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Hiba Dahir

Mr. Mullinax

Vocal Music III

May 20 2017

Alessandro Scarlatti

After receiving our art song this semester, I decided to write about the composer who

wrote Le Violette. Alessandro Scarlatti was born on May 2, 1660 in Palermo, Italy but his family

quickly moved to Sicily afterwards. He went on to live in Naples a few times and Rome to

compose some of his most famous operas such as La Rosaura (1690) and Pirro e Demetrio

(1694). Scarlatti was only nineteen years old when his first large-scale oratorio-operatic works

were performed. The famous composer eventually got married and composed several more

pieces before he died on October 22, 1725 in Naples, Italy.

Alessandro Scarlatti was born to Pietro Scarlatti and Eleonora dAmato. Pietro was a

tenor singer and Eleonora came from a musical family. Unfortunately, Alessandros father died

when he was young. Therefore, a family friend, Marc' Antonio Sportonio, offered to help the

family and found Alessandro an instructor enhance his musical studies. On April 12, 1678, when

he was only eighteen, Alessandro Scarlatti married Antonia Maria Vittoria Anzaloni. The two

lived in the palace of Gian Lorenzo Bernini afterwards. A year after their marriage, Scarlatti

composed his first opera, Gli equivoci nel sembiante, and it was performed privately. It could

not be performed publicly because Pope Innocent XI had closed down the theaters.

Nevertheless, it was successful enough to be staged in several other cities, including Vienna,

Naples, and Venice. For a few years Scarlatti wrote oratorios for the hierarchy at the time

including the Duke of Paganica, Cardinal Pamphili, and Queen Christina of Sweden. In 1682,
the Duke of Maddaloni and the Marchese del Carpio convinced Scarlatti to leave Rome

for the more exciting musical opportunities available in Naples. There, Scarlattis operas could

be performed publicly which he was not able to do in Palermo; he decided to do so.

Throughout the years in Naples, Scarlatti composed several operas such as Olimpia

vendicata (1685), Clearco in Negroponte (1686), La Teodora Augusta (1692), and Pirro e

Demetrio (1694). As well, he raised a family of five children including his eldest child who

became a famous keyboard composer, Domenico Scarlatti. Alessandro became frustrated with

Naples after the beginning of the War of the Spanish Succession. Therefore, he decided to visit

Florence and Rome to find a new position for himself and hopefully his children could find

patrons. There he composed operas such as Il Pompeo (1683), La Statira (1690), and La

Rosaura (1690). Scarlatti tried desperately to find work and be successful doing so but struggled

to please his patrons for years. He moved from Rome and Florence to Venice, then back to

Rome, and then he finally settled in Naples. The musical atmosphere had changed once he

returned to Naples. Comic operas became popular in Naples and not the serious operas that

Scarlatti specialized in. Scarlatti did not attempt to abide by this trend and chose to compose his

usual serious operas, serenatas, cantatas, and sacred music. In 1719, Scarlatti wrote his last

opera for Naples, Il Cambise. Scarlatti wrote about 115 operas, 600 cantatas, and several works

of sacred music. Although, his last years were taken over by financial difficulties. Before he

died, he wrote to the viceroy and begged him to pay his salary, which had been withheld for four

months. Alessandro Scarlatti died on October 22, 1725 known as a famous composer but left his

family in poverty.

Works Cited
"Alessandro Scarlatti." Alessandro Scarlatti: Life and Work, in Rome and Naples. N.p., n.d. Web.

29 May 2017.

"Alessandro Scarlatti (Composer)." Alessandro Scarlatti (Composer). N.p., n.d. Web. 29 May


"SuggestedListening." Alessandro Scarlatti. N.p., n.d. Web. 29 May 2017.