Vinci, Leonardo



Italian dramatic composer; born at Strongoli, in Calabria. He received his musical education at the Conservatorio de' Poveri, in Naples, under Gaetano Greco, where he was a fellow-student of Porpora and Pergolesi. News of his ability soon spread through Italy, and he had great success in Rome and Naples as well as Vienna, where he had been engaged to compose. He wrote twenty-six operas, of which the best are Ifigenia en Tauride, Astianatte, Didone Abbandonata, Alessandro nell' Indie, and Artaserse. In 1728 he joined the Fraternita del Rosario at Formiello, for which he composed two oratorios, a kyrie, two masses and some motets. He was also maestro at the Royal Chapel, Naples. He died in Naples, supposedly poisoned by the relative of a lady of high rank with whom he had a liaison. His operas are characteristic for their direct simplicity and emotion. He perfected the recitative and was the first composer to effect any great change in the musical drama after the invention of recitative. A collection of his airs was published by Walsh, of London, and became very popular, especially the air, Vo solcando from Artaserse.