Bolaffi, Michele

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BOLAFFI, MICHELE (or Michaele ; 1768–1842), Italian musician and composer. In 1793 he composed the music for the religious drama Simḥat Mitzvah by Daniel *Terni, written for performance at the inauguration of the synagogue in Florence: the music has not been found. Later, Bolaffi was active at the Leghorn synagogue, where his works continued to be performed until the early years of the 20th century. His works are included in the 19th-century music manuscripts of other Italian communities, notably that of Casale Monferrato. His setting to Psalm 121 is still sung in the Florence synagogue at festivals. Bolaffi also had a career as a secular musician. He went to England, where in 1809 he was employed as "Musical Director to the Duke of Cambridge." He toured Germany in 1816 with the singer Angelica Catalani, and occupied for a short period the post of Koeniglicher Kapellmeister at Hanover. Between 1815 and 1818 he was in the service of Louis xviii as singer with the title "Musicien de S.M. le Roi de France." His compositions include an opera Saul, a Miserere for three voices and orchestra (1802), a "sonetto" on the death of Haydn (1809), settings for psalms, and other vocal compositions. He also wrote poems, an Italian adaptation of Solomon ibn *Gabirol's Keter Malkhut under the title Teodia (1809), and Italian translations of Jacques de Lille (1813) and Voltaire (1816).


C. Roth, in: jhset, 16 (1945–51), 223–4; H. Schirmann, in: Taẓlil, 4 (1964), 32f.; Adler, Prat Mus, 125–8.

[Israel Adler]