Guadagni, Gaetano

About 1725-1785

Italian male contralto; first heard of in Parma, at about twenty-two years of age. The next year he came to London, where Handel noticed his voice, and assigned him parts in the Messiah and Samson. He left London about 1753, singing the next year in Paris, Versailles, and Lisbon, where he sang under Gizziello, and had a narrow escape from the earthquake of 1755. He accompanied Gizziello into retirement after the upheaval, and owed much to the older singer's painstaking instruction and warm interest, as well as to the actor, Garrick, who had previously proved his friend, and from whom he had received many valuable ideas. On leaving Portugal he sang in all the foremost theatres of Italy with great success. He is said to have been a superior actor, handsome and elegant in person, and refined in his style of singing, although his voice was said by critics to be inferior in quality, and to depend more on clever management than intrinsic beauty for the effects produced.