Feo, Francesco


An Italian composer; born in Naples at the end of the Seventeenth Century, about 1699 according to some authorities, in 1685 according to others. Feo has a high reputation as a composer of the most brilliant school of Italy, that of Naples, and is generally regarded as a master. He studied in his native city with Gizzi, whom he succeeded in 1740 as teacher at the Naples Conservatory della Pieta, and later was a pupil of Pitoni at the Vatican. From 1740 he was director of the singing school at Naples, where he educated many famous pupils, among them the great Jommelli. To this school many singers famous for their beautiful voices flocked from all parts of Europe, and it spread the reputation of its founder throughout the Continent. Feo wrote several operas, among them Ipermes tra Arianna; and Andromaque and Arsace, from which Gluck is said to have borrowed a motive for his overture to Iphigenia. Feo also wrote oratorios and much church music. His first opera, L'Amer tirranico, ossia Zenobia, was given in Naples in 1713 and was followed by five others, all written between that time and 1731. Feo also wrote three intermezzos and several masses. His masses, motets and other pieces of music for the church are still highly thought of by musicians. The date of Feo's death is unknown.