(b Este, nr Padua, 7 May 1769; d Trieste, 12 Dec 1836). Italian composer. He took the professional name of the castrato Farinelli as a sign of gratitude towards the singer, whose help and protection he received during his studies. After studies in Este with the local maestro di cappella, Lionelli, and in Venice with Antonio Martinelli, he entered the Conservatorio della Pietà dei Turchini in Naples in 1785. Among his teachers were Barbiello (singing), Fago (harmony), Sala (counterpoint) and Tritto (composition). In 1792 his first opera, Il dottorato di Pulcinella, was performed at the conservatory with great success, revealing his aptitude for comedy. His first work for the public theatres was L’uomo indolente, performed at the Teatro Nuovo in 1795.
Farinelli lived in Turin from 1810 to 1817 and, from 1817 until his death, in Trieste, where he was maestro al cembalo at the Teatro Nuovo and, after 1819, maestro di cappella and organist of the Cathedral of S Giusto.
Among the minor masters of opera buffa who bridged the 18th and 19th centuries, Farinelli stands out for his rich and facile invention, which very quickly made his success rival that of his older contemporary Cimarosa, whose successor and cleverest imitator he was generally considered to be. (His duet ‘No, non credo a quel che dite’, inserted into Il matrimonio segreto, was long thought to be by Cimarosa.) Nearly two-thirds of his theatrical output was written during the decade 1800–10, the period of his greatest success, before Rossini threw his generation into the shade and probably contributed to the total cessation of Farinelli’s operatic composition after 1817. A typical practitioner of the Neapolitan opera style of the end of the 18th century, he remained largely untouched by Rossini’s influence. His greatest successes include I riti d’Efeso (1803, Venice), La contadina bizzarra (1810, Milan) and Ginevra degli Almieri (1812, Venice).
for full list of 59 operas see GroveO (G.C. Ballola)
Il dottorato di Pulcinella (farsa, G. Lorenzi), Naples, Conservatorio della Pietà dei Turchini, 1792
L’uomo indolente (dg, 2, G. Palomba), Naples, Nuovo, 1795
Annetta, o La virtù trionfa (farsa, 1, G. Artusi), Venice, S Samuele, 11 Jan 1800, GB-Lbl