Duni, Egidio Romoaldo

1709-1775

An Italian composer, who was the real founder of the opera comique in France. He was born at Matera, near Naples, and was musician to the Duke of Parma's daughter in 1755 and settled in Paris two years later. While at Parma he composed many operettas, all of which were well received. For a time he occupied the position of choirmaster at St. Nicolo di Bari, at Naples, and studied at the University of Leyden, Holland. While returning from Holland to Naples he was attacked by. brigands, and the injuries he sustained at their hands made him a permanent invalid. Says Grove: "Duni delighted the public with eighteen pieces, full of gayety and tunefulness. These are his only characteristics. His orchestration is poor, he is often weak in dramatic expression, but always charming and melodious." His music has now been completely forgotten and is never heard. Among his operas were Nerone, which was his first, and a great success, and which he wrote in competition with Pergolesi; Artaserse, written for San Carlo at Naples; Bajazet; Giro; and others. His other works included Myra, a cantata for full chorus and orchestra; church services and anthems; glees; songs and arias.