Venanzio Rauzzini

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to: navigation, search
Venanzio Rauzzini.
Stipple engraving by Robert Hancock.

Venanzio Rauzzini (19 December 1746 – 8 April 1810)[1] was an Italian castrato, composer, pianist, singing teacher and concert impresario. As a boy he was a member of the Sistine Chapel Choir and Molly Sands writes that his fellow choristers included Domenico Corri and Muzio Clementi.[2] He also studied with Giuseppe Santarelli in Rome and Nicola Porpora in Naples.[3]


Portrait of Venanzio Rauzzini with his dog Turk. At the Herschel Museum of Astronomy.

Rauzzini was born at Camerino. He made his professional opera debut in 1765 at the Teatro Valle in Rome portraying one of the female characters in Niccolò Piccinni's opera Il finto astrologo.[4] He sang at the Teatro San Samuele in Venice in 1766, after which he performed at the Münich Hofoper in 1766-1767.[3] Rauzzini had to leave the Munich court because of his many affairs with married women.[5] He next sang at the court at Vienna in 1767 where Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart "reacted with delight when he heard Rauzzini singing and offered him the role of primo uomo in his Lucio Silla (1772), in Milan, before composing the motet Exsultate Jubilate (1773) especially for him."[6]

Rauzzini returned for performances in Venice and Munich during the early 1770s and also had a very successful run in London, England[7] from 1774 until his retirement from the stage in 1778.[8] After his opera career ended he worked as a singing and piano teacher and also composed a number of operas.[3] After a living in London for some years he settled in Bath in 1780 and became Director of the New Assembly Room Concerts in 1781.[9] Joseph Haydn stayed with him in 1794 and composed the canon 'Turk was a Faithful Dog' as a gift for his host, taking the words from the garden memorial to Rauzzini's favourite dog.[10] Some of Rauzzini's more notable pupils included Stephen Storace, Nancy Storace, Michael Kelly, John Braham[11] Rosemond Mountain,[12] and Maria Dickons.[13] Rauzzini directed and financed concert life in Bath from c. 1781 until his death in 1810: many of his pupils appeared in the subscription concerts that he organised each year.[14] Before dying he published vocal exercises and a treatise on his ideas on singing.[15] Venanzio Rauzzini is buried in Bath Abbey where there is a memorial erected to him by his pupils Anna Selina Storace and John Braham.[10]

His brother, Matteo (1754-1791), was also a composer and a teacher of singing.[16]

Opera compositions[edit]


  1. ^ Kathleen Kuzmick Hansell, Oxford Music Online
  2. ^ Sands, "Venanzio Rauzzini, Singer, Composer, Traveller,: 15.
  3. ^ a b c Rauzzini Biography of Venanzio Rauzzini at (in German)
  4. ^ Barbier, p. 88
  5. ^ Barbier, pp. 138-139
  6. ^ Barbier, p. 179
  7. ^ Barbier, p. 185
  8. ^ Barbier, p. 210
  9. ^ Sands, Mollie (March 1953). "Rauzzini at Bath". Musical Times 94 (1321): 108–111. 
  10. ^ a b Baldwin, Olive. "Rauzzini, Venanzio (1746–1810)". Oxford Dictionary of National Biography. Oxford University Press. Retrieved 27 November 2012. 
  11. ^ Emerson (2005, 101)
  12. ^ The Silencing of Bel Canto, Brianna E Robertson-Kirkland, University of Glasgow, page 4, retrieved 4 February 2015
  13. ^ W. B. Squire, ‘Dickons , Martha Frances Caroline (c.1774–1833)’, rev. John Rosselli, Oxford Dictionary of National Biography, Oxford University Press, 2004 accessed 21 Dec 2014
  14. ^ Brown, Mark (12 April 2010). "Bath celebrates the life of the bedhopping singing star of the 1700s". The Guardian (London). Retrieved 27 November 2012. 
  15. ^ Hansell, ibid.
  16. ^ Baldwin and Wilson.


  • Baldwin, Olive and Wilson, Thelma: "Rauzzini, Venanzio (1746-1810)," Oxford Dictionary of National Biography, Oxford University Press, 2004 (site accessible via subscription), (accessed 17 July 2013).
  • P. Barbier (1989). The World of the Castrati: The History of an Extraordinary Operatic Phenomenon transl. M. Crosland, Souvenir Press
  • Emerson, Isabelle Putnam (2005) Five Centuries of Women Singers. Greenwood Publishing Group.
  • Rice, Paul F. (2015) Venanzio Rauzzini in Britain: Castrato, Composer and Cultural Leader. Rochester, NY: University of Rochester Press.