Page:A Dictionary of Music and Musicians vol 2.djvu/378

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366
MORLACCHI.
MORICHELLI.

Mme. Morichelli returned to Italy in 1794, and soon after retired from the stage.

[ J. M. ]

MORIGI, Andrea, an excellent basso, who made his first appearance in London on December 9, 1766, in the character of Taglfaferro, the German soldier in the 'Buona Figliuola,' a part which he performed most admirably. He must then have been a rather young man, for he held the position of first buffo caricato for many years, to the delight of London audiences. He had, however, been a member of the original caste of the 'Buona Figliuola,' with Lovattini, Savoi, and la Guadagni, in 1760, at Rome, which was probably his début. He was brought to London by Gordon, with the singers just mentioned, in the autumn of 1766. After that, he continued to appear in all the comic operas, such as 'I Viaggiatori ridicoli,' 'Vicende della sorte,' 'Pazzie d'Orlando,' 'La Schiava,' 'Il Carnovale,' 'Viaggiatori Felici,' and 'Il Convito,' down to the 'Rè Teodoro,' 'Schiavi per amore,' and 'Cameriera astuta,' in 1787 and 1788,—a long career, followed, indeed, as Lord Mount-Edgcumbe says, until Morigi had lost every note of his voice.

In the autumn of 1782 an unsuccessful début was made by Morigi's daughter in the part of prima donna in 'Medonte.' She tried her luck again in 'L'Olimpiade,' but was no more successful than before.

Andrea Morigi must not he confused, as he has been by Fétis, with the following.

[ J. M. ]

MORIGI, Pietro, born in the Romagna about 1705, studied singing in the school of Pistocchi at Bologna, and became one of the best sopranists of his time. His voice is said to have had some higher notes in its register than any other of that kind in the beginning of the eighteenth century. Having appeared with success in most of the Italian cities, and particularly at Rome, he was engaged in 1734 at St. Petersburg, where he made a great impression.

[ J. M. ]

MORLACCHI, Francesco, composer; born at Perugia, June 14, 1784. He learnt the violin at seven years old from his father. At twelve was placed under Caruso, Maestro of the cathedral of Perugia, who taught him singing, the clavier, and thorough-bass, while he learned the organ from Mazetti, his maternal great-uncle. At thirteen he had already composed much, and during his years of boyhood wrote several pieces for the church, among which a short oratorio, 'Gli angeli al sepolcro,' attracted the attention of many amateurs, and among them, of his godfather, Count Pietro Baglioni, who sent him to study counterpoint with Zingarelli, at j Loreto. But the severe conventional teaching of Zingarelli clashed with the aspirations of his young, impatient mind, and after a year and a half he returned to Perugia. Conscious, however, that he had still a great deal to learn, he went to Bologna, to complete his studies under Padre Mattei. [See Mattei.] Here he devoted much attention to ecclesiastical music, besides making a special study of the orchestra, and acquiring a practical knowledge of all the chief instruments. During this time of studentship he was commissioned to write a cantata for the coronation of Napoleon as King of Italy, at Milan, in 1805. In February, 1807, a musical farce called 'Il Poeta in Campagna,' was performed at the Pergola theatre in Florence, and, later in this year, a Miserere for 16 voices having won golden opinions, the composer was invited to visit Verona, where he produced his first buffo opera, 'Il Ritratto.' He achieved his first popular success with the melodrama, 'Il Corradino,' at Parma, in 1808. This was followed by 'Enone e Paride,' 'Oreste,' 'Rinaldo d'Asti,' 'La Principessa per ripiego,' 'Il Simoncino,' and 'Le Avventure d'una Giornata,' besides a grand Mass. But all these were surpassed by 'Le Danaide,' written for the Argentino theatre at Rome, in 1810. This work was immensely successful, and once for all established its composer's fame. Through the influence of Count Marcolini, Minister to the Court of Saxony, Morlacchi was now appointed chapel-master of the Italian opera at Dresden, at first for a year, subsequently for life, with a large salary, besides a considerable honorarium for every new opera he might compose, and leave of absence for some months of each year, with liberty to write what he pleased, where he pleased. This appointment he held till his death. The Italian style had long reigned supreme in the Dresden fashionable world, and Morlacchi at once became 'the rage.' His music partook of the styles of Paer and Mayer; it was melodious and pleasing, but very slight in character. He now acquainted himself to some extent with the works of the great German masters, a study which had a happy effect on him, as it led him insensibly to add a little more solidity to his somewhat threadbare harmonies. His earliest compositions at Dresden were, a Grand Mass for the royal chapel, the operas 'Raoul de Créqui,' [App. p.719 "1811"] and 'La Cappriciosa pentita,' [App. p.719 "1813"] and an Oratorio of the 'Passion' (book by Metastasio), [App. p.719 "1812"] extravagantly admired by contemporary enthusiasts.

In 1813, Dresden became the military centre of operations of the allied armies, and the King, Friedrich August, Napoleon's faithful ally, was a prisoner. During this time, Morlacchi kept at a wise distance from public affairs, and bewailed the fate of his patron in retirement. He was, however, roughly aroused by a sudden order from Baron Rozen, Russian Minister of Police, to write a cantata for the Emperor of Russia's birthday. The task was, of course, uncongenial to the composer, and as only two days were available for it, he declined to comply, alleging in excuse that the time allowed was insufficient. By way of answer it was notified to him that his choice lay between obeying and being sent to Siberia. Thus pressed he set to work, and in forty-eight hours the cantata was ready. Not long after this the Russian government having decreed the abolition of the Dresden chapel, Morlacchi obtained an audience of the Czar, at Frankfort, when, in consequence of his representations and entreaties, the decree was reversed.

To celebrate the return of the Saxon king to his capital in 1814, Morlacchi wrote another