Ariosti, Attilio

An operatic composer of the latten part of the Seventeenth and the early Eighteenth Century. Facts regarding his first and last days are wanting. Biographers do not know the exact date of his birth or death, but it is thought he was born about 1660, at Bologna. A Dominican friar, he was allowed by papal dispensation to give up his ecclesiastical profession to devote himself to music, of which he had ever been an ardent student. In 1686 his opera, Dafne, was produced at Venice, and was so successful that he was encouraged to write thenceforth for the stage, though there are also cantatas and two oratorios of his authorship. In 1690, he was appointed to an important musical post in the service of the Electress of Brandenburg, and from 1690 to 1705 was composer and conductor at the Court Theatre in Berlin. In 1715 he relinquished his place, under the Electress, to accept an offer from London, the post of manager of the Italian Opera. Meantime, he had brought out works in various Italian towns and in Vienna. His opera, Nabucodonosor, was produced in Vienna in 1706, and his Passion Oratorio given there in 1709. At his first London appearance Ariosti played a solo on the viola d'amore at the presentation of Handel's Amadis. He was associated with Handel and Bononcini in the writing of an opera, Muzzio Scevola, each composer writing one act % The three composers also entered into a contract with the directors to write a series of operas, each writing one in turn, an arrangement that was amicably carried out for several years, but was finally terminated in 1727, by the overshadowing genius of Handel. The following year Ariosti left England, and of his subsequent history nothing is known. He was the author of fourteen operas.