Pietro Metastasio

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Metastasio [Trapassi], Pietro Antonio Domenico Bonaventura (b Rome, 1698; d Vienna, 1782). It. poet and librettist. Pubd. first work at 14 and later enjoyed protection of the singer Marianna Benti-Bulgarelli. Lived in Vienna as court poet from 1730 and devoted himself to providing composers with opera libs., mainly on classical subjects. They were set over 800 times by different composers. Some texts from his vast output were used up to 70 times. Artaserse was set by 40 composers. Among those who set his libs. were Galuppi, Gluck, Handel, Hasse (who set nearly all), Jommelli, Koželuh, Mercadante, Meyerbeer, Mozart, Paisiello, Piccinni, Spontini, etc. Gluck's opera reforms were directed against the highly formal, artificial, and conventional nature of Metastasio's works, with the development of the plot being halted continually for displays of vocal agility. Among Metastasio's libs. were Didone abbandonata, La Clemenza di Tito, and Il Rè Pastore.

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