Saturday, 9 July 2016


“Without a song, each day would be a century.” - Mahalia Jackson

Riccardo Broschi (c. 1698 – 1756) was a composer of baroque music and the brother of the opera singer Carlo Broschi, known as Farinelli. Broschi was born in Naples, the son of Salvatore Broschi, a composer and chapelmaster of the Cathedral of the Puglinese citizens, and Caterina Berrese (according to the Book of Baptisms of the Church of S. Nicola, today near the Episcopal Archives).

The Broschi family moved to Naples at the end of 1711, and enrolled Riccardo, their firstborn, in the Conservatory of S. Maria di Loreto, where he would study to become a composer under G. Perugino and F. Mancinipresso. Salvatore, meanwhile, died unexpectedly, at age 36, on 4 November 1717. Caterina subsequently made Riccardo head of the family.

He made his debut in 1725 with “La Vecchia Sorda”. Next, he moved to London in 1726 and stayed there until 1734 and wrote six heroic operas, his most successful being “Artaserse”. In 1737 he moved to Stuttgart and briefly served at the Stuttgart court (1736-7) for Charles Alexander, Duke of Württemberg, then returned to Naples before joining his brother in Madrid in 1739. He died in Madrid.

The dramatic relationship between the Broschi brothers is the quintessence of the 1994 movie “Farinelli”, in which a few of Riccardo Broschi’s works are performed.

Here is “Ombra Fedele Anch’ Io”, an aria from his opera “Idaspe” (1730) sung by Ann Hallenberg (mezzo-soprano), live from the Wigmore Hall, London with Les Talens Lyriques conducted by Christophe Rousset. This was a radio broadcast of the live concert on 28th April 2014.

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