Collection Trust

At the opening of the previous post, Vittoria Tesi: Some notable operatic performances, 1716-1754, I quoted 18th-century music historian Charles Burney:

Between the year 1725 and 1740, the musical drama in Italy seems to have attained a degree of perfection and public favour which perhaps has never been since surpassed. The opera stage from that period being in possession of the poetry of Apostolo Zeno and [Pietro] Metastasio; the compositions of Leo, Vinci, Hasse, Porpora, and Pergolesi; the performance of Farinelli, Carestini, Caffarelli, Bernacchi,. . .la Tesi,. . .Faustina, and Cuzzoni. . . [1]

This post will be devoted to a brief discussion of some of Vittoria Tesi's colleagues, to give a sense of the world in which she excelled.

Vittoria Tesi's colleagues: Rival Queens and castrati

In the golden age of Baroque opera, Tesi was one of the premier performers in the world. She not only belongs on a list with the most renowned singers of her time, she performed onstage with many of them.

Her female colleagues included:

Faustina Bordoni Hasse by Count Ludovico Mazzanti, 1738-40. Image source: Minneapolis Institute of Art

Faustina Bordoni, mezzo-soprano. Faustina sang with Tesi in Bologna (Astarto, 1721), Florence (Flavio Anicio Olibrio, 1723), and Parma (Venceslao, 1724). Faustina joined Handel's Royal Academy of Music in London in Spring 1726 and stayed for two years. She and Francesca Cuzzoni were known as the "Rival Queens," although they needn't have been rivals: Bordoni was famous for her facility in lively arias, while Cuzzoni was renowned for her performance of pathetic arias. Their conflict, egged on by audience factions, brought a performance of Bononcini's Astianatte on 6 June 1727 to a halt; the two were later satirized as Polly Peachum and Lucy Lockit in John Gay's Beggar's Opera (1728).

After returning to the continent, Faustina would marry the composer Johann Adolf Hasse in 1730, and continue to perform in opera for the next two decades in Dresden, Venice and Naples. Tesi must have known the couple well; she would sing in ten productions of works composed by Hasse over her career.

"Un lusinghiero dolce pensiero" from Handel's Alessandro (1726), sung by Julia Lezhneva accompanied by Armonia Aetena conducted by George Petrou.

Francesca Cuzzoni onstage in Handel's Ottone, Flavio, or Giulio Cesare (1723-24). Image source: National Portrait Gallery, London. [2]

Francesca Cuzzoni, soprano. When the 16-year-old Tesi stepped onstage in an opera for the very first time, in Emanuele d'Astorga's Il Dafni in 1716 in Parma, Cuzzoni was also in the cast. They sang together in Bologna (Merope) the following year, and in Venice for the 1721-22 season. Cuzzoni then went to London, where after a dazzling debut as Teofane in Handel's Ottone she stayed for six seasons. She sang in every opera produced by the Royal Academy during that time, creating the roles of Cleopatra (Giulio Cesare, 1724), Asteria (Tamerlano, 1724), and Rodelinda (1725). When Faustina Bordoni arrived in 1726, she and Cuzzoni were known as the "Rival Queens" (see above); both left Handel's company at the end of the 1727-28 season. After returning to Italy, Cuzzoni sang again with Tesi in Porta's Farnace in Bologna in the spring of 1731.

"Ho perduto il caro sposa" from Rodelinda, sung by Sophie Daneman accompanied by Raglan Baroque Players conducted by Nicholas Kraemer.

Margherita Durastanti, mezzo-soprano. Durastanti sang with Tesi in Lotti's Teofane during the 1719 wedding celebrations in Dresden for Frederick Augustus II, Prince Elector of Saxony, and Maria Josepha of Austria. A visiting George Frideric Handel was in the audience on that occasion. Durastanti had previously encountered the young Handel on his first trip to Italy, and Handel had written solo cantatas, the part of Mary Magdalene in his oratorio La Resurrezione (1708), and the title role in his wickedly cynical Venetian opera Agrippina (1709) for her. After renewing their acquaintance in Dresden, Handel invited Durastanti to London to join the Royal Academy. Durastanti created the male title role of Radamisto (1720), Rossane in Floridante (1721), Gismonda in Ottone (1723, based on the same libretto as Teofane), and Cornelia's son Sesto in Giulio Cesare (1724).

"Cara speme" from Giulio Cesare, sung by Angelika Kirschlager accompanied by the Orchestra of the Age of Enlightenment conducted by William Christie.

Anna Maria Strada del Pò by Johann Verelst, 1732. Gerald Coke Handel Collection, Foundling Museum, London. Image source: Wikimedia Commons

Anna Maria Strada (del Pò), soprano. Tesi sang with her in five operas in Naples during the 1724-25 season, as well as in at least one opera during the following Carnival in 1726. It was during this time in Naples that Strada married Aurelio del Pò, manager of the Teatro San Bartolomeo. In 1729 Handel invited Strada to London, where she created the title role in Partenope (1730) and Angelica in Orlando (1733), among other roles. At the end of the 1732-33 season, when the castrato Senesino led the defection of Handel's singers to the rival Opera of the Nobility, Strada was the single performer who remained loyal to Handel. She went on to create the roles of Ginevra in Ariodante (1735), and the title roles in Arianna in Creta (1734), Alcina (1735), Atalanta (1736), and Berenice (1737), among others. In revivals she sang eight roles originally created for Cuzzoni and one created for Faustina. In all she stayed for eight seasons (fall 1729 through spring 1737), and appeared in 24 of Handel's operas.

"Verdi piante" from Orlando, sung by Sandrine Piau accompanied by Les Talens Lyriques conducted by Christophe Rousset.

Tesi also appeared with the greatest castrato singers at the peak of their renown, such as:

Antonio Bernacchi by Marco Ricci, c. 1720-1730. Image source: Royal Collection Trust

Antonio Bernacchi, alto castrato. Tesi's teacher and primo uomo for Handel in London for the 1729-30 season. Handel created the title role of Lotario (December 1729) and the role of Arsace in Partenope (February 1730) for him. Tesi sang with Bernacchi in Venice (1721-22), Milan and Parma (1728), and after his return from London, in Bologna (1731).

"Sento amor con novi dardi" from Partenope, sung by Philippe Jaroussky accompanied by Il Pomo d'Oro conducted by Ricardo Minassi.

Francesco Bernardi, detto il Senesino, engraved by Elisha Kirkall after Joseph Goupy, 1727. Image source: National Portrait Gallery, London

Francesco Bernardi, known as Senesino, alto castrato. Tesi sang with him in Dresden in the 1717-1718 season, and again in that city in 1719 in the operas and serenatas celebrating the marriage of the Prince Elector, including Lotti's Teofane. Handel's presence in Teofane's audience was no coincidence: he had been sent to Europe expressly to recruit Senesino for his London opera company, the Royal Academy. A few months later, after an argument between Senesino, castrato Matteo Berselli and the composer Heinichen got the entire company of Italian singers in Dresden fired, Senesino (and other Dresden singers) left to join Handel's company. He went on to become the leading man of the company between 1720 and 1728, and would sing again for Handel from 1730-33. He created 17 roles in Handel's operas, including the title roles in Floridante (1721), Ottone (1723), Giulio Cesare (1724) and Orlando (1733), as well as Andronico in Tamerlano (1724) and Bertarido in Rodelinda (1725).

"Aure deh per pietà" from Giulio Cesare, sung by Marijana Mijanovic accompanied by Les Musiciens du Louvre conducted by Marc Minkowski.

Joannes [Giovanni] Carestini, engraved by John Faber Jr. after George Knapton, 1735. Image source: National Portrait Gallery, London

Giovanni Carestini, soprano castrato. Tesi sang with him during Carnival in Milan (1731) and in autumn in Piacenza (1732), before he went to London in late 1733. Carestini was only in London for about 18 months, but during that short time he created several memorable roles: Teseo (Theseus) in Handel’s Arianna in Creta (1734), Apollo in Parnasso in festa (1734), the anguished title role in Ariodante (1735), and the love-besotted knight Ruggiero in Alcina (1735). Famously Carestini did not at first want to sing Ruggiero's aria "Verdi prati," thinking that it did not sufficiently showcase his voice; Handel insisted, and it became one of the most popular arias from the opera.

On Carestini's return to Italy he reunited with Tesi in Naples (1736), in Reggio nell' Emilia for the opening of the Teatro del Pubblico (1741), and in Venice for Carnival (1745).

"Verdi prati" from Alcina, sung by Andreas Scholl accompanied by Akademie für Alte Musik Berlin.

Caffarello en habit de theatre [Caffarello in costume] by Pier Leone Ghezzi, c. 1735. Image source: Christie's London

Gaetano Majorano, known as Caffarelli, mezzo-soprano castrato. Of the singers on this list, he was Tesi's second-most-frequent partner, and they sang together in productions spanning two decades. Among other engagements, they performed regularly together in Milan (the Carnival seasons of 1729, 1731, and 1733).

Caffarelli was engaged for the 1737-38 season in London; the castrato created the title roles in Handel's Faramondo and Serse, which opens with one of Handel's most famous arias, "Ombra mai fù." Despite the high quality of the music, neither opera succeeded; Faramondo had eight performances, and Serse only five, in part because they were in direct competition with Henry Carey and John Lampe's hugely successful opera parody The Dragon of Wantley (1737), which had 69 performances at Covent Garden.

After Handel's disappointing opera season, Caffarelli returned to Italy, where he appeared with Tesi during Carnival 1739 in Naples to celebrate the birthday of King Charles III with a performance of Porpora's Semiramide riconosciuta (Semiramide revealed; Tesi sang Semiramide while Caffarelli sang the role of her lover Scitalce).

This engagement likely led to an invitation extended to both singers to perform in Madrid for the marriage of Charles' younger brother, the 19-year-old Infante Philip, with the 12-year-old Louise Élisabeth, the eldest daughter of King Louis XV and Queen Maria of France. The wedding opera was Francesco Corselli's Farnace, in which Caffarelli sang the title role and Tesi sang Berenice, Farnace's scheming mother-in-law who plots to destroy him and his family (which includes her own daughter!).

Their next opera together was also a celebration, this time in Naples in 1747 for the birth of a male heir to Charles III. In De Majo's Il Sogno di Olimpia (The Dream of Olympia), Tesi sang the title role of Alexander the Great's mother, while Caffarelli sang the role of Jove. They would sing together twice more in Vienna in 1749, the year before Tesi retired from the stage.

"Ombra mai fù" from Serse, sung by Franco Fagioli accompanied by Il Pomo d’Oro, Zefira Valova, concertmaster.

Carlo Broschi detto Farinelli, engraved by Joseph Wagner after Jacopo Amigoni, 1735. Image source: National Portrait Gallery, London

Carlo Broschi, known as Farinelli, soprano castrato. If we can judge by the number of times they sang together, Farinelli was Tesi's favorite partner. They sang together (often with Anna Maria Strada) in Naples from the fall of 1724 through the end of Carnival 1726, including in Hasse's gender-switched serenata Antonio e Cleopatra (1725; see Vittoria Tesi: The first black prima donna for more details and a musical excerpt). In Spring 1728 they appeared with Bernacchi in Vinci's Medo in Parma, and in Spring 1731 sang together (with Bernacchi and Cuzzoni) in Porta's Farnace in Bologna. Eight more operas followed in Milan, Turin, Florence, and elsewhere by the end of Carnival 1734, after which Farinelli went to London to sing with his teacher Nicola Porpora's Opera of the Nobility.

His first London appearance in October 1734 was as Arbace in Artaserse, with music by Hasse and added arias by Farinelli's brother Ricardo Broschi. Plate II of William Hogarth's print series A Rake's Progress (1735) depicts the extravagance of his reception. The print includes a long scroll descending from the back of a chair on which a composer (whether intended to be Handel or Porpora isn't clear) is sitting at a harpsichord playing numbers from the score of a (fictitious) new opera, The Rape of the Sabines. [3]

A Rake's Progress, Plate II, by William Hogarth, 1735. Image source: The Metropolitan Museum of Art

The scroll lists "the rich presents Signor Farinelli the Italian singer condescended to accept from the English nobility and gentry for one night's performance in the opera Artaxerses," which includes jewelry, a bank note in a gold case, a gold snuff box "chace'd with the story of Orpheus charming ye Brutes" given by "T. Rakewell, Esq.," (the anti-hero of the series, standing at the center of the group on the right), and hundreds of guineas in cash. Underneath and partly hidden by the scroll is a poem dedicated by Rakewell to Farinelli with an engraving of ecstatic women offering their flaming hearts on a sacrificial altar placed before the singer, with their kneeling leader crying out, "One God, one Farinelli"—what a noblewoman at a performance of Artaserse is reported to have shouted from her box.

Detail of A Rake's Progress, Plate II, by William Hogarth, 1735. Image source: The Metropolitan Museum of Art

Farinelli remained in London through Spring 1737, and then retired from public performance. He travelled to Madrid at the behest of the Spanish Queen Isabella (Elisabeth Farnese), where he was appointed "royal servant" to her husband Philip V and sang arias to the king every night to soothe his melancholy. Farinelli probably renewed his acquaintance with Tesi in autumn 1739, when she came to Madrid to perform in the wedding opera for the Infante Philip, the king and queen's second son, and his bride Louise Élisabeth of France.

"Alto Giove" from Porpora's Polifemo (1735), sung by Philippe Jaroussky accompanied by the Venice Baroque Orchestra conducted by Andrea Marcon.

These singers were Vittoria Tesi's peers and onstage colleagues, and so a question may occur to us: Why is she not as well-known as they are? The next post in this series will examine the politics and economics of 18th-century opera, and why a ground-breaking figure such as Tesi, the first Black or biracial prima donna, is not better known today.

Other posts on Vittoria Tesi:

  1. Charles Burney, A General History of Music: From the Earliest Ages to the Present Period, Volume the fourth, 1789, p. 561.
  2. A very similar group representing the same singers in similar costumes appears on a banner labelled "Opera" portrayed in William Hogarth's first self-published engraving, The Bad Taste of the Town, or Masquerades and Operas (1724). On the banner a group of nobles kneels before the singers and pours money onto the stage, with one saying "Pray Accept 8000 l." The opera represented has been identified by the Royal Collection Trust curators as Handel's Flavio.
  3. The performers are listed as:

    Romulos: Sen. Fari—li [Farinelli]
    1[st] Ravisher: Sen. Sen—no [Senesino]
    2[nd] Ravisher: Sen. Cor—ni [Carestini?]
    3[rd] Ravisher: Sen. Coz—n [Cozen? In its meaning of "To deceive or perpetuate fraud"; perhaps a play on the name of Gioacchino Conti, known as Gizziello.]

    Sabine Women:
    Sen.ra Str—dr [Anna Maria Strada?]
    Sen.ra Ne—gr [Maria Negri? She was a contralto singing with Handel]
    Sen.ra Ber—li [Francesca Bertolli, a contralto who had sung with Handel but had switched to the Opera of the Nobility]

    The "joke" of castrati appearing as "ravishers" in an opera about rape (rape here having the dual meaning of abduction and sexual violence) is another example of the salacious and at times pornographic speculation about the sexuality of castrati and their female colleagues described by Thomas McGeary, "Verse Epistles on Italian Opera Singers, 1724-1736," Royal Musical Association Research Chronicle, no. 33, 2000, pp. 29–88.

Sunday, May 15, 2022

Vittori Tesi: Some notable operatic performances, 1716-1754

Vittoria Tesi, probably at the Teatro San Giovanni Grisostomo in Venice during the Carnival season of 1735-36; caricature by Anton Maria Zanetti. Image source: Royal Collection Trust

Between the year 1725 and 1740, the musical drama in Italy seems to have attained a degree of perfection and public favour which perhaps has never been since surpassed. The opera stage from that period being in possession of the poetry of Apostolo Zeno and [Pietro] Metastasio; the compositions of Leo, Vinci, Hasse, Porpora, and Pergolesi; the performance of Farinelli, Carestini, Caffarelli, Bernacchi,. . .la Tesi,. . .Faustina, and Cuzzoni. . . [1]

In researching my posts African Queen (on composer Maria Teresa Agnesi, her opera Sofonisba, and the singer the opera seems to have been intended for, Vittoria Tesi) and Vittoria Tesi: The first Black prima donna, I started compiling a spreadsheet of every documented production in which Tesi appeared (there are surely others for which documentary evidence has not survived). The list has reinforced what an extraordinary performer she must have been.

By any measure Tesi was one of the greatest singers of the 18th century. Her career spanned four decades in major opera centers such as Bologna, Dresden, Venice, Florence, Milan, Naples, Vienna, cities that were the sites of pilgrimage by opera aficionados from across Europe. She sang in 110 productions I was able to document, and at least 10 more mentioned in sources that I was unable to independently confirm; there are also some unaccounted-for gaps in her schedule (there are no performances documented for 1720 or 1740, for example). She sang in operas by the most prominent composers of the day, including Geminiano Giacomelli, Christoph Gluck, Johann Adolf Hasse, Leonardo Leo, Antonio Lotti, Giovanni Porta, and Leonardo Vinci.

From early in her career she was cast in leading roles, and of the 110 productions for which I was able to locate narrative descriptions, libretto summaries, or complete librettos, in fully 34 she played the title character. Among her most frequent roles (sometimes set by different composers):

  • Cleofide, the faithful queen in Metastasio's Alessandro nell' Indie (Alexander in India);
  • Mandane, Artaserse's sister and lover of the wrongly accused Arbace in Metastasio's Artaserse;
  • Cornelia, widow of Pompey, in Geminiano Giacomelli's setting of Giacomo Bussani's Cesare in Egitto (Caesar in Egypt);
  • Berenice, Farnace's murderously scheming mother-in-law in Farnace;
  • Emira, Siroe's lover in Metastasio's Siroe; and
  • the title characters in Zeno's Merope, Silvani's Semiramide and Metastasio's Semiramide riconosciuta.

Mandane's aria "Se d'un amor tiranno" from Leonardo Vinci's setting of Artaserse:

Se d’un amor tiranno
credei di trionfar,
lasciami nell’inganno,
lasciami lusingar
che più non amo.

Se l’odio è il mio dover,
barbara, e tu lo sai,
perché avveder mi fai
che invan lo bramo.
If I imagined I had conquered
a tyrannous love,
let me deceive myself,
leave me the illusion
that I no longer love.

Since hatred is my duty,
as you well know, cruel woman,
why do you force me to remember
what I long for in vain?

The performers are Max Emanuel Cencic as Mandane and Valer Barna-Sabadus as Semira, accompanied by Concerto Köln conducted by Diego Fasolis, from the 2012 Opéra National de Lorraine production.

Dresden 1719

Tesi sang for emperors and empresses, kings and queens, and was sought after for special occasions. An example was her participation in the celebrations surrounding the marriage of Frederick Augustus II, the Prince Elector of Saxony, to Maria Josepha of Austria in September 1719. It was a typically modest 18th-century royal affair, involving only the building of an elaborate new 2000-seat opera house, a garden amphitheater accommodating a similar number of spectators, and the mounting of a full month of music, dances, operas, fireworks, horse ballets, tournaments, and hunts involving the slaughter of hundreds of animals.

At the center of the celebrations were performances in the new theater of three operas by Lotti, including the opera written for the event, Teofane.

Orchester und Bühne im Großen Königlichen Theater (Opernhaus am Zwinger) mit Opernszene aus Teofane von Pallavicini und Lotti, uraufgeführt am 13. September 1719 anläßlich der Vermählung des sächsischen Kurprinzen mit Maria Josepha von Österreich 1719 [Orchestra and stage in the Grand Royal Theatre (Opera House at the Zwinger) with an opera scene from Teofane by Pallavicini and Lotti, premiered on 13 September 1719 on the occasion of the marriage of the Saxon Prince Elector with Maria Josepha of Austria 1719]. Carl Heinrich Jacob Fehling, ca. 1728/1730. Tesi is probably the figure on the viewer's left (stage right). Image source: Deutsche Fotothek

Teofane, with Tesi in the role of Matilda, was given on 13, 21, and 27 September. Lotti's Giove in Argo, with Tesi in the role of the goddess Diana, was performed on 3 September, and his Ascanio, ovvero Gl'Odi delusi dal sangue, with Tesi in the male role of Ascanio's friend and confidant Ceslo, on 7, 24, and 29 September. [2]

There were several other occasions involving vocal music, however. On Sunday 10 September there was a performance of Johann Heinichen's serenata La Gara degli Dei (The contest of the gods). The description of the piece from the libretto:

Among the many festivities with which the magnificent king wished to solemnize the wedding of his most serene son and the most serene archduchess, after His Serene Majesty had fixed the days of the week for the main ones, he decided that they should be announced by the seven planets that give the days their names. For this a suitable site was chosen in the royal garden of the palace known as the "Chinese," where one sees descending in a magnificent machine:

Mercurio [Mercury, soprano castrato Matteo Berselli]
Il Sole [The Sun, alto castrato Senesino]
[soprano Santa Stella Lotti]
Marte [Mars, contralto Vittoria Tesi]
Venere [Venus, mezzo-soprano Margherita Durastani
or soprano Maddalena Salvai]
Giove [Jupiter, bass Giuseppe Boschi]
Saturno [Saturn, tenor Francesco Guicciardi]. [3]

Vermählung des Kurprinzen mit Maria Josepha, Holländisches Palais [Marriage of the Prince Elector to Maria Josepha, Dutch Palace]. Engraving by Johann August Corvinus. Image source: Deutsche Fotothek

Each of the seven gods described the activities that would take place on their day. Tesi, as Mars, announced the festivities for dies Martis (Latin) or martedì (Italian), that is, Tuesday 12 September, which consisted, naturally, of a tournament:

Su volto alle belle
Timor di periglio
L'amabil vermiglio
Non cangi in pallor.

Quelle aste sì fiere
Livore non spinge,
Nonsangue le tinge,
Nè brama chi fiere
Vendetta, ma honor.
In the faces of the beauties
the fear of danger
the agreeable tint of rose
should not change to pallor.

Those fierce lances
are driven not by envy
nor stained with blood,
neither do they wish
revenge, but honor.

Mars is sung on this recording by Annette Markert accompanied by the Carl Philip Emanuel Bach Chamber Orchestra conducted by Hartmut Haenchen.

The performance of La Gara degli Dei was followed by a spectacle on the river and shore portraying Jason seizing the Golden Fleece, ending with fireworks (it was, after all, dies Solis, the Day of the Sun, or as we know it, Sunday) announced by 64 trumpets and 8 military drums, and salutes by heavy artillery.

On 18 September Tesi appeared in another Heinichen serenata, Diana su l'Elba (Diana on the Elbe). Michael Walter's description from the introduction to his critical edition of the score:

Monday [dies Lunae or lunedì], 18 September, was the day of Diana [goddess of the moon and the hunt] and featured a "Wasser-Jagen" (aquatic hunt): four hundred animals, mostly deer and and some wild boars and sows, were forced into the river Elbe near the palace to be shot by the hunters. At 2 p.m., before the hunt, a gilded and silvered ship approached, "drawn" by four "Wasser-Pferde" (water horses, presumably floating statues attached to the ship) and carrying the musicians and singers who performed Heinichen's Diana su l'Elba. [4]

An engraving made of the occasion shows the ship bearing the musicians and singers (who portray Diana and her court of huntresses) approaching the shore, while several hundred deer struggle in the water just beyond. I'd guess the engraver is conflating the two events; it's unlikely that the singers and musicians would be asked to perform the serenata on the river while hundreds of terrified deer were thrashing about in the water just a few dozen yards away.

Ankunft der Diana, Dianafest auf den Dresdner Elbwiesen am 18.09.1719 anläßlich der Vermählung des Kurprinzen [Arrival of Diana, [during the] Festival of Diana on the Dresden Elbe meadows on 18 September 1719 on the occasion of the marriage of the Prince Elector]. Alcippe (Vittoria Tesi) may be the figure seated in the shell at the right hand of Diana (the central figure holding the arrow, probably sung by Santa Stella Lotti). Image source: Deutsche Fotothek.

This is also implied by the libretto, which concludes with Diana singing:

Su snidate—su forzate
Le ramose—fere asco
A lasciar le verdi sponde;
E al colpir delle maestre
Regie destre
Trovin morte in mezzo all'onde.
Drive out and force
the hidden antlered beasts
to leave the green banks;
from the smitings of the masterly
royal couple
They shall find death amidst the waves.

After a chorus, there is a final note: "Segue la Caccia" (The hunt follows), suggesting that the animals weren't driven into the water and slaughtered until the conclusion of the serenata.

Weddings of the House of Bourbon

The 1719 wedding of Frederick Augustus and Maria Josepha was extravagant (not to say wantonly destructive), but not uniquely so. In 1738 there were two weeks of celebrations in Naples for the marriage of Charles III, King of the Two Sicilies (i.e., Naples and Sicily), and the 13-year-old Maria Amalia of Saxony, the daughter of Frederick Augustus and Maria Josepha.

Maria Amalia of Saxony in Polish costume by Louis de Silvestre, 1738 (detail). Image source: Museo del Prado

For these celebrations Tesi performed as Venere (Venus, mother of Cupid) in Leonardo Leo's Le nozze di Amore e Psiche (The wedding of Cupid and Psyche).

The following year, 1739, Tesi was invited to Madrid to perform in Francesco Corselli's setting of Antonio Luchini's Farnace for the festivities surrounding the marriage of Charles III's younger brother Philip with the 12-year-old Marie Louise Élisabeth, eldest daughter of King Louis XV of France. To modern sensibilities the choice of Farnace, as with many wedding operas, may seem curious: most of the opera's action concerns the implacable hatred of Berenice, Queen of Cappadocia (played by Tesi), for her son-in-law Farnace. Of course, all is forgiven and made right in the end.

From Corselli's Farnace, Act I Scene XII, Berenice's aria "Da quel ferro che ha svenato":

Da quel ferro che ha svenato
il mio sposo sventurato,
imparai la crudeltà.

Nel mirare un figlio esangue
e bagnato del mio sangue
mi scordai della pietà
From the sword that shed
my ill-fated husband's blood,
I learned cruelty.

Beholding a lifeless son
bathed in my blood,
I forgot pity.

Other royal festivities

In 1747 Tesi returned to Naples to perform in the celebrations of the birth of a male heir to Charles III and Maria Amalia. The festivities involved more than two weeks of masked balls, an opera, galas, banquets, processions, fireworks, and five performances (in two different theaters) of a serenata written for the occasion in which Tesi portrayed the mother of Alexander the Great being visited in a dream by the gods, who prophesy his future conquests.

Plate V. Sala del Palazzo Reale apparata per la Serenata [Great Hall of the Royal Palace arranged for the Serenata]. Designed and created by Vincenzo Rè, engraving by Giuseppe Vasi, 1748. From Narrazione delle solenni reali feste fatte celebrare in Napoli da Sua Maestà il Re delle Due Sicilie Carlo Infante di Spagna, Duca di Parma, Piacenza &c. &c. per la nascita del suo primogenito Filippo Real Principe delle Due Sicilie. [Narration of the solemn royal feasts celebrated in Naples by His Majesty the King of the Two Sicilies Charles, Infante of Spain, Duke of Parma, Piacenza &c. &c. for the birth of his first son Philip, Royal Prince of the Two Sicilies]. Image source: Internet Archive

In addition to royal weddings and births, Tesi also performed for royal birthdays and name-days, including those for Habsburg Empress Elisabeth Christina (Milan, 1722, 1727, 1728 and 1731; Naples, 1729); Habsburg Emperor Charles VI (Naples, 1725 and 1729); King Philip V of Spain (Naples, 1736); and his son Charles III (Naples, 1736, 1737, and 1738-39).

The family of Philip V by Louis-Michel van Loo, 1743. King Philip V and Queen Isabella (Elisabeth Farnese) are seated at center; the Infante Philip of Spain is the blue-coated figure standing at the center with his seated wife Louise Élisabeth to his left (Tesi performed in Farnace during their wedding celebrations in Madrid in 1739); Maria Amalia and Charles III, King of the Two Sicilies, are at the far right (Tesi performed in Le nozze di Amore e Psiche during their wedding celebrations in Naples in 1738). Image source: Museo del Prado

The final celebratory opera in which Tesi performed, Christoph Gluck's setting of Metastatio's Le cinesi (The Chinese Ladies), was also Tesi's last appearance on an opera stage. The occasion was the 1754 Schlosshof festival honoring Habsburg Empress Maria Theresa, and the choice of opera was meant to be part of the honor: as an 18-year-old two decades earlier Maria Theresa herself had sung in a Viennese court performance of the first version of the opera, set by Antonio Caldara. Maria Theresa had portrayed Lisinga, the eldest of the three Chinese ladies—the same role performed by Tesi in the Schlosshof production. And the meta-references didn't end there: Le cinesi, with its characters performing in the tragic, pastoral, and buffa styles and then debating about which style is most pleasing, is an early opera about opera. Lisinga sings a tragic scene in the character of Andromaca defending her son Astianatte; Tesi had performed the title role of composer David Perez's Andromaca five years earlier in Vienna.

From Le cinesi, Lisinga's aria "Prenditi il figlio":

Prenditi il figlio. . .Ah no!
È troppa crudeltà.
Eccomi. . .Oh dèi, che fo?
Pietà, consiglio.

Che barbaro dolor!
L'empio dimanda amor,
Lo sposo fedeltà,
Soccorso il figlio.
Take my son. . .no!
It’s too much cruelty.
Here I am. . .oh gods, what am I doing?
Give me pity and guidance.

What barbaric agony!
The wicked one demands love,
But the faithful wife
Must rescue the son.

I'll close with a description of the staging of Le cinesi from Karl Ditters von Dittersdorf's Autobiography (Breitkopf und Härtel, 1801); Dittersdorf was both a participant in and a witness to the Schlosshof festivities:

I am still elated by the extraordinarily beautiful rendition of the little comic opera [Le cinesi], arranged by Metastasio from his II ballo cinese and set to music by Gluck. Quaglio's decorations were completely in Chinese style, and transparent. Workers in lacquer, carpenters and gilders richly equipped them with everything that their abilities could achieve. But the greatest brilliancy of the decor resulted from prismatic rods of glass which had been polished in Bohemian glassworks, and, having previously been filled with many-coloured oils, were carefully fitted into one another in empty places. They worked a great effect even in broad daylight and sunshine, but it is impossible to describe the beauty and the utterly astounding spectacle of these prisms lit by innumerable lamps [once dusk fell]. One must imagine the reflected brilliance of the azure-coloured fields of lacquer, the glitter of the gilded foliage-work, and finally the rainbow-colours repeated from hundreds of prisms like diamonds of the finest quality. The most vivid imagination must fall short of this magic. And then, the god-like music of Gluck! It was not only the delightful playfulness of the brilliant Sinfonia, accompanied here and there by little chimes, triangles, hand-drums and bells, now singly, now all together, which sent the audience, even before the curtain had risen, into a transport of delight: all the music was from first to last an enchantment. [5]

Other posts on Vittoria Tesi:

  1. Charles Burney, A General History of Music: From the Earliest Ages to the Present Period, Volume the fourth, 1789, p. 561.
  2. A visitor named George Frederic Handel was in the audience for the operas, and took the libretti back to England. He later created his own settings for Teofane (retitled as Ottone, re di Germania, 1723) and Giove in Argo (a pasticchio largely of earlier Handel compositions, 1739).
  3. See the digitized libretto at the Sächsische Landesbibliothek—Staats-und Universitätsbibliothek Dresden (SLUB). Translation of the libretto and identifications of the singers from Michael Walter, ed., Johann David Heinichen: La Gara degli Dei, Recent Researches in the Music of the Baroque Era, 102, A-R Editions, 2000, pp. xvi-xvii, xx. The translation has been slightly adjusted.
  4. Michael Walter, ed., Johann David Heinichen: Diana su l'Elbe, Recent Researches in the Music of the Baroque Era, 103, A-R Editions, 2000
  5. Quoted in Max Loppert, "Gluck's Chinese Ladies: an introduction," The Musical Times, June 1984, Vol. 125, No. 1696: pp. 321-323,325. Translation slightly adjusted.