Project created by Francesco Lora

Not just opera, not just castrati and not just primedonne, the protagonist of this musical journey is the bass don Lorenzo Gaggiotti (1639-1697), one of the most admired singers of the 17th century. As well as possessing an erudition of a composer, he possessed a voice of great extension and agility. The most celebrated composers of the day wrote astoundingly virtuosic music for this voice that was prohibitively difficult for the other illustrious bass singers in circulation. Gaggiotti’s career was distinguished not so much by appearances in opera but rather a preference for the many other musical genres of the times: sacred works (masses, psalms and motets), chamber cantatas, oratorios, introductions to ballets and equestrian tournaments. On these occasions the singer was hosted in settings of sheer magnificence: the Viennese court of Leopold I of Hapsburg, the court of Francesco II Duke of Este in Modena and the renowned music cappella in San Petronio in Bologna, among the many. He led an adventurous life, abandoning his religious vows of the Padri Filippini in order to pursue success as an artist and commanding lavish fees. In his last years however he returned to the consecrated life and died in exemplary devotion. The singer’s artistic figure is explored here in music that was composed specifically for him, as is testified in extant documents or highly probable. Together with his exceptional singing technique, the program features rarely heard and unpublished music by composers who in their time were idolized for their technical skills and expressive powers but who today are more known by name than through their music: Cazzati, Colonna, Cossoni, Draghi, Ferrari, Franceschini, Gabrielli, Perti and Stradella.