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Classical Composers A-Z: Giovani Battista Pergolesi

Peter Wintersgill introduces us to Giovani Battista Pergolesi, the composer of comic operas and religious music.

Born
4th January, 1710, in Jesi near Ancona.

Adolescence
At 15 years of age he tudied at Naples Conservatoire with Durante while working as a violinist.

Adult Life
Became Maestro di Capella to the Prince of Stigliano in 1732, and in 1734 to the Duke of Maddaloni

His first opera Salustia (1731) was a flop. His second opera II Prigioner Superbo (1733) is known only by its intermezzo, La Serva Padrone, which has been popular ever since.

His main claim to fame has been as composer of opera buffa (comic opera). However many works once ascribed to him have now been found to be by other composers.

During his short life there were squabbles between supporters of Italian opera (like his), and those supporting the French style.

His last and most famous work was the Stabat Mater (1729), which is still popular.

He died 16th March, 1736, in Pozzuoli aged 26.

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