Conti, Gioacchino , celebrated Italian castrato soprano, known as “Gizziello” and “Egizziello,” after his teacher; b. Arpino, Feb. 28, 1714; d. Rome, Oct. 25, 1761. He began study at the age of eight with Domenico Gizzi in Naples, making his debut in Vinci’s Artaserse in Rome (Feb. 4, 1730), where he scored a triumph. He subsequently sang in various Italian music centers, and also appeared in Vienna. Handel then called him to London, where he made his debut in Ariodante at Covent Garden (May 5, 1736; he had no time to learn the title role, however, and was compelled to sing Italian arias); he then created the roles of Meleager in Atalanta (May 12, 1736), Sigismondo in Arminio (Jan. 12, 1737), Anastasio in Giustino (Feb. 16, 1737), and Alessandro in Berenice (May 18,1737), all of which were composed for him by Handel. Returning to Italy, he sang in Rome (1738, 1741), Padua (1739), and Florence (1742); after a sojourn in Lisbon (from 1743), he returned to Italy and sang in Naples (1747–50), Lucca (1749), and Padua (1751). He appeared at the court theater of Lisbon (1752–55) before retiring in Italy. Conti possessed a brilliant voice with a compass of 2 octaves.
—Nicolas Slonimsky/Laura Kuhn/Dennis McIntire