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Bernacchi, Antonio Maria

Bernacchi, Antonio Maria

Bernacchi, Antonio Maria, celebrated Italian castrato alto; b. Bologna (baptized), June 23, 1685; d. there, March 13, 1756. He studied voice with Pistocchi and G.A. Ricieri. In 1700 he was sopranist at the church of S. Petronio in Bologna. He made his operatic debut in Genoa in 1703, and between 1709 and 1735 had a number of engagements in Venice. Between 1712 and 1731 he made several appearances in Bologna. He also sang in Munich (1720–27). In 1716–17 he sang in London, and in 1729 he was engaged by Handel as a substitute for Senesino for the London seasons of the Italian Opera; however, he failed to please British opera-goers and returned to his native town of Bologna, where he opened a singing school. In his singing he cultivated the style of vocal embellishments in the manner of the French roulades.

—Nicolas Slonimsky/Laura Kuhn/Dennis McIntire

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