Melani family of Italian musicians, of whom the most important were the following 3 brothers:
(1) Jacopo Melarii , organist and composer; b. Pistoia, July 6, 1623; d. there, Aug. 19, 1676. He became organist (1645) and maestro di cappella (1657) of Pistoia Cathedral. He excelled as a composer of comic operas, which included II potestà di Colognole (Florence, 1657; also known as La landa), Èrcole in Tebe (Florence, July 8, 1661), IIGirello (Rome, 1668), and Enea in Italia (Pisa, 1670).
(2) Atto Melani, alto and composer; b. Pistoia, March 31, 1626; d. Paris, 1714. He was a pupil of Luigi Rossi and Marc’Antonio Pasqualini in Rome. In 1664 he visited Paris, where he won the esteem of Queen Anne and Mazarin. While singing in opera there, he also secretly served as a diplomatic courier. After Mazarin’s death, he entered the service of Cardinal Giulio Rospig-liosi and became enmeshed in papal politics. In 1679 he returned to Paris, where he was active in politics. He composed various vocal pieces, including solo cantatas and duets.
(3) Alessandro Melani , composer; b. Pistoia, Feb. 4, 1639; d. Rome, Oct. 1703. He sang at Pistoia Cathedral (1650–60) and then served as maestro di cappella in Orvieto and Ferrara. In 1667 he succeeded his brother Jacopo as maestro di cappella of Pistoia Cathedral, but later that year went to Rome to take up that position at S. Maria Maggiore; in 1672 he obtained the same position at S. Luigi dei Francesi, which he held until his death. He composed the operas L’empio punito (Rome, 1669), II trionfo della continenza considerato in Scipione Africano (Fano, 1677), Le reciproche gelosie (Siena, 1677), Roberto ovvero II Carceriere di se medesimo (Florence, 1681), and Ama chi t’ama (Siena, 1682). He also collaborated with B. Pasquini and A. Scarlatti on the opera S. Dinna (Rome, 1687). His other works include oratorios, motets, and cantatas.
—Nicolas Slonimsky/Laura Kuhn/Dennis McIntire