Senesino, Francesco Bernardi detto



Male soprano singer; born at Siena, Italy Studied with Bernacchi, singing for the first time about 1719 in Dresden. The following year he was engaged by Handel at a large salary to sing at the London Opera, where he appeared in Buononcini's Astarto with striking success. He afterward sang in other operas by the same composer until 1726, when he returned to Italy. Senesino reappeared in London in 1727 under Handel's direction, singing in Esther, Handel's oratorio, and also appearing at Lincoln's Inn Fields with the opera -company, managed by Porpora in opposition to Handel. Senesino retired in 1735 and died in Siena, his native place, a few years later. He was majestic and imposing in appearance, with a clear, powerful and wonderfully flexible voice. He was the leading singer of his day, a graceful actor, and, in the delivery of recitative, had no equal in Europe.