Righini, Vincenzo , Italian tenor, conductor, singing teacher, and composer; b. Bologna, Jan. 22, 1756; d. there, Aug. 19, 1812. He was a choirboy at Bologna’s S. Petronio, making his debut in Parma (1775). He then became a member of Bustelli’s opera company in Prague (1776), the same year that he wrote for it his first opera, Il Convitato di pietra, which proved successful. He abandoned his singing career and went to Vienna as a singing master to Princess Elisabeth of Württemberg and director of the Italian Opera (1780). From 1787 to 1793 he was Kapellmeister at the Mainz electoral court. In 1788 he married the contralto Anna Maria Lehritter (1762–93). In 1793 he became court Kapellmeister and director of the Italian Opera in Berlin, where he was an influential figure. In 1793 he married the singer Henriette Kneisel (1767–1801); they divorced in 1800. After the Italian Opera was dissolved in the wake of war in 1806, he bided his time until the royal theater was reorganized in 1811, after which he and B.A. Weber shared the duties of Kapellmeister. In 1812 he returned to his homeland. In addition to his operas, Righini wrote a number of successful instrumental works and songs.
DRAMATIC: Il Convitato di pietra, ossia Il Dissoluto punito, dramma tragicomico (Prague, 1776; as Das steinerne Gastmahl, oder Der Ruchlose, Vienna, 1777); La bottega del café, commedia giocosa (Prague, 1778); La Vedova scaltra, dramma giocoso (Prague, 1778); Armida, dramma (Vienna, 1782; rev. Berlin, 1799); L’incontro inaspettato, dramma giocoso (Vienna, 1785; as Die unvermutete Zusammenkunft, Berlin, 1793); 11 Demogorgone, ovvero Il Filosofo confuso, opera buffa (Vienna, 1786); Antìgono, dramma serio (Mainz, 1788); Alcide al bivio, azione teatrale (Koblenz, 1790; rev. as a cantata, Vienna, 1804); Vosco di Gama, opera (Berlin, 1792; pasticcio in collaboration with others); Enea nel Lazio, dramma eroi- tragico (Berlin, 1793); Il trionfo d’Arianna, dramma (Berlin, 1793); Atalante e Meleagro, festa teatrale (Berlin, 1793); La Gerusalemme liberata, ossia Arminda al campo de’franchi, dramma (Berlin, 1799); Tigrane, dramma eroico (Berlin, 1800); Minerva belebet die Statue des Dädalus, pantomimischer Tanz (Berlin, 1802); La selva incantata, opera (Berlin, 1803); also an oratorio, Der Tod Jesu (1790). OTHER : Missa solemnis (1790); Te Deum (1810); masses and other sacred pieces; cantatas and occasional works; many songs; piano pieces; etc.
K.-J. Kleinicke, Das kirchenmusikalische Schaffen von V. R.: Beiträge zur Biographie des Komponisten (Tutzing, 1984); C. Henzel, Die italienische Hofoper in Berlin um 1800: V. R. als preussischer Hofkapellmeister (Stuttgart, 1994).
—Nicolas Slonimsky/Laura Kuhn/Dennis McIntire