A CHRONOLOGICAL VIEW OF WESTERN MUSIC HISTORY IN THE CONTEXT OF WORLD EVENTS

Niccolò Piccinni

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January 16, 1728: Niccolò Piccinni is born on Vico Foscari on the corner of Piazza Mercantile in Bari, Kingdom of Naples under Austrian rule, the son of a musician.  His mother is the sister of Gaetano Latilla.
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July 30, 1756: Nicolò Piccinni (28) marries his 14-year-old singing student, Vincenza Sibilla in Naples. The ceremony takes place in church, despite the fact that the couple has eloped. Her father, a barber, furious at the engagement, at first put her in the Conservatorio del Rifugio. He will relent and invite them home to be married in her local parish. The bride’s mother and godmother attend this wedding.
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December 18, 1756: Zenobia, an opera seria by Niccolò Piccinni (28) to words of Metastasio, is performed for the first time, in Teatro San Carlo, Naples.
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November 4, 1757: Niccolò Piccinni’s (29) opera seria Nitteti, to words of Metastasio, is performed for the first time, in Teatro San Carlo, Naples.
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January 21, 1758: Alessandro nelle Indie, an opera seria by Niccolò Piccinni (30) to words of Metastasio, is performed for the first time, at the Teatro Argentina, Rome.
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December 26, 1759: Ciro riconosciuto, an opera seria by Niccoló Piccinni (31) to words of Metastasio, is performed for the first time, in Teatro San Carlo, Naples.
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February 6, 1760: La Cecchina, ossia La buona figlivola, a drama giocosa by Niccolò Piccinni (32) to words of Goldoni, is performed for the first time, in the Teatro Delle Dame, Rome. It is perhaps the most successful comic opera of the eighteenth century.
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January 3, 1761: Niccolò Piccinni’s (32) intermezzo and comedy Le vicende della sorte to words of Petrosellini after Goldoni, is performed for the first time, in Teatro Valle, Rome.
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February 3, 1762: Artaserse, an opera seria by Niccolò Piccinni (34) to words of Metastasio, is performed for the first time, in Teatro Argentina, Rome.
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June 12, 1762: La bella verità, an opera buffa by Niccolò Piccinni (34) to words of Goldoni, is performed for the first time, in Teatro Marsigli-Rossi, Bologna.
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November 4, 1762: Niccolò Piccinni’s (34) opera seria Antigono, to words of Metastasio, is performed for the first time, in Teatro San Carlo, Naples.
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January 1, 1764: Gli stravaganti, ossia La schiava riconosciuta, an intermezzo by Niccolò Piccinni (35), is performed for the first time, in Teatro Valle, Rome.
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December 26, 1764: Il nuovo Orlando, an opera buffa by Niccolò Piccinni (36) to words after Ariosti, is performed for the first time, in Teatro Rangoni, Modena.
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January 10, 1765: Il barone di Torrefonte, an intermezzo by Niccolò Piccinni (36), is performed for the first time, in Teatro Capranica, Rome.
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May 17, 1765: Zophilette, a pasticcio including music of Baldassare Galuppi (58), Christoph Willibald Gluck (50), Niccolò Jommelli (50), Tommaso Traetta (38), Niccolò Piccinni (37) and Johann Christian Bach (29) to words of Marmontel, is performed for the first time, in Paris.
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January 9, 1766: La pescatrice, ovvero L’erede riconosciuta, an intermezzo by Niccolò Piccinni (37), is performed for the first time, in Teatro Capranica, Rome.
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January 27, 1766: Niccolò Piccinni’s (38) intermezzo La baronessa di Montecupo is performed for the first time, in Teatro Capranica, Rome.
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November 4, 1766: Il gran Cid, an opera seria by Niccolò Piccinni (38) to words of Pizzi, is performed for the first time, in Teatro San Carlo, Naples.
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June 10, 1768: Li napoletani in America, an opera buffa by Niccolò Piccinni (40) to words of Cerlone, is performed for the first time, in the Teatro Fiorentini, Naples.
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January 3, 1769: Lo sposo burlato, an intermezzo by Niccolò Piccinni (40) to words of Casti, is performed for the first time, in Teatro Valle, Rome.
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January 11, 1769: Niccolò Piccinni’s (40) opera buffa L’innocenza riconosciuta, is performed for the first time, in Senigallia.
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May 30, 1769: Demetrio, an opera seria by Niccolò Piccinni (41) to words of Metastasio, is performed for the first time, in Teatro San Carlo, Naples.
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January 8, 1770: Didone abbandonata, an opera seria by Niccolò Piccinni (41) to words of Metastasio, is performed for the first time, in Teatro Argentina, Rome.
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February 2, 1770: Leopold (50) and Wolfgang Amadeus (14) Mozart witness the dress rehearsal of Niccolò Piccinni’s (42) opera Cesare in Egitto in Milan. They meet and converse with Piccinni and his wife.
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February 13, 1770: Niccolò Piccinni’s (42) opera buffa La donna di spirito is performed for the first time, in Teatro Capranica, Rome.
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November 5, 1770: Catone in Utica, a dramma per musica by Niccolò Piccinni (42) to words of Metastasio, is performed for the first time, in the Hoftheater, Mannheim.
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January 2, 1771: Le finte gemelle, an intermezzo by Niccolò Piccinni (42) to words of Petrosellini, is performed for the first time, in Teatro Valle, Rome.
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February 16, 1771: Niccolò Piccinni (43) is appointed second organist of the Royal Chapel, Naples. During his ten years as second organist, Piccinni will spend much of his time on leave and away at the opera centers of Europe, especially Rome.
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May 15, 1771: La donna di bell’umore, an opera buffa by Niccolò Piccinni (43), is performed for the first time, in Teatro dei Fiorentini, Naples.
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January 11, 1772: Niccolò Piccinni (43) departs Naples for Rome.
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February 22, 1772: L’americano, an intermezzo by Niccolò Piccinni (44), is performed for the first time, in Teatro Capranica, Rome.
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March 11, 1772: Niccolò Piccinni (44) returns to Naples from Rome where he produced an intermezzo.
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November 4, 1772: Niccolò Piccinni’s (44) opera seria Ipermestra to words of Metastasio is performed for the first time, in Teatro San Carlo, Naples.
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December 12, 1772: Niccolò Piccinni (44) departs Naples for Rome on his second leave of the year.
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January 9, 1773: La sposa collerica, an intermezzo by Niccolò Piccinni (44), is performed for the first time, in Teatro Valle, Rome.
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February 4, 1773: Niccolò Piccinni (45) returns to Naples from Rome.
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January 12, 1774: A second version of Alessandro nelle Indie, an opera seria by Niccolò Piccinni (45) to words of Metastasio, is performed for the first time, in Teatro San Carlo, Naples to celebrate the birthday of King Ferdinando IV. It is a big success with press and public.
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May 14, 1774: Abbé Ferdinando Galiani writes, “I am told that M. de la Borde, on his return from Italy, spoke of Piccinni (46) to the Countess Du Barry and that it is she who enjoined him to travel to France on very favorable terms; an offer that he has accepted.” (Darlow, 133)
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November 11, 1775: The Naples Cappella Reale grants Niccolò Piccinni (47) a one-year leave of absence on condition that one-quarter of his salary go to a replacement. He will travel to Rome but will return by next March.
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November 9, 1776: The Naples Cappella Reale grants Niccolò Piccinni (48) a one-year leave of absence. He has been urged to go to Paris by the Neapolitan ambassador to France.
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November 16, 1776: Niccolò Piccinni (48) and his wife depart Naples for his new appointment in Paris.
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December 31, 1776: The man perceived to be the most important rival of Christoph Willibald Gluck (62), Niccolò Piccinni (48), arrives in Paris. He is to be a director of a singing school for the next three years.
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December 16, 1777: Vittorina, an opera buffa by Niccolò Piccinni (49) to words of Goldoni, is performed for the first time, in King’s Theatre, London.
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January 27, 1778: Roland, a tragédie lyrique by Niccolò Piccinni (50) to words of Marmontel after Quinault, is performed for the first time, at the Paris Opéra. It is Piccinni’s first French opera. The rehearsals were so horrendous that Piccinni has made plans to leave for Naples tomorrow. As it turns out, the performance, attended by Queen Marie Antoinette, is a success. Reviews are generally positive.
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December 7, 1778: Niccolò Piccinni’s (50) opera buffa La buona figliuola is performed at the Paris Opéra. It proves to be his greatest success in Paris. See 6 February 1760.
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May 16, 1779: Il vago disprezzato, an opera buffa by Niccolò Piccinni (51), is performed for the first time, at the Paris Opéra.
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February 22, 1780: Atys, a tragédie lyrique by Niccolò Piccinni (52) to words of Marmontel after Quinault, is performed for the first time, at the Paris Opéra. The premiere is performed badly but by the second night it will be very successful, which is a comfort to the anti-Gluckists.
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December 27, 1780: Niccolò Piccinni (52) writes to French Secretary of State Amelot, “Piccinni has learnt that M. Dauvergne wishes to give Gluck’s (66) Iphigénie at the same time as his own, and would rather withdraw his work than be involved with some kind of rivalry.” (Darlow, 176)
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January 15, 1781: On the eve of his 53rd birthday, Niccolò Piccinni writes to Antoine Jean Amelot de Chaillou, a minister of King Louis XVI. He asks Amelot to outlaw any praise or criticism of his upcoming opera, Iphigénie en Tauride, until it receives twelve performances. He also asks for a gag on any comparison between his opera and Gluck’s (66) of the same name. Piccinni informs Amelot that there is a plan to perform his work and Gluck’s at the Opéra on successive nights. He asks that this be forbidden. Amelot favors the request but his committee thinks that fueling the rivalry will be lucrative for the Opéra. They deny his request.
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January 23, 1781: Iphigénie en Tauride, a tragédie lyrique by Niccolò Piccinni (53) to words of du Congé Dubreuil, is performed for the first time, at the Paris Opéra. The less than successful fate of the opera is sealed at the second performance when the prima donna, Marie-Josephine Laguerre, arrives at the theatre drunk. At the suggestion of King Louis XVI she is confined in Fort L’Evéque for her crimes against opera. After two days in prison, and the intercession of the composer, Laguerre will resume her place on stage.
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October 27, 1781: The newly rebuilt Paris Opéra reopens with a free concert celebrating the birth of the Dauphin. The inaugural work is the premiere of Adèle de Ponthieu, a tragédie lyrique by Niccolò Piccinni (53) to words of des Rasins de Saint-Marc. It is moderately successful.
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December 3, 1781: The Naples Cappella Reale formally dismisses Niccolò Piccinni (53). He has been living in Paris since receiving a one-year leave of absence in 1776. This has been renewed annually until now. The Cappella decides that he is not returning. Giuseppe de Magistris, who has been doing the job for half-salary, is formally appointed second organist.
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October 16, 1783: Didon, a tragédie lyrique by Niccolò Piccinni (55) to words of Marmontel, is performed for the first time, at Fontainebleau.
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November 14, 1783: Le dormeur éveillé, an opéra comique by Niccolò Piccinni (55) to words of Marmontel, is performed for the first time, at the Comédie-Italienne, Paris.
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November 18, 1783: Chimène, a tragédie lyrique by Antonio Sacchini (53) to words of Guillard after Corneille, is performed for the first time, at Fontainebleau. Perceived as a rival of Niccolò Piccinni (55), Sacchini’s work does not compare well.
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December 5, 1783: Le faux lord, an opéra comique by Niccolò Piccinni (55) to words of GM Piccinni, is performed for the first time, at Fontainebleau.
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September 7, 1784: Diane et Endymion, an opera seria by Niccolò Piccinni (56) and JF Espic Chevalier de Lirou to words of Espic, is performed for the first time, at the Paris Opéra.
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December 30, 1784: Lucette, an opéra-comique by Niccolò Piccinni (56) to words of GM Piccinni, is performed for the first time, at the Comédie-Italienne, Paris.
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November 2, 1785: Pénélope, a tragédie lyrique by Niccolò Piccinni (57) to words of Marmontel, is performed for the first time, at Fontainebleau.
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July 14, 1791: With no income at present, Niccolò Piccinni (63), his wife and daughters, leave Paris for home in Naples. In an age of revolution, his operas are now passé.
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September 15, 1791: Niccolò Piccinni (63), his wife and daughters arrive home in Naples from Paris.
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March 4, 1792: Gionata, an oratorio by Niccolò Piccinni (64) to words of Sernicola, is performed for the first time, in Teatro San Carlo, Naples. It is Piccinni’s successful return to the Neapolitan stage after his time in Paris. He considers it his highest achievement in sacred music.
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January 12, 1793: Ercole al Termedante, an opera seria by Niccolò Piccinni (64) is performed for the first time, in Teatro San Carlo, Naples.
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October 8, 1793: Niccolò Piccinni’s (65) opera eroicomico La Griselda is performed for the first time, in Teatro San Samuele, Venice.
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January 17, 1794: Il servo padrone ossia L’amor perfetto, a comedy by Niccolò Piccinni (66) to words of Mazzolà, is performed for the first time, in Teatro San Samuele, Venice.
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December 20, 1798: French Minister of the Interior François Neufchâteau issues new rules on pensions to writers and composers employed by the Paris Opéra. Under these guidelines, the pension of Niccolò Piccinni (70) is reduced by two-thirds.
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May 7, 1800: Vito Niccolò Marcello Antonio Giacomo Piccinni dies in Passy, near Paris, French Republic, aged 72 years, three months and 21 days. He was in Passy in a vain attempt to recover his health. His mortal remains are laid to rest there.