(b Rome, ?c1635; d Rome, after 1691). Italian composer. He sang as a choirboy at S Lorenzo in Damaso in 1649, and later held a benefice there. He was a member of the Congregazione dei Musici di S Cecilia in 1652, and possibly earlier. At a meeting in 1658 he was mentioned as ‘Don Federici di San Pietro’, indicating that he was then a priest and singer in the Cappella Giulia at S Pietro. 20 years later he was maestro di cappella at S Angelo in Corridore, Rome. Most of Federici’s oratorios are known only through their librettos, published in Rome; he wrote also a small number of secular vocal works.
D.Alaleona: Studi su la storia dell’oratorio musicale in Italia (Turin, 1908), 264, 415–16, 421, 423, 435ff; (2/1945 as Storia dell’oratorio musicale in Italia), 366ff
(b Pesaro, 1764; d Milan, 26 Sept 1826). Italian composer. His family intended him to study law, but he also studied the harpsichord. At the age of 16 he went to Livorno and then to London, where he gave music lessons and taught himself composition; a set of sonatas by him was published there in 1786. His first opera, L'olimpiade, was staged at Turin in 1789. His first known association with the Italian Opera in London was as maestro al cembalo for Francesco Bianchi's La villanella rapita (27 February 1790) at the Little Haymarket Theatre, where his own opera L'usurpator innocente (a version of Metastasio's Demofoonte) was performed 15 times with a cast including the castrato Luigi Marchesi. He was maestro al cembalo at the King's Theatre from 1790 until at least 1800. During that time he contributed to pasticcios and to works by other composers.
In 1802 he settled in Milan, where his Castore e Polluce was performed at La Scala in 1803 and 1805; it was also staged at Venice, Turin and Naples. He produced an opera seria at La Scala or Turin every Carnival except one until 1809; he also wrote occasional works for La Scala (1803–15). From 1808 he taught at the Milan Conservatory, where he became composition master in 1824 and acting director in 1825.
The highly successful opera Zaira (1799, Palermo), often attributed to Vincenzo Federici, is probably by Francesco Federici; the authorship of the azione lirica Pigmalione (I-Fc), by one of the Federicis, remains doubtful.
Opere serie: L'olimpiade (3, P. Metastasio), Turin, Regio, 26 Dec 1789, excerpts D-Dl; L'usurpator innocente (2, after Metastasio: Demofoonte), London, Little Haymarket, 6 April 1790, excerpts (London, c1789); Castore e Polluce (2, L. Romanelli), Milan, Scala, Jan 1803, Mbs, I-Mr, Nc, US-Wc, duet (Milan, n.d.); Oreste in Tauride (2), Milan, Scala, 27 Jan 1804, I-Mr*; Sofonisba (3, A. Zanetti and G. Zanetti), Turin, Regio, carn. 1805; Idomeneo (2, Romanelli), Milan, Scala, 31 Jan 1806, Mr*; La conquista delle Indie orientali (3, G. Boggio), Turin, Regio, carn. 1808, terzetto, Mc; Ifigenia in Aulide (2, Romanelli), Milan, La Scala, 28 Jan 1809, Mc
MGG1 (G. Grigolata) [incl. fuller work-list and bibliography]
C.Gervasoni: Nuova teoria di musica (Parma, 1812/R)
G.Gugitz: Denkwürdigkeiten des Venezianers Lorenzo Da Ponte (Dresden, 1924)
Federico [Federici], Gennaro Antonio [Gennarantonio, Jennaro-Antonio]
(b ?Naples, fl 1726–43; d 1743–4). Italian librettist. A lawyer by profession, he worked in Naples where he wrote prose comedies, librettos for sacred and comic operas and the famous intermezzo La serva padrona (1733), set by Pergolesi. Federico’s best-known comic opera, Amor vuol sofferenza set by Leonardo Leo in 1739, prompted de Brosses to exclaim ‘Quelle invention! quelle harmonie! quelle excellente plaisanterie musicale!’. During Federico’s career the fashion in Neapolitan comic opera had moved away from a naturalistic representation of lower-class characters, entirely in dialect, and with obvious roots in the commedia dell’arte, towards an italianized dialect and an admixture of Italian-speaking non-Neapolitan roles. His critical reputation rests to a large extent on the freshness of his comedy and his skill in the portrayal of character. Napoli Signorelli, for example, wrote of his expression: ‘Sempre è vera, sempre graziosa, sempre naturale, e non mai pulcinellesca’.
ES (E. Battisti)
GroveO (G. Hardie) [incl. work-list]
P.Napoli Signorelli: Vicende della coltura nelle Due Sicilie (Naples, 1786), v, 551
R.Colomb, ed.: C. de Brosses: ‘A.M. de Neuilly: Séjour à Naples’, de Lettres familières écrites d’Italie en 1739 et 1740 (Paris, 1885), 325–49
C.E.Troy: The Comic Intermezzo: a Study in the History of Eighteenth-Century Opera (Ann Arbor, 1979)