Anfossi, Pasquale

About 1736-1797

Italian operatic composer, very prolific but wanting in true creative power. The author of over forty operas, four masses, seven oratorios, and other church music. He was born near Naples, about 1736. After beginning the study of the violin he turned his attention to composition, studying harmony with Piccinni, who at this time was enjoying his greatest fame. Anfossi's first operas met with indifferent success, but the opera L'Incognita Perseguitata, produced in Rome in 1773, brought him both fame and fortune. The success was due, not altogether to its merits, but rather to the plottings and support of a group arrayed against Piccinni, to whom Anfossi had now turned traitor. His day in Rome, however, was not a long one. He left Italy, and brought out his operas in London, Paris, Berlin, Dresden and Prague. In later life he returned to Rome, and from 1792 to the time of his death, held the post of chapelmaster at the Lateran. During this period, he turned his attention to sacred compositions.