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Elogio del Jommelli


Saverio Mattei (1742-1795) had a multifaceted personality. Born in Calabria but educated in Naples, he devoted himself to law and held important administrative positions. At the same time, he cultivated numerous cultural interests with inexhaustible enthusiasm: he was a translator of biblical psalms, a theorist of classical and modern dramaturgy, an author and reviser of librettos, a correspondent of Pietro Metastasio and the founder of the music library of the Conservatorio della Pietà de’ Turchini. His "Elogio del Jommelli o sia Il progresso della poesia e della musica teatrale" was printed for the first time in 1784 and published again one year later with a few but interesting variants. The text is not only a detailed biography of one of the most important eighteenth-century Italian composers, but also a short history of opera and a miniscule treatise on music aesthetics. Thanks to his refined taste, Mattei takes the reader through a vast gallery of generous patrons, music-loving ladies, accomplished poets, talented composers and singers capable of astonishing and moving. The critical edition is based on the first version of the text and is accompanied by the registration of all the variants of the second. An extensive introduction highlights the modernity and originality of the author’s perspective, while an in-depth commentary revelas the breadth of his literary and musical sources.