Astorga, Emanuele, Baron d'


Son of a Sicilian nobleman, who was beheaded for political reasons. His mother died at the same time from the shock of her husband's execution, and the boy was placed in the Convent of Astorga in Spain, by the Princess Orsini, maid of honor to the wife of Philip V. Here he completed his musical education which had been begun, probably under Scarlatti. When he left the convent he was given the title of Baron d'Astorga, through his patroness, and was sent on a diplomatic mission to the Court of Parma in 1704. Here he became involved in a love affair with the niece of the Duke of Parma and to break it off was sent by the Duke to Vienna in 1705. After this for years he led a life of travel and adventure, visiting England, Italy, Spain and Portugal and finally going to Bohemia where he died. Astorga's most important compositions are his great Stabat Mater for four voices; an opera, Dafni; and nearly one hundred beautiful cantatas.