Leonardo Vinci


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Leonardo Vinci (1690 – 27 May 1730) was an Italian composer, best known for his operas.
He was born at Strongoli and educated at Naples under Gaetano Greco in the Conservatorio dei Poveri di Gesù Cristo. He first became known for his opere buffe (comic operas) in Neapolitan dialect in 1719; he also composed many opere serie (dramatic operas). He was received into the Congregation of the Rosary, a lay religious and burial fraternity, at Formiello in 1728. He died in May 1730. Vinci is rumoured to have been poisoned by a jealous husband in the wake of an ill-advised affair, a story which is given by several reliable authorities without evident contradictions.
Vinci's opere buffe, of which Li zite 'ngalera (1722) is generally regarded as the best, are full of life and spirit; his opere serie, of which Didone Abbandonata (Rome, 1726) and Artaserse (Rome, 1730) are the most notable, have an incisive vigour and directness of dramatic expression praised by Charles Burney. According to Burney,
"Vinci seems to have been the first opera composer who, without degrading his art, rendered it the friend, though not the slave to poetry, by simplifying and polishing melody and calling the audienceпїЅs attention to the voice part by liberating it from fugue, complication, and labored contrivance. (Charles Burney, A General History of Music, 1789)".
The well-known aria "Vo solcando," from Artaserse, is a good example of his style. In 2015 Decca released a Parnassus Arts Productions recording of his 3-act opera seria, Catone in Utica (Rome, 1728).
In addition to operas, Vinci wrote a few cantatas, sonatas, a serenata, and two oratorios (Oratorio di Maria dolorata ca. 1723 and Oratorio per la Santissima Vergine del Rosario ca. 1730). His sonata in D major for flute and basso continuo is still played today. He composed two sonatas for the recorder in addition to a recorder concerto in A minor.