Catholic Encyclopedia (1913)/Niccolò Antonio Zingarelli

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Catholic Encyclopedia (1913), Volume 15
Niccolò Antonio Zingarelli

by William Henry Grattan Flood


Composer, born at Naples, 4 April, 1752; died at Torre del Greco, 5 May, 1837. Having studied at the Loreto Conservatory under Fenaroli and Speranza, his first opera, "Montesuma", was given at San Carlo, 13 August, 1781. He then went to Milan, where he remained until 1794, when he took up the post of maestro di cappella at Santa Casa, Loreto (1794-1804), after which he succeeded Gugliemi as choir master of the Sistine Chapel in Rome. For refusing to conduct a "Te Deum" for Napoleon in St. Peter's, Rome, in 1811, he was taken a prisoner to Paris, but released soon after; and in 1816 he replaced Paisiello as choir master of Naples cathedral, a position he held until death. Whether as a composer of operas or of sacred music Zingarelli holds a high place, but, being a deeply religious Catholic, he devoted most of his attention to masses, oratorios, cantatas, and motets. For Loreto he composed 541 works, including 28 masses. In 1829 he wrote a cantata for the Birmingham Festival. Less than a month before his death he produced an oratorio, "The Flight into Egypt", a wonderful feat for a man of eighty-five. Of his operas "Giulietta e Romeo" (1796) is regarded as his best; and his requiem mass, composed for his own funeral, is said to embody his most devotioned church style. Bellini and Mercadante were among his pupils.

W. H. Grattan-Flood.