Antonio Bagioli

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Giuseppe Antonio Bagioli
Born November 17, 1795
Bologna, Italy
Died February 11, 1871
New York City, New York
Occupation music teacher, author, composer, conductor
Spouse(s) Maria Cooke
Children Teresa Bagioli Sickles
Parents Mauro Bagioli, father
Mother unknown

Giuseppe Antonio Bagioli (or just Antonio Bagioli)[1] (1795–1871) of Bologna, Italy and New York City, New York was a successful composer, music teacher and author, and the father of Teresa Bagioli Sickles, wife of Dan Sickles, central figures in a notorious murder trial in 1859.

He is sometimes confused with Antonio Bagioli (1783–1855) (son of Luigi), a cousin.[2]

Early years[edit]

Giuseppe Antonio Bagioli was born in Bologna, Italy, the son of Mauro Bagioli and of Puglioli Teresa (source:Anagrafe Napoleonica-Archivio di Stato, Cesena, Italy), on November 17, 1795. His mother's family was from Bologna and his father's family was from the nearby town of Cesena, where they had been established for generations. He studied in Bologna under Padre Mattei, and then entered the conservatory of Naples where he studied for several years under Zingarelli.[3] He composed melodramas that represented Cesena (1815), Naples (1824) and Bologna (1826 and others), leading to a certain fame in his native land of Italy.

Coming to America[edit]

In 1832 Bagioli was appointed "gran maestro" (or conductor, or musical director) of the Italian opera company of Giacomo Montresor, a French tenor.[4] This company was the first (or second[5]) Italian opera company to ever visit the United States, and traveled to New York with the company.[3] There, Bagioli called on Lorenzo Da Ponte, the noted music teacher, who had worked as Mozart's librettist on such works as The Marriage of Figaro, and who held the chair of Italian Literature at Columbia College (later Columbia University). Da Ponte's son, also named Lorenzo, and sometimes called Lorenzo the Younger, was a professor at New York University.[6] There Bagioli met Maria (or Eliza)[7] Cooke (1819–1894), who was the adopted and alleged "natural"[8] child of Lorenzo Da Ponte, who would have been about 70 when he fathered her. Maria was from Croton Falls, in Westchester County, New York.[6]

After a critically successful (but perhaps not financially successful[9]) season the opera troupe went to Havana, Cuba, but Bagioli stayed in New York City, having apparently fallen in love with Maria, then still an adolescent and Da Ponte's ward. While courting Maria Cooke, Bagioli composed the score for Da Ponte's Hymn to America, with which he would later always open and close concerts.[6] Sources place their marriage at about 1834. At about this time, Baglioli moved into the Da Ponte household and began to establish himself as a voice instructor. Their daughter, Teresa was born in 1836, when Maria was 17. During the rest of the 1830s, Bagioli's popularity and influence as a conductor and composer, as well as a voice instructor, was on the increase. His American students became well known performers, and Bagioli has been credited by some with spreading the popularity of Italian song and opera throughout America. He continued to work as an orchestral conductor as well.[6]

Famous son-in-law[edit]

In 1839 the Da Ponte household grew larger by the addition of Daniel Sickles(b 1819), a future Union general, who, at the behest of his parents George Garret Sickles and Susan Marsh Sickles, (who felt him to be " sufficiently unsettled and in need of special tutoring"[6]), and owing in part to his friendship with Lorenzo the Younger a New York University professor, moved into the house on Spring Street, ostensibly to study foreign languages. While boarding, Sickles made the acquaintance of Maria, the same age as he, and her daughter Teresa, who was 3 at the time. Later, as Sickles rose in prominence, rumours persistently circulated that Sickles had seduced Maria Cooke Bagioli.[6] Whether that was true or not, Sickles did become friends with the family as part of his boarding experience, and was involved in the upbringing of Teresa, although he left after about a year when his mentor suddenly died. Sickles however maintained close ties with the family, possibly to continue the study of French and Italian.[10]

Though Sickles possibly had known Teresa since her infancy, he made her acquaintance again in 1851, this time as an Assemblyman (and part of the Tammany Hall Democratic machine). He was thirty-three years old, she was fifteen. Sickles was quite taken with Teresa and soon proposed marriage. Despite his prominence and long connection to the family, the Bagiolis refused to consent to the marriage. Undeterred, the couple wed on September 17, 1852, in a civil ceremony. Teresa's family then relented and the couple married again, this time with John Hughes, Catholic Archbishop of New York City, presiding. Some seven months later, in 1853, their only child, Laura Buchanan Sickles, was born.[11]

American Standard, a work composed by Bagioli, (George Morris, librettist) published in 1864


Bagioli produced numerous musical compositions, including a collection of studies/songs for instruction "One Hour of Daily Study for the Acquirement of a Correct Pronunciation of the Vowels, which is the only Method to become a Perfect Vocalist" [3][12]

Some contemporary accounts ascribed considerable influence to Bagioli. George Templeton Strong reported that Bagioli's "local importance as a teacher of singing was equated with that of the Paris Conservatoire in Europe" by some.[13] However, some of his students, although subjects of considerable interest, did not have further success.[13]


Bagioli died in New York City on February 11, 1871. Only one of his early works has survived in complete form in his native land today, preserved at the Library Malatestiana di Cesena. This is attributed to his later career being far from Cesena, and thus his American works, although numerous, were unknown in his home country.


  1. ^ sources differ, but most US sources omit the Giuseppe
  2. ^ this assertion is from the Italian Wikipedia article: Antonio_Bagioli_(1795-1871)
  3. ^ a b c PD-icon.svg James Grant Wilson, John Fiske (1888). "Bagioli article". In Wilson, James Grant; Fiske, John. Appletons' Cyclopædia of American Biography. New York: D. Appleton. 
  4. ^ From: Joan Acocella (2007-01-08). "NIGHTS AT THE OPERA - The life of the man who put words to Mozart". New Yorker Magazine website. Retrieved January 21, 2007. , a review of books about Da Ponte
  5. ^ Sources differ, Appleton's Cyclopædia has it as the first, while the New Yorker article says there was an earlier one headed by Manuel Garcia in 1825
  6. ^ a b c d e f Thomas Keneally. "American Scoundrel - The Life of the Notorious Civil War General Dan Sickles". Excerpt from Random House site, also available at Powells and elsewhere. Retrieved January 20, 2007. 
  7. ^ sources differ but Maria is predominant, see American Scoundrel for example
  8. ^ A 19th century term for illegitimate
  9. ^ the New Yorker article said: Whatever its artistic success, the Montresor season was a disaster financially.
  10. ^ from United States government. "Daniel Edgar Sickles Major General, United States Army". Arlington Cemetery National Website. Retrieved January 20, 2007. : "His ambition to fit himself for the diplomatic service had led him to take up the study of French and Italian, and in this way he met Therese Bagioli, daughter of an Italian music teacher." (other sources say he knew her since infancy)
  11. ^ note that James Buchanan, later 15th president of the United States, was "minister to the court of St James" or ambassador to Great Britain, from 1853 to 1856 and Daniel Sickles was Buchanan's secretary there until 1855.
  12. ^ (New York. 1864)
  13. ^ a b Vera Brodsky Lawrence, George Templeton Strong. "Strong on Music: The New York Music Scene in the Days of George Templeton Strong, p.208". Google Books. Retrieved August 12, 2007. 

PD-icon.svg This article incorporates text from a publication now in the public domainJames Grant Wilson, John Fiske (1888). "Bagioli article". In Wilson, James Grant; Fiske, John. Appletons' Cyclopædia of American Biography. New York: D. Appleton.