Nicola Porpora

 

Nicola (Antonio) Porpora

Born Naples 17th August, 1686
Died Naples 3rd March, 1768

A celebrated composer and singing teacher, Porpora's ability to set the Italian language to music was internationally acknowledged during his lifetime. 

"…Porpora's Cantatas particularly the Recitatives, are still regarded in Italy as models of perfection for narrative Music… The Cantatas of Nicolo (sic) Porpora have been always much esteemed, on account of the excellence of their Recitatives, and the good taste and truly vocal style of the airs…" 1

He numbered among his students Metastasio, Farinelli, Caffarelli, Antonio Uberti (known as "Porporino"), Regina Mingotti and the composer Franz Joseph Haydn.
In a career that spanned almost seventy years Porpora worked mainly in Naples, Rome, Venice, London, Dresden and Vienna. He was a maestro at three of the Conservatorii in Naples, maestro di coro at the three main Venetian Ospedale, formed an opera company to rival Handel in London, became Ober-Kapellmeister to the Electoress of Saxony and was internationally celebrated. His output was large, mostly vocal music including more than 40 operas, 12 serenatas, 4 pasticcios, 14 sacred operas or oratorios, around 135 secular cantatas, 40 sacred choral works, 7 masses, 9 solo motets, 13 Marian antiphons as well as various lamentations and duets. His instrumental output was small, most notably a G major cello concerto, F major cello sonata and his opus 2 Sinfonie da camera (London 1736). Despite his success and international fame during his lifetime, Porpora's life ended in poverty.

Porpora was born on the 17th of August in Naples, the son of Carlo and Caterina Porpora. Porpora's father was a Neapolitan bookseller. He was enrolled in the Conservatorio dei Poveri di Gesu Cristo2 in September of 1696 where it is assumed that his first composition teacher was Greco. By 1699 he was likely to have been earning his keep as a student teacher as his tuition fees were waived from this time.

In 1708 he received his first commission, for an opera L'Aggrippina, which was a success, however it was to be some time before he received another opportunity to write an opera. In fact it wasn't until 1711 that his opera Flavio Anicio Olibrio was performed during Carnival. The libretto states that he was appointed at this time as the maestro di capella to Prince Phillip of Hesse-Darmstadt, the General of the Austrian army in Naples.

In 1713 Porpora is described in the libretto to his Basilio re d'Oriente as maestro di capella to the Portuguese Ambassador to Rome, in 1715 he is appointed maestro at the Conservatorio di S Onofrio3 and in 1716 receives an honorary title from Prince Phillip who was by now the Imperial Governor of Mantua. In 1717 tragedy strikes and Porpora's father and elder brother die. His responsibilities immediately grow and he begins his work as music teacher in earnest, both at the Conservatorio and privately, in order to support the remaining members of his family.

In Naples at this time the operatic scene was 'towered over' by the Sicilian composer Alessandro Scarlatti 4 who had been working there since the beginning of the century. In an atmosphere dominated by cliques and the Roman Accademia Arcadiana it was difficult for Porpora to develop an audience, however with Scarlatti's departure in 1719 the chances for opera production grew and by the end of year Porpora's Faramondo premiered for the Empress Elisabeth's name day. He composed a further opera for Elisabeth's birthday Angelica in 1720, and in 1721 Gli orti esperidi to libretti by the young Pietro Metastasio. Farinelli, then aged 16, made his debut in the latter.

Porpora's fame grew during this time as he was becoming known in Rome as an opera composer. His Eumene is premiered at the Roman Teatro Alibert and he was invited back to the Alibert, with Farinelli, for the following two years. Porpora was by now so confident of his success as a composer that he resigned from the Conservatorio in 1722.

He toured Germany and Austria in 1724 where only one opera, Damiro e Pitia, was performed, the Emperor apparently thought his music was too florid and ornate and he returned to Italy where he was highly productive, composing Didone abbandonata (Metastasio) for Reggio nell'Emilia and in 1725 Ezio and Semiramide riconosciuta (Metastasio) for the Teatro S Giovanni Gristostomo in Venice. Whilst in Venice he was appointed 'maestro del pio Ospedale degli'Incurabili' 5 the fact of which was noted in the libretto to one of his most successful operas Sifaceand it is here that he settled for some time. 

The first of Porpora's two great rivalries developed here with Leonardo Vinci, another Neapolitan, when they both produced operas at the same theatres in Venice and Rome. Vinci, however, died at the end of 1727.

The lack of conflict was not to last very long as, in 1730, whilst Porpora was absent in Rome, Hasse 6 had great operatic success in Venice. The ensuing rivalry was to continue for many years. Musical highlights of this period included the operas Tamerlano, Poro, Annibale, Germanico in Germania and Issipile, the Cantata: da recitarsi nel Palazzo Apostolico la notte del SS Nataleand the oratorio Sanctus Petrus Urseolus and his Mass in A major.

London beckoned in 1733 with an invitation from the 'Opera of the Nobility' to take on Handel at the King's Theatre. The first of Porpora's operas to be performed at Lincoln's Inn Fields Theatre was Adrianna in Naxo 7 which was a great success and used many of Handel's former singers including Senesino, Montagnana and Cuzzoni (who only arrived in Spring 1734). During his 3 London years Porpora completed 4 more operas, Ferdinando, Temistofle, Meride,and Arianna, an oratorio David e Bersabea and a serenata La festa d'Imeneo. He also published his opus 1 cantatas, dedicated to the Prince of Wales, and his Sinfonie da camera opus 2.

Despite having an 'all-star cast', which included Farinelli who joined in 1734, the 'Opera of the Nobility' under Porpora did not establish a clear superiority over Handel's company and he left England for Venice in 1736, shortly before the collapse of both his and Handel's opera companies. Curiously, Porpora seems to have been regarded as of secondary importance to Senesino by the 'Opera of the Nobility'. Lincoln's Inn Fields opera house was called Senesino's house or The Prince of Wales' house, never Porpora's.

Upon his return to Venice he was once again appointed maestro at the Incurabili in Hasse's absence and the next two years were spent teaching and working on the operas Lucio Papirio for Carnival 1737, and Rosbale for performance in the Teatro S Giovanni Grisostomo as well as a commission for a Roman opera Carlo il calvo performed in the Spring of 1738 in the Teatro Alibert. Shortly afterwards he returned to Naples to fulfil a commission to write a work for the King's birthday, to be performed in the Teatro S Carlo, the result of which was a second version of La Semiramide riconosciuta, performed in January 1739. His return to Naples prompted the authorities at the Conservatorio di S Maria di Loreto 8 to appoint him maestro di capella and he received commissions for operas from both the Carlo and comic theatres. Il barone di Zampano, Il trionfo di Camilla, Tiridate, Il trionfo del valore were the results. 

These were almost the last operas Porpora was to write for the Italian theatres, finally stopping altogether with the production of Statira at the Teatro S Giovanni Grisostomo during Carnival 1742, after he had moved to Venice as maestro do coro at the Ospedale della Pietà.

However, later that year he took leave to go to London for premiere of his Temistocle at the Kings Theatre in the Haymarket (22 Feb 1743). Upon his return he began giving singing lessons atOspedaletto where he was appointed maestro del coro in 1744, a particularly prolific year for motets and other liturgical works. At the Ospedaletto he had the advantage of extremely gifted students and his writing at the time clearly demonstrates this. 9 

In addition to and possibly in order to supplement his work at the Ospedaletto Porpora applied for the position of maestro di capella at the Neapolitan court. He submitted all the required materials but was unable to attend the court in Naples to complete application as his position in Venice wouldn't allow his absence. As a result he was not appointed.

Instead Porpora became singing teacher to the Electoral Princess of Saxony, Maria Antonia Walpurgis in Dresden in 1747, once again moving to follow the available work. However, as in Venice, he met his rival Hasse at the court in Saxony and the rivalry was further fired by the presence of the great soprano Faustina Bordoni 10 (Hasse's wife!). Porpora had taken as protégée the young soprano Regina Mingotti 11 and conflict arose between the two singers. However, despite the difficulties, Porpora was appointed Kapellmeister 'Until further notice' in 1748 (Hasse was Ober-Kapellmeister) before receiving his pension in 1752 whereupon he left Dresden for Vienna.

In Vienna he renewed his acquaintance with Metastasio and was possibly going to set libretto of Metastasio's new L'Isola disabitata but was prevented by illness from doing so. He gave singing lessons to many, including Metastasio's protégéé Marianne von Martinez, and the composer Joseph Haydn became valet, pupil and accompanist for singing lessons. Haydn in fact claims to have learnt '…the true fundamentals of composition…' from Porpora.

In 1759 Porpora's Dresden pension was stopped due to the invasion of Saxony during the Seven Years War and it was at this time that Metastasio wrote to Farinelli, who was at the court of the King of Spain, to urge assistance for Porpora. He was appointed as 'another maestro di capella' at the Naples Conservatorio di S Maria di Loreto where he had been employed some 20 years before and he accepted a commission for the Teatro S Carlo. For this he reworked his earlier Il trionfo di Camilla for the Carnival but this time it was a failure. In 1760 he was also appointed to a position at the Conservatorio di S Onofrio, but by September of 1761 he had resigned from both appointments. He spent his final years in Naples, dying in poverty. Following his death, the musicians of Naples performed gratis at his church of Ecce Homo in Naples where he was buried on March 3rd, 1768.

1.Anon. From the fly leaf of British Library Manuscript Add 29484.

2.Also the school attended by Alessandro Scarlatti, Domenico Scarlatti, Francesco Durante, Gian Battista Pergolesi, and Nicolò Jommelli

3.S Onofrio was established in the early 1600s and by the end of the century was a major centre for musical education in that area of Italy (see above for fellow students). It's principal function was to train the new 'evirati' or castrated singers made necessary (and popular) by the Papal instruction harking back to Saint Paul 'Mulieres in ecclesis taceant'. Young boys would be sent to the Conservatorio to study voice and one particular instrument as well as musical composition and stage technique. 'Graduating' between the ages of 16 and 20 the young castrati would then move into either a church or secular career. Among the most famous were Farinelli, Caffarelli, Gizziello, Reginella, Matteuccio, Niccolino, Senesino among others.

4.For more information see The Scarlatti Project at http://www.scarlattiproject.com

5.See Denis Arnold's article Orphans and Musicians in Venice - describing the unique system of social support in 18th-century Venice that brought great economic, social and cultural benefits.

6.Johann Adolph Hasse (1699-1783), German composer; pupil of Alessandro Scarlatti. Hasse was court composer at Dresden (1731-63). He wrote masses, oratorios and cantatas, sonatas, and concertos but was known chiefly for over 60 operas, written in a thoroughly Italianized style. They include Artaserse (first version, 1730), which was written for his wife, Faustina Bordoni Hasse, 1700-1781, one of the most celebrated singers of the period.

7.Probably put on in direct competition with Handel's Arianna in Creta, HWV 32 which had its first performance on January 26th, 1734.

8.The oldest of Naples' Conservatorii S Maria di Loreto was founded in 1537 by the Spanish Protonotary Bishop Giovanni di Tapia

9.The solo vocal lines in both the choral and solo works are virtuosic in the extreme whilst still 'conforming' to the Venetian taste for a style emphasizing melody with a simple homophonic accompaniment (usually for strings and continuo). Vocal lines acquired a more lyrical quality whilst at the same time becoming more intricate and highly ornamented. It may be argued that Porpora was one of the composers chiefly responsible for the trend towards this increased embellishment in vocal melody and his skills as a singing teacher and intimate knowledge of the voice no doubt enabled him to exploit the newly developed skills of his performers and students, writing passages both more sustained and more florid than previously attempted.

10.Daughter of the merchant Paolo Bordoni, early study probably at the Conservatorio dei Mendicanti in Venice, first appearance at 16 years old. Contracted to Florence, Venice, Bologna, Munich, Vienna. In 1726 went to London to join Handel's opera, there she was in the enormous scandal fight on open stage with her rival Cuzzoni. 1730 marriage with J A Hasse. 1731 the couple arrive in Dresden then journeys to Rome, Turin, Venice, Naples. 1734 fixed contract in Dresden, nevertheless she undertook frequent journeys to Italy. In 1756 she performed for the last time in Dresden.

11.Regina Mingotti née. Valentini (1728 - 1807) Daughter of a German officer, educated from 1729 in the Ursuline Convent in Graz, remaining until the age of 14 receiving singing lessons from the Mother Abbess. She married in 1747 the Venetian Impresario Pietro Mingotti and sang in his company. She was a pupil of Porpora's and was employed at the Dresden court. Her first appearance in Dresden was as Corinna in Porpora's Filandro.
Sort By:  
Cantata à voce sola di soprano
£4.95
Duetto à soprano e basso con violini
£6.95
Collection of 6 cantatas for contralto
£17.95
Cantata à voce sola di soprano
£4.95
Cieco Dio fors'io quel fiore Forces: soprano & continuo Blind Cupid is causing grief again for our young lover and inspires this paean. A 'classic' aria (Amoroso) - recit - aria (Allegro) format with some fascinating chromatic twists and turns. Source: Münster Santini Hs 3313 (Nr. 14) Range: e - f#' Editor: James Sanderson
£4.95
Cantata à voce sola di soprano
£4.95
Cantata à voce sola di soprano
£4.95
Cantata à voce sola di soprano
£4.95
Cantata à voce sola di mezzo-soprano
£4.95
Cantata à voce solo con violini
£5.95
Cantata à voce sola di contralto
£4.95
Cantata à voce sola di soprano
£4.95
Cantata à voce sola di contralto
£4.95
Cantata à voce sola di soprano
£4.95
Cantata à voce sola di contralto
£4.95
Cantata à voce sola di contralto
£4.95
Cantata à voce sola di contralto con stromenti
£5.95
Cantata à voce sola di soprano
£4.95
Cantata à voce sola di soprano
£4.95
Cantata à voce sola di soprano
£4.95
Cantata à voce sola con violini
£5.95
Cantata à voce sola di contralto
£4.95
Cantata à voce sola di soprano
£4.95
Cantata à voce sola di soprano
£4.95
Cantata à voce sola con violini
£5.95
Cantata à voce sola di soprano
£4.95
Cantata à voce sola di soprano
£4.95
Cantata à voce sola di soprano
£4.95
Cantata à voce sola di soprano
£4.95
Cantata à voce soprano con violini
£5.95
Cantata à voce sola di contralto
£4.95
Cantata à voce sola di soprano
£4.95
Cantata à voce sola di soprano
£4.95
Cantata à voce sola con violini
£5.95
Cantata à voce sola di soprano
£4.95
Cantata à voce sola di soprano
£4.95
Porpora: Amor crudele Amore
Forces: soprano & continuo

Source: BL Add 14,215 ff 68r - 71v

Recit - aria - recit - aria form with two beautifully contrasting arias. The shepherd rails against Amor and prays for the love of his shepherdess.

Range: d - g'

Editor: James Sanderson

Cantata à voce sola di soprano
£4.95
Porpora: Calcante ed Achille
Forces: soprano, bass, violins, viola & continuo

A substantial chamber duet with a sinfonia, an aria for each character and a final duet. This is beautiful writing with many variations on the aria format, middle sections with different tempi and Afekt. It is the seer Calcas pronouncing the sacrifice of Iphegenia that set off the argument between Agamemnon and Achilles (Iliad).

Editor: James Sanderson

Duetto à soprano e basso con violini
£6.95
Porpora: Cantatas Op. 1 (pt. 2 - alto)
Forces: alto & continuo

The second six of the cantatas dedicated to the Prince of Wales in 1735

All to texts by Metastasio, they are virtuosic, filled with beautifully written recitatives and arias, perhaps the high-point of Porpora's work in this genre.

Veggo la Selva e il monte
Or che una nube ingrata
Destatevi, destatevi ò pastori
Oh se fosse il mio core
Oh Dio che non è vero
Dal povero mio cor

See the individual titles for previews.

Editor: James Sanderson
Collection of 6 cantatas for contralto
£17.95
Porpora: Celinda, Oh Dio Celinda
Forces: soprano & continuo

Celinda has gone missing, and her lover sings of her beauty, his searching and his hope of her return. Great recits, a beautiful Siciliano and a virtuosic allegro to finish.

Source: Münster Santini HS 3313(1)

Range: d - f#'

Editor: James Sanderson

Cantata à voce sola di soprano
£4.95
Porpora: Cieco Dio fors'io quel fiore
Forces: soprano & continuo

Blind Cupid is causing grief again for our young lover and inspires this paean. A 'classic' aria (Amoroso) - recit - aria (Allegro) format with some fascinating chromatic twists and turns.

Source: Münster Santini Hs 3313 (Nr. 14)

Range: e - f#'

Editor: James Sanderson

Cieco Dio fors'io quel fiore Forces: soprano & continuo Blind Cupid is causing grief again for our young lover and inspires this paean. A 'classic' aria (Amoroso) - recit - aria (Allegro) format with some fascinating chromatic twists and turns. Source: Münster Santini Hs 3313 (Nr. 14) Range: e - f#' Editor: James Sanderson
£4.95
Porpora: Cinto il cor d'aspre catene
Forces: soprano & continuo

'The Joys of Love are greater than any freedom' must be the moral of this pastoral cantata. Trapped in the chains of love, the young man still longs for his Fille, not for freedom! In simple ARA format with a very beautiful pair of arias.

Source: Münster Santini HS 3313 (Nr. 19)

Range: d - a''

Editor: James Sanderson
Cantata à voce sola di soprano
£4.95
Porpora: Clori, vezzosa Clori
Forces: soprano & continuo

Separation angst is the theme again in this pastoral cantata. Apart from Clori, her lover bewails his fate through woods, mountains and streams (they always seem to walk so far!). RARA format, the first aria full of wonderful suspensions and a slowly agitated bass line, the second with more agitation in 12/8

Source: Münster Santini HS 3313(3)

Range: e flat - g'

Editor: James Sanderson

Cantata à voce sola di soprano
£4.95
Porpora: Col tuo dolce mormorio
Forces: soprano & continuo

Early cantata in aria-recit-aria format. Recit has very adventurous harmonic progressions and first aria is very beautiful Lento, last is virtuosic

Editor: James Sanderson

Cantata à voce sola di soprano
£4.95
Porpora: Cora amante di perchè
Forces: mezzo-soprano & continuo

One of three aria-recit-aria cantatas in BL MS Add 29484, simple but very attractive. Subject: Cora's unwillingness to love

Editor: James Sanderson

Cantata à voce sola di mezzo-soprano
£4.95
Porpora: Credimi pur che t'amo
Forces: soprano, strings & continuo

Written in July of 1712 this edition uses the autograph source in the British Library. Scored for two violins, soprano and continuo and dealing with the vagaries of love this is definitely an early work, very similar in style to parts of Flavio Anicio Olibrio and reflecting an older style of cantata. It starts with a three part sinfonia, followed by two recitative and aria pairs (the last a particularly beautiful Siciliano).

Editor: James Sanderson

Cantata à voce solo con violini
£5.95
Porpora: D'Amor la bella pace
Forces: alto & continuo

Source BL Add 14122

Virtuosic cantata for alto and continuo - the last aria is particularly fiendish. Better known as a soprano cantata, this contemporary copy demonstrates the habit of transposing for different voices.

Editor: James Sanderson

Cantata à voce sola di contralto
£4.95
Porpora: D'amore il primo dardo
Forces: soprano & continuo

Cantata Op 1, no. 1

Text by Metastasio, concerning the power of Amore to pierce the heart with the very first dart. Affettuoso - recit - Allegro (both arias with 'Si sona' ritornelli)

Range: f' - g''

Editor: James Sanderson

Cantata à voce sola di soprano
£4.95
Porpora: Dal povero mio cor
Forces: alto & continuo

Cantata Op. 1, no. 12

This is extremely virtuosic and a fitting end to the collection. 2 recit/aria format with an extremely interesting second recit (quasi accompagnato) and final aria

Editor: James Sanderson

Cantata à voce sola di contralto
£4.95
Porpora: Dalle regia di Flora
Forces: soprano & continuo

Source: BL Add MS 14210

A delightful testament to the beauty of Flora, both physical and 'spiritually'. Comparisons to flowers, the fields, the dawn and, for once, nothing bitter! 2 recits and arias, with the final aria in the classic Porpora virtuosic style.

Range: d - f''

Editor: James Sanderson

Cantata à voce sola di soprano
£4.95
Porpora: Datti pace se puoi
Forces: alto & continuo

Source: alto version in BL Add MS 14210 ff 120r - 127r

The unhappy shepherd is once again longing for his distant love. He cannot believe that she could be untrue. Ah... 2 recits and 2 arias format.

Range: b - e'

Editor: James Sanderson

Cantata à voce sola di contralto
£4.95
Porpora: Deh, lasciatemi in pace
Forces: alto & continuo

Source BL Add 14215

Virtuosic cantata for alto and continuo in three recitatives and arias

Editor: James Sanderson

Cantata à voce sola di contralto
£4.95
Porpora: Destatevi, destatevi o pastori
Forces: alto, obbligato instrument & continuo

Cantata Op. 1, no. 9

An extremely operatic cantata, 'Destatevi' has an obbligato part which alternates between written ritornelli, accompagnato recits, the simple designation accompagnato and arpeggiato bass indications. It could be played on a single line instrument such as flute/violin or on the keyboard. Subject: the power of Love over shepherds and hunters.

Editor: James Sanderson

Cantata à voce sola di contralto con stromenti
£5.95
Porpora: Di vaga fera le bell'orme
Forces: soprano & continuoA substantial work in RARA form

The first recit becomes an arioso, the arias are both beautiful and virtuosic, the recitatives live up to expectation of painting a vivid picture of the story: this time of the bonds of love. "Were I to leave Clori I would become incapable of loving again..."

Source: Münster Santini HS 3313

Range: c# - a''

Editor: James Sanderson

Cantata à voce sola di soprano
£4.95
Porpora: Dice che m'ami
Forces: soprano & continuo

Source: BL Add 14214 ff 78v - 85v (only source)

In aria-recit-aria form, both arias without tempo indication, but probably a tempo giusto and lento or affettuoso. As usual, the recitative is beautifully crafted, accurately reflecting the rhythm of the language. The text concerns love as an allegory of the life of a sailor on rough seas.

Range: d - a'' flat

Editor: James Sanderson

Cantata à voce sola di soprano
£4.95
Porpora: Dolce canto l'Augellino
Forces: soprano & continuo

They never learn not to trust Cupid! Using the metaphor of a bird losing its freedom through falling in love with a beautiful face, the poet weaves an enchanting cantata text which Porpora sets using the ARA format. Both arias in minor keys but clearly portraying the bird in figurations reminiscent of bird call.

Source: Münster Santini 3313 (6)

Range: d - a''

Editor: James Sanderson

Cantata à voce sola di soprano
£4.95
Porpora: Ecco che il primo albore
Forces: alto, violins & continuo

From BL Add 14222

Prelude - recit - aria - recit - aria structure with great contrast in mood and style. Written in the period 1712 - 1715

Editor: James Sanderson

Cantata à voce sola con violini
£5.95
Porpora: Ecco l'infausto lido
Forces: alto & continuo

Source BL Add 14122

Virtuosic cantata for alto and continuo in two recitatives and arias

Editor: James Sanderson

Cantata à voce sola di contralto
£4.95
Porpora: Farfalletta semplicetta
Forces: soprano & continuo

Like a butterfly attracted to the light, the lover is attracted to another and burns his wings. Looking to Cupid for help brings no rescue! A beautiful cantata in ARA form.

Sources: GB-Lbl Add MS 14215 ff 13r - 16v & D MÜs: SANT Hs 3313 (Nr. 4)

Range: d - g'

Editor: James Sanderson

Cantata à voce sola di soprano
£4.95
Porpora: Fra le più folte piante
Forces: soprano & continuo

Source: BL Add MS 14210

In one of Porpora's more dramatically contrasting cantatas, the young lover is exhorted to deal with his rage by railing at the heavens, giving rise to a wonderful aria 'Contro me il Ciel spietato'. We find out it's a girl again in the next recitative and the cantata finishes with the young man promising to die for his love.

Range: e - a''

Editor: James Sanderson

Cantata à voce sola di soprano
£4.95
Porpora: Freme il mar
Forces: alto, violins & continuo

from an autograph manuscript in the British Library. Written in April 1720 (around the time of Porpora's first Roman successes) this is a very elegant piece in aria - recit - aria format dealing with poor old Fileno and his love for Nice.

Editor: James Sanderson

Cantata à voce sola con violini
£5.95
Porpora: Già la notte s'avvicina (La Pesca)
Forces: soprano & continuo

Cantata Op. 1, no. 6

Another of Metastasio's famous cantata texts - as night draws in the lover calls Nice to take in the air, compares her to Teti, Galatea, Glauce and Dori - nothing quite like love! Adagio - Recit - Allegretto, all beautiful.

Range: e' - a''

Editor: James Sanderson

Cantata à voce sola di soprano
£4.95
Porpora: Idolo del mio core
Forces: soprano & continuo

Another from the Naples MS 34.6.25. Here our lover calls "Tell me where you are! Show me where the one I adore is gone!" 

In RARA format, with surprisingly brief recitatives, the second aria Largo has some delightful harmonic shifts. It is intersting to note that the continuo figures in this (only) copy are only written where the vocal part does not appear.

Editor: James Sanderson

Cantata à voce sola di soprano
£4.95
Porpora: Idolotrata e cinta
Forces: soprano & continuo

Source BL MS Add 14225

The protagonist laments the cruelty of unrequited love. The last aria is one of the finest examples of a 'bird song' aria that I have seen

Editor: James Sanderson

Cantata à voce sola di soprano
£4.95
Porpora: Il Narciso amo la Rosa
Forces: soprano & continuo

What could be clearer than this lovely flower simile? Narcissus loves Rose and Violet is dull! ARA format with very pretty arias.

Source: Münster Santini 859 (3)

Range: f - g'

Editor: James Sanderson

Cantata à voce sola di soprano
£4.95
Porpora: Il Vulcano
Forces: soprano, strings & continuo

A stunning, large work with some really impressive vocal writing, both in the recitatives and the 2 arias. Opening with a Sinfonia in two parts, Vulcan bemoans Venus and her inconstancy. Not, perhaps, an ideal wife for him after all! The first aria, Largo is expressive and virtuosic and the final aria is appropriately fiery.

Editor: James Sanderson

Cantata à voce soprano con violini
£5.95
Porpora: In Amor sarò costante
Forces: alto & continuo

A delightful and simple example of the genre. Sinuous vocal lines echoed in the basso and a fiery, syncopated second (final) aria. "In love I will be faithful..." ARA format.

Source: Naples Conservatorio

Editor: James Sanderson
Cantata à voce sola di contralto
£4.95
Porpora: Io non amo altro che voi
Forces: soprano & continuo

Starting appropriately with an amoroso aria this is a beautiful ARA format work. It is an homage to the beauty and power of the eyes in love.

Source: Münster Santini HS 3313(15)

Range: d - g'

Editor: James Sanderson

Cantata à voce sola di soprano
£4.95
Porpora: La viola che languiva
Forces: soprano & continuo

source BL MS Add 14229

lovely pastoral image of a flower languishing on the banks of a river (and of course the shepherd lover)

Editor: James Sanderson

Cantata à voce sola di soprano
£4.95
Porpora: Lasciovi al fin grandezze (Il Ritiro)
Forces: soprano, strings & continuo

Retreat from Love! A substantial cantata for soprano and strings from a MS in the Naples Conservatorio. The copyist's work has been corrected and amended by Porpora himself and there is a wealth of articulation, figures and text adjustments to work from. A two-part sinfonia is followed by a secco recit, aria with strings, accompagnato recit and a final pastorale-style aria with strings.

Editor: James Sanderson

Cantata à voce sola con violini
£5.95
Porpora: Lontananza non risana
Forces: soprano & continuo

As with all lontananza cantatas, this is filled with yearning. "...the further my beloved is, the greater my sadness..." etc. A stunning, chromatic Siciliano opens the ARA format with a sprightly allegro to finish.

Source: Münster Santini HS 859 (10)
Range: c - g'
Editor: James Sanderson

Cantata à voce sola di soprano
£4.95
Porpora: Lucciolette andate à Fille
Forces: soprano & continuo

Source: BL MS Add 14214

This is an extremey enchanting cantata in aria-recit-aria form. The poor boy is totally in love but the beloved is having none of it. Retribution and hatred are the only alternatives. The opening matter of fact aria leads to an extraordinary recitative and final minuet.

Range: d - g'
Editor: James Sanderson

Cantata à voce sola di soprano
£4.95
Per Page      1 - 36 of 80