Vinci, Leonardo

Leonardo Vinci
1690 - 27 May 1730

A composer whose music turned the heads of Vivaldi and Handel, he became an overnight success in comic opera at age 29 and died from poison at the height of his fame. Was it a jilted lover or a jealous rival?

Leonardo Vinci's life would have been fine fodder for one of his own operas. A composer whose music turned the heads of Vivaldi and Handel, he became an overnight success in comic opera at age 29. As a composer of dramatic works, he was an early collaborator with librettist Metastasio, and developed a long-running professional feud with composer Nicola Porpora. At one point Vinci even sabotaged one of Porpora's productions. He died young, perhaps poisoned because of an illicit love affair.

Vinci entered a conservatory in Naples in 1708; within three years his tuition was waived because he was already working as a student teacher. After 10 years of study and a brief stint working for a local prince, Vinci made a splendid debut as an opera composer in 1719 with his comedy Lo cecato fauzo at the Teatro Fiorentini in Naples. He quickly became the theatre's dominant composer, specialising in comic works in Neapolitan dialect. In 1722 he tried his hand at a more serious opera, Publio Cornelio Scipione, at the Teatro San Bartolomeo, and its immediate success led him to devote most of his energy to dramatic opera thereafter.

His first commission from a Roman theatre came in 1724, and from that point he would write one to three operas each year for Rome alone, while also composing for Venice, Parma, and Naples. In 1726 came the first of his collaborations with Metastasio; their work was regarded as a model of the interdependence of words and music. Meanwhile, an old rivalry between Vinci and Porpora intensified through their competing productions in Rome and Venice.

Vinci succeeded Alessandro Scarlatti as vice-director of the royal chapel in Naples in 1725; these duties initially limited his opera activity, but by 1728 he was again cranking out stage works at something resembling his former pace. He also took on extra, short-time work at his old conservatory, where he taught Pergolesi, and the monastery of Santa Caterina a Formiello, where he wrote some sacred works. In 1729 he added impresario at the Teatro delle Dame to his duties, also serving as that theatre's principle composer. Meanwhile, Vinci masterminded the sabotage of Porpora's new work being presented in Rome, which was hardly necessary because Vinci was by then and by far the more popular composer. Not for long, though; he died in Naples, rumoured to have been poisoned not by the jealous Porpora, but in relation to a romantic misadventure.

James Reel

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Aria from Il Medo
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£4.95
Cantata con violini
£5.95
Aria from Il Medo
Out of Stock
£4.95
Aria from Il Medo
Out of Stock
£4.95
Aria from Il Medo
Out of Stock
£4.95
Trio for Farinelli, Bernacchi and Tesi
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£5.95
Vinci: È pure un gran' portento
Forces: soprano & continuo

'You know the giref I feel, the mountains know and the valleys, the fields, the animals, but not the idol of my life...' Poor guy, you have to feel sorry for him! A lovely galante stlye cantata with exquisite first aria and technically demanding finale. RARA format and really 'something to get your teeth into'.

Source: Naples, Cantate 304/6

Editor: James Sanderson

Cantata da camera
£4.95
Vinci: Farinelli arias from Il Medo
Forces: soprano, strings & continuo

Three arias written for Farinelli in the 1728 opera Il Medo.

Innamorata dolce mio fiamma
Navigante che non spera
Scherzo dell' onda instabile
See individual arias for previews.

Source: Münster Santini Sammlung Hs 4262

Editor: James Sanderson

Arias from Il Medo
£9.95
Vinci: Fiumicel, che s'ode appena
Forces: soprano, oboe, strings & continuo

One of the stunning arias in Semiramide (1729) written for the soprano castrato Carlo Scalzi. A classic 'Little brooks and little breezes' aria with some virtuosic requirements for the singer. Source: Biblioteca del Conservatorio di musica S. Pietro a Majella - Napoli; Segnatura: 32.4.11

Editor: James Sanderson

Aria from Semiramide
£4.95
Vinci: Incerto dubbioso mio vago tesoro
Forces: alto, strings & continuo

From Il Medo (Parma 1728), an opera which starred Farinelli, this is a delightful aria for alto and strings. "Uncertain and doubting...I go without fear to fight the barbarous Gods and Heaven itself.

Source: Münster Santini Sammlung HS 2462

Range: b - e'

Editor: James Sanderson

Aria from Il Medo
£4.95
Vinci: Innamorata dolce mia fiamma
Forces: soprano, strings & continuo

Love and the pain of love burn strong in this virtuosic aria written for Farinelli in Il Medo (Parma, 1728).

Source: Münster Santini Sammlung HS 4262
Range: d - b''
Editor: James Sanderson
Aria from Il Medo
Out of Stock
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Vinci: Mesta oh Dio
Forces: soprano, violins & continuo

A delightful work showing all the hallmarks of Sgr Vinci's style - periodic phrasing, excellent melodic shape etc. Once again Fileno has upset his girl and she is not happy! ARA format with an opening aria full of pathos, a tremendous accompagnato recitative and a fiery and virtuosic final aria.

Range: d - b''

Editor: James Sanderson

Cantata con violini
£5.95
Vinci: Mi costa tante lacrime
Forces: soprano & continuo

An extraordinarily effective work in ARA format. Both arias are stunning and real examples of the brilliance of Vinci's inventiveness both in terms of ornamentation and vocal line. Some really effective word-painting too. "It cost me many tears, the purchase of your heart..." Need I say more?

Source: Biblioteca del Conservatorio di musica S. Pietro a Majella - Napoli; Segnatura: Cantate 304-14.

Editor: James Sanderson

Cantata da camera
£4.95
Vinci: Navigante che non spera
Forces: soprano, strings & continuo

The image of the sailor returning to the shore characterises this virtuosic aria written for Farinelli in Il Medo (Parma, 1728).

Source: Münster Santini Sammlung HS 4262

Range: c - b flat''

Editor: James Sanderson

Aria from Il Medo
Out of Stock
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Vinci: Non è più folle lusinga
Forces: soprano, strings & continuo

A beautiful aria from Il Medo (Parma, 1728). Rejecting the adoration of the crowds, the singer relies on the affections of his beloved.

Source: Münster Santini Sammlung Hs 4262

Editor: James Sanderson

Aria from Il Medo
Out of Stock
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Vinci: Olimpia abbandonata
Forces: soprano & continuo

Source: BL Add 14226

This is a beautiful working of the deserted Olimpia story with many cries for her beloved. Extensive Lento to begin and a fiery Presto to finish.

Range: d#' - g''

Editor: James Sanderson

Cantata da camera
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Vinci: Parto mà con qual core
Forces: soprano & continuo

A real tour de force here with Vinci at his very best. Virtuosic final aria and a first aria full of pathos and affect. Some stunning vocal writing setting the bar very high for the performers. I leave 'with a heavy heart...but as the stream returns to the sea, so will return to thee...'

Source: Biblioteca del Conservatorio di musica S. Pietro a Majella - Napoli; Segnatura: Cantate 19.

Editor: James Sanderson

Cantata da camera
£4.95
Vinci: Scherzo dell'onda instabile
Forces: soprano, strings & continuo

The strong image of waves playing on the beach in this virtuosic aria written for Farinelli from Il Medo (Parma, 1728).

Source: Münster Santini Sammlung HS 4262

Range: c - b flat''

Editor: James Sanderson

Aria from Il Medo
Out of Stock
£4.95
Vinci: Terzetto - Sento scherzar nel petto
Forces: soprano, mezzo-soprano, alto, strings & continuo

A trio for three of the great singers of the early 18th century, Farinelli, Bernacchi and Tesi. An emotional triabgle between mother, lover and son.

Source: Münster Santini Sammlung Hs 4262

Range (soprano): d - f'

Range (mezzo): b flat - f'
Range (alto): d blat - d'
Editor: James Sanderson

Trio for Farinelli, Bernacchi and Tesi
Out of Stock
£5.95
Vinci: Tu partisti, o del core
Forces: alto & continuo

A delightful offering from Sgr. Vinci, in RARA format, the recitatives long and complex, the arias reflecting Burney's opinion than Vinci was a master at "...simplifying and polishing melody and calling the attention of the audience cheifly to the voice part."

Sad, yet vibrant - a tale of longing and despair.

Range: a - e'

Editor: James Sanderson

Cantata da camera
£4.95
Vinci: Vol solcando un mar crudele
Forces: soprano, 2 horns, strings and continuo

Arbace 's aria in scene xv of Act I of Vinci's opera Artaserse (Rome 1730). Classic simile aria with real coloratura requirements for the singer. Excellent accompagnato recit. to begin the scene as well.

Editor: James Sanderson

Aria from Artaserse
£4.95
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