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Benedetto Ferrari


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Italian librettist, composer(b Reggio nell’Emilia, probably in 1603 or 1604; d Modena, 22 Oct 1681). , instrumentalist, impresario and poet. Together with Francesco Manelli he established the tradition of public operatic performances at Venice.
1. Life.
Most biographers have followed Tiraboschi in giving Ferrari’s date of birth as about 1597. Tiraboschi deduced this date from his reading of the libri camerali of Modena, in which Ferrari is recorded as having died in 1681 at the age of 84. He supported his conclusion with the (groundless) conjecture that a portrait with the inscription ‘aetatis ann. XXXX’ which appeared in the 1644 edition of L’Andromeda might have been reproduced from the first (1637) edition of the libretto. An earlier portrait does survive, in the first edition of the favola la maga fulminata (1638), in which Ferrari’s age is given as 34; both inscriptions thus suggest a birthdate of 1603 or 1604, and this seems to be confirmed by the earliest evidence of Ferrari’s career as a musician. Between 1617 and 1618 he was a member of the choir of the Collegio Germanico, Rome. The few references to him in the college archives for these years suggest that he was still a choirboy, since they record payments made to the rector of the college for clothing him and paying for his journeys to Parma (and once for rescuing his father from prison). By 17 July 1618 he had left the choir, and from 1 January 1619 until 31 March 1623 he was employed as a musician at the Farnese court at Parma.

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