(b Ancona; fl 1620–35). Italian composer. In 1620 he was maestro di cappella of S Venanzo, Fabriano, and in 1635 held a similar position at the town of Ascoli Piceno. Of his several publications only three survive (and the last two of these incomplete): Duo completoria quorum unum tam plena voce, quam ad organum decantari potest; alterum vero concertatum decantari debet quinque vocibus; cum letanijs B. Mariae Virginis, cum basso ad organum (Venice, 1620); Salmi concertati a quattro voci, in diverse maniere alla moderne (Venice, 1626); and Missarum liber secundus octonis vocibus concinendarum, quae tam plena voce, quam ad organum accommodate una vero ad concentum decantanda op.7 (Venice, 1635).
(b Rome, 11 Sept 1764; d Capua, 16 June 1837). Italian composer, father of Vincenzo Fioravanti. Although his early education was in literature and art, he soon obtained his father’s permission to study music. His first lessons were with Gregorio Toscanelli, a singer at S Pietro, and he also had private counterpoint lessons from Giuseppe Jannacconi; in 1779 his father sent him to Naples for private lessons with Sala. In 1781 he returned to Rome, where he conducted at various theatres and composed his first opera, the intermezzo Le avventure di Bertoldino (1784). In 1787 the Teatro del Fondo in Naples commissioned a comic opera, Gl’inganni fortunati (1788), which secured his fame.
In Naples Fioravanti was a formidable rival to Paisiello, P.A. Guglielmi and Cimarosa. He toured Italy, writing both comic and serious operas for all the major theatres. His most popular, Le cantatrici villane, was written for Naples in 1799 during the revolutionary turmoil. An instant success, it was performed throughout Europe, becoming one of his few works to be revived in the 20th century (Vienna, 1907; Rome, 1951).
After the success of Camilla in Lisbon (1801) Fioravanti was engaged as director of the S Carlos theatre there, a post he retained for five years, until political strife made life uncomfortable. On his way back to Italy he visited Paris and wrote an opera, I virtuosi ambulanti (1807), for the Théâtre Italien. His fame had preceded him with performances of La capricciosa pentita in 1805 and Le cantatrici villane in 1806. The former, originally written for La Scala in 1802, was famous (according to Castil-Blaze) for introducing the english horn to the French theatre orchestra. In Italy Fioravanti continued to receive contracts for operas. In 1816 he succeeded Zingarelli as maestro di cappella of the Cappella Sistina. His operatic career dwindled; after 1824 he wrote only sacred music, and his reputation faded.
Although remembered for his comic works, Fioravanti wrote an almost equal number of serious ones, borrowing some of his plots, as many others also did, from the French theatre and the ‘larmoyante’ tradition. The most unusual of these melodrammi was a trilogy entitled Adelaide e Comingio. The blood-and-thunder, Romeo-and-Juliet story, spiced with comic ingredients, was taken by the librettist A.L. Tottola from a popular series of plays (1789) by the Revolutionary poet Giacomantonio Gualzetti, derived in turn from French sources (a verse drama by François d’Arnaud, 1765, and a novel by the infamous Claudine de Tencin, 1735). The story was especially popular with the Neapolitans, but only the second opera of the trilogy, Adelaide maritata, was ever played outside Naples. This experiment in tragedy was significant for the history of Neapolitan opera; nevertheless, Fioravanti’s greatest gift lay elsewhere, in the opera buffa (his sacred music, in the Accademia di S Cecilia, Rome, is pale and dull). Cimarosa particularly praised his ‘parlati’ (passages of comic dialogue over orchestral ostinato figures), even though he feared the younger man’s undeniable talent and its effect on Neapolitan audiences. Fioravanti’s music does not fall into platitudinous forms as readily as does that of some of his contemporaries; the musical language is flexible and lively, and the tempo changes within numbers unpredictably, suiting the situation. His harmonic language is uninventive for its time, but typical of Italian opera innocent of Haydn and Mozart. Comedy is everything, from complicated imbroglios in ensembles to the imitation of barnyard animals (in La capricciosa pentita); each dramatic situation receives an appropriate, witty musical treatment. Stendhal in his Vie de Rossini (Paris, 1824) paid Fioravanti his greatest compliment; he reported Rossini as believing that the art of opera buffa had already reached perfection before he began to compose and that in the particular comic style known as nota e parola there was no further progress possible after Fioravanti.
for fuller list of 84 operas see GroveO (M. Tartak)
commedia per musica
Le avventure di Bertoldino, o sia La dama contadina (int), Rome, Ornani, carn. 1784, I-Mr
La fuga avventurata, o sieno I viaggiatori ridicoli (int), Rome, Pace, carn. 1787
Gl’inganni fortunati (cm, 2, G. Pagliuca), Naples, Fondo, 31 Jan 1788
Il fabbro parigino, ossia La schiava fortunata (farsetta, 2, L. Romanelli), Rome, Capranica, 9 Jan 1789; as Il fabbro, Florence, spr. 1791; as La schiava fortunata, Naples, 1796; Fc, Mr, P-La
La famiglia stravagante (ob, G. Petrosellini), Rome, Capranica, 3 Feb 1792; as Gli amanti comici ossia La famiglia in scompiglio, Folignano, carn. 1796; as La famiglia sconcerto, Treviso, 1797; excerpts I-Fc, Gl, Mc, Nc, OS, Rsc
L’astuta in amore, ossia Il furbo malaccorta (ob, 2, G. Palomba), Naples, Nuovo, spr. 1795, Fc, Mr, Nc, Rrai, US-Bp (Act 1)
Il furbo contro il furbo (ob, 2, ? Valentino Fioravanti, from A.-R. Lesage: Crispin rival de son maître, 1707), Venice, S Samuele, 29 Dec 1796; rev. as Il ciabattino ringentilito, Vienna, Hof, 10 June 1797; as L’arte contro l’arte, Parma, Ducale, carn. 1798; as Chi la fa, chi la disfa e chi l’imbroglio, Trieste, aut. 1802; as Il ciabattino incivilito, Modena, 1804; as Il ciabattino (lib rev. A.L. Tottola), Naples, 1822; I-Fc, Gl, Mr, Nc, Pl, Rrai
Le cantatrici villane (cm, 2, G. Palomba), Naples, Fiorentini, Jan 1799; rev. as Le virtuose ridicole (1, G.M. Foppa), Venice, S Moisè, 28 Dec 1801; as Die Sängerinnen auf dem Lande, Munich, 1812; A-Wn, D-Bsb, Dl, DS, I-Fc, Mr, Nc, Rsc; vs (Paris, n.d.; in German: Berlin, n.d.)
Il villano in angustie (dg, 2, F. Cammarano), Naples, Nuovo, spr. 1801, F-Pc, I-Nc, US-Wc
La capricciosa pentita (mel giocoso, 2, Romanelli), Milan, Scala, 2 Oct 1802; as La capricciosa ravveduta, Vienna, Kärntnertor, 26 June 1805; as L’orgoglio avvilito, Lisbon, 1806 and London, 1815; as La sposa corretta, Turin, Carignano, aut. 1806; as Capriccio e pentimento, Venice, S Moisè, 4 Dec 1810; as La sposa stravagante, Paris, 1817; A-Wn, Wgm, GB-Lcm, I-Fc, Gl, Mr, Nc, US-Bp, Wc
Camilla, ossia La forza del giuramento (dramma, 3, G. Caravita [?Tottola], after G. Carpani), Lisbon, S Carlos, aut. 1804; as Camilla, ossia Il sotterraneo, Chiete, 1815, GB-Lcm, I-Mc, Nc, US-Wc
I virtuosi ambulanti (ob, 2, L. Balocchi, after L.-B. Picard: Les comédiens ambulants), Paris, Italien, 26 Sept 1807; as La virtuosa in puntiglio, London, 1808; as I soggetti di teatro, Florence, 1811, I-Nc*, CMac (Paris, n.d.)
Raoul signore di Créqui (mel eroi-comico, 3, Tottola, after Monvel), Naples, Nuovo, aut. 1811, Mc, Nc
Adelaide maritata (mel, 3, Tottola, after G. Gualzetti), Naples, Nuovo, 10 May 1812; as Comingio pittore, Florence, 1813; as Adelaide e Comingio, Parma, 1814; Mc, Nc, Vnm [pt 2 of trilogy Adelaide e Comingio]; possibly also as Adelaide e Commingio romiti (2, Tottola), Naples, Fiorentini, Lent 1813; Fc, Nc, US-Wc
La contessa di Fersen (mel, 2, M. Prunetti), Rome, Valle, 14 Oct 1817; as La moglie di due mariti, Milan, Re, 1 Dec 1818; I-Mc, Nc