Faà di Bruno, Giovanni Matteo [Horatio, Orazio] 83

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Fioravanti, Vincenzo

(b Rome, 5 April 1799; d Naples, 28 March 1877). Italian composer, son of Valentino Fioravanti. His father wanted him to study medicine; without consent, Vincenzo studied composition with his father’s teacher, Giuseppe Jannacconi, but only when Valentino was away from Rome. When he was 15, he wrote a duet as an additional piece for an opera at the Teatro Valle, but after the rehearsal he withdrew the music. In 1816 his father called him to Naples, believing him to have finished his medical studies; eventually he grudgingly gave his son composition lessons. Vincenzo’s first opera was Pulcinella molinaro (Naples, 1819). In 1820 he returned to Rome, sought Donizetti’s advice and found success with his second work, La contadina fortunata, at the Valle.

In order to marry, Fioravanti had to agree to his future father-in-law’s demand that he abandon his interest in theatrical matters. It was a happy marriage, but after ten months his wife died. He returned to Naples but wrote nothing until Robinson Crusoè nell’isola deserta (1828) for the Teatro Nuovo. This initiated a series of works, mostly opere buffe, carrying on his father’s tradition, which had been deserted by most of his contemporaries. His most popular opera was Il ritorno di Pulcinella dagli studi di Padova (1837); it was performed abroad, was constantly adapted by various singers and composers, and was on the stage for over 80 years. Part of its success was due to the irresistibly comic scenes in which the hero is thrown into an asylum for crazy musicians.

Soon after his father died, Fioravanti moved to Lanciano in the Abruzzi, where in 1839–43 he was maestro di cappella at the cathedral. During this time he wrote both sacred and operatic works, but it was not until he returned to Naples that his career reached its zenith. After 1856 he fell on hard times; he hoped to receive the composition chair at the Naples Conservatory, but instead it was made open to competition. In 1867 he was made director of the music school of the Albergo dei Poveri, but illness forced him to resign in 1872. He was compelled to accept charity, some of which derived from a sale of an Album Fioravanti published by his friends. He turned to writing graceful, epigrammatic verse. After his death his work was forgotten, but a reappraisal of his operas has restored his reputation.



for fuller list of 39 operas see GroveO (M. Tartak)

La Pulcinella molinaro, spaventato dalla fata Serafinetta (ob, 2, F. Cammarano), Naples, S Carlino, carn. 1819, excerpt I-Mc

La contadina fortunata (ob, 2, A.L. Tottola), Rome, Valle, 23 Nov 1820; as La pastorella rapita, Rome, Valle, carn. 1820

Robinson Crusoè nell’isola deserta (ob, 3, Tottola, after D. Defoe), Naples, Nuovo, 31 Jan 1828, Mc

La portentosa scimmia del Brasile con Pulcinella, ossia La scimmia brasiliana (ob, Tottola), Naples, Nuovo, 27 Feb 1831

Il supposto sposo (ob, A. Passaro), Naples, Fondo, 6 Oct 1834

Il ritorno di Pulcinella dagli studi di Padova, ossia Il pazzo per amore (ob, 2, Passaro), Naples, Nuovo, 28 Dec 1837, Bsf, excerpts, Fc, Gl, Mc, Nc, Pl, Rsc, Vnm; as Il ritorno di Columella, ossia Il pazzo per amore, Milan, Re, 17 June 1842, recits by Cambiaggio, Fc, OS, vs (Milan, c1845)

La larva, ovvero Gli spaventi di Pulcinella (ob, A. De Leone and R. D’Ambra), Naples, Nuovo, 19 Jan 1839

La dama ed il zoccolajo, ossia La trasmigrazione di Pulcinella (ob, Passaro), Naples, Nuovo, 1 Feb 1840, excerpts Mc

Il lotteria di Vienna (ob, P. Altavilla), Naples, Nuovo, 25 March 1843

Il notajo d’Ubeda, ossia Le gelosie di Pulcinella (ob, C. Zenobi Caffarecci), Naples, Nuovo, 26 July 1843, Mr; rev. Cambiaggio as Don Procopio, Trieste, Mauroner, 6 Sept 1844, with addl music by G. Mosca, Cambiaggio, Tonassi, Consolini and Mattei

Gli zingari, ossia Gli amori di Pulcinella (ob, M. D’Arienzo), Naples, Nuovo, 30 Jan 1844, Mr

Pulcinella e la fortuna (ob, A. Spadetta), Naples, Nuovo, 24 Jan 1847

Jacopo lo scortichino (ob, T. Zampa), Naples, Fenice, Sept 1855

Il signor Pipino (ob, Spadetta), Naples, Nuovo, June 1856


25 other ops; 3 pasticcios

other works

Sacred (in I-LANc, unless otherwise stated): Seila (orat), Rome, 1840; Il sacrificio di Jefte (orat), Rome, 1841; 4 Passions (Matthew, Mark, Luke and John), all B; Messe breve (Ky, Gl), G, TTB, orch; Le tre ore di Maria desolata, F, TTB, vn, pf, 1865, I-Nc; other sacred works

Songs; Quadriglie, pf, Rvat



GroveO (M. Tartak) [incl. complete list of operas]


J. Napoli: ‘Il tramonto dell’opera buffa’, Cento anni di vita del Teatro San Carlo, 1848–1948, ed. F. de Filippis (Naples, 1948)

G. Pannain: Ottocento musicale italiano (Milan, 1952)


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