Bianchi, Francesco


Italian opera composer and teacher. Born at Cremona. Little seems to be known of his life up to his twenty-third year, when he was appointed orchestra conductor to the Italian Opera in Paris, in 1775. Here he composed his first operas, La Reduction de Paris and Le Mort Marie. In 1783 he went to Milan as assistant conductor at St. Ambrogio, and in 1785 to Venice as second organist at St. Mark's. About 1793, Bianchi was called to London, where he was connected for seven years with the King's Theatre. He was engaged in teaching during the last ten years of his life and died by suicide at Hammersmith in 1810. Sir Henry Bishop was one of his famous pupils. Bianchi wrote the opera, Castore e Polluce for the debut of Storace, the English singer, and Inez de Castro for the first appearance of Mrs. Billington. His opera Semiramide was also chosen, by the famous singer Banti, for her debut in England. Merope is considered Bianchi's best work, though the Disertore Francese was perhaps the most popular. He wrote in all nearly fifty operas, beside oratorios and instrumental music.