Baldassare Galuppi (1706-1785)
Born on the Venetian harbor island of Burano, Baldassare Galuppi was among the most important composers of the eighteenth century opera seria and a central figure in the development of the dramma giocoso. Early in his career, Galuppi held a position teaching and composing at the Ospedale dei Medicanti in Venice. He spent approximately eighteen months in London between October 1741 and May 1743 supervising the production of at
least eleven of his operas. Upon his return to Venice, Galuppi played a pivotal role in adapting the newly-arrived Neopolitan comic opera style to northern Italian tastes, thus assuring its success in Venice. He was elected vicemaestro at the Basilica of San Marco in 1748, and for the next three years his dual roles at the Medicanti and the Basilica resulted in a huge output of liturgical music, most of it, tragically, lost today.
Galuppi’s opera-related engagements forced him to resign his post at the Medicanti in 1751, though he remained active at San Marco, and in April of 1762 he was unanimously appointed maestro di coro there. Later that year, he would also be appointed maestro di coro at the Ospedale degli Incurabili. With the exception of a three-year period (1765 to 1768) composing operas for the court of Catherine the Great in St. Petersburg, Galuppi would continue to hold the position at San Marco until shortly before his death.