Vicente Martín y Soler
1754 – 1806
Who was Vicente Martín y Soler?
Vicente Martín y Soler was a Spanish composer of opera and ballet. Although relatively obscure now, in his own day he was compared favorably with his contemporary, Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart, as a composer of opera buffa; in modern times, conversely, he has been called the Valencian Mozart.
He was born in Valencia and studied music in Bologna under Giovanni Battista Martini. His first opera was Il tutore burlato, to an Italian libretto adapted from Giovanni Paisiello's La frascatana, which in turn was based on a play of the same title by Filippo Livigni. This was premiered in 1775 at the Teatro Real Coliseo in San Lorenzo de El Escorial, north of Madrid. In 1776 or 1777 the composer had the libretto translated into Spanish and put it into zarzuela form, adding spoken dialogue, as La madrileña, o El tutor burlado. This was performed in Madrid during 1778, by which time Martín y Soler was back in Italy.
In 1777, he travelled to Naples, where he composed for the Teatro di San Carlo. During this period, he worked with choreographer Charles le Picq to compose four ballets d’action: La Griselda, I ratti sabini, La bella Arsene, and Tamas Kouli-Kan. He also worked with Zeno on an opera seria, Andromaca, in 1780. In addition, he composed two mezzocarattere ballets, La sposa persiana and Il barbiere di Siviglia. At Naples he also worked with court librettist Luigi Serio on the composition of opera seria, producing Ifigenia and Ipermestra.
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