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Johann Adolf Hasse

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Johann Adolph Hasse (March 25, 1699 - December 23, 1783) was a German Classical composer.

Hasse was born at Bergedorf near Hamburg and received his first musical education from his father. Being possessed of a fine tenor voice, he chose a theatrical career and joined the operatic troupe conducted by Reinhard Keiser, in whose orchestra Handel had played the second violin some years before. Hasse’s success led to an engagement at the court theatre of Brunswick-Lüneburg, and it was there that, in 1723, he made his debut as a composer with the opera Antigonus. The success of this first work induced the duke to send Hasse to Italy for the completion of his studies, and in 1724 he went to Naples and placed himself under Porpora, with whom, however, he seems to have disagreed both as a man and as an artist. On the other hand he gained the friendship of Alessandro Scarlatti, to whom he owed his first commission for a serenade for two voices, sung at a family celebration of a wealthy merchant by two of the greatest singers of Italy, Farinelli and Signora Tesi.

This event established Hasse’s fame; he soon became very popular, and his opera Sesostrato, written for the Royal Opera at Naples in 1726, made his name known all over Italy. At Venice, where he went in 1727, he became acquainted with the celebrated singer Faustina Bordoni, who became the composer’s wife in 1730. The two artists soon afterwards went to Dresden, in compliance with a brilliant offer made to them by the splendor-loving elector of Saxony, Augustus II.

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