Visetti, Albert Anthony

1846-

 

Born in Salona, Italy. His mother was English and his father was an Italian, owning large tracts of land in Dalmatia, and at the time of his son's birth was engaged in supervising the excavation of Diocletian's palace in Salona. Visetti's early education was gained in a monastery near his father's castle. Though he had no particular training in music at that time, the monks recognized his talent and he played at the organ and sang very sweetly. His mother was the only one who took an interest in his musical gifts and aspirations, and he was obliged to stifle his own inclinations and follow his father's wishes in attending the medical school at Padua University in order to become a surgeon; but he was too sensitive to continue this course and his father finally consented to his undertakinga musical career. After gaming scholarships from both the Austrian and Italian governments, he entered the Milan Conservatory and studied under Mazzucato and Nava. While at the Conservatory he made the acquaintance of Verdi. His first appointment was that of conductor at Nice, where he gave a series of concerts and gained a reputation as pianist. Going to Paris, he assisted Auber at the Emperor's private chapel in the Tuileries and was introduced by him to the court of Napoleon III., from whom he received much kindness. While he was in Paris the elder Dumas prepared a libretto for him from his famous work, Les Trois Mousquetaires, and Visetti worked hard upon it, but it was destroyed when his house was burned during the siege of the Commune. Disgusted with Paris, he went to England in 1870, for a few days' visit, and has practically lived there ever since, having been a naturalized British subject for the last thirty years. He was musical adviser to Adelina Patti for five years, writing especially for her, La Diva, which has become world famous. He was associated with Sir Arthur Sullivan, Sir Joseph Barnby, and many other great musicians, and has produced several of the leading singers of the day, including Madame Agnes Nicholls, a popular soprano; Madame Kirkby Lunn, and Miss Denise Orme. Visetti was the first to be appointed a professor of singing for the National Training School, now merged into the Royal College. He has also taught at the Guildhall School, the Watford School, and several other institutions. For several years he was director and conductor of the Bath Philharmonic Society, for which society he wrote two successful cantatas. In 1880 the King of Italy conferred on him the Order of the Corona d' Italia for his literary attainments. Visetti has published translations of Hullah's History of Modern Music, Dr. Hueffer's Musical Studies, and Life of Palestrina from the Italian into English; also an Essay on Musical Culture, and in 1905, a Life of Verdi. He devotes his spare time to lecturing and to contributing to musical publications, both foreign and English.