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Florian Leopold Gassmann

Gassmann portrait
Fact file
Year of birth1729
Year of death1774
NationalityCzech Republic
PeriodBaroque
Biography

Like many musicians who achieved fame and fortune in eighteenth-century Vienna, Florian Leopold Gassmann was of Bohemian origin. Little is known about his early years.It seems that Gassmann ran away and after a period spent living precariously in Karlsbad made his way south to Italy, where he may have studied with the celebrated theorist Padre Martini. By 1757 Gassmann was well enough established as a composer to secure a commission to compose an opera, Merope, which was produced for the carnival season at the Teatro S. Moisè in Venice. The work was well received and he was invited to compose a new opera annually for the next five years. Although he was initially engaged to compose ballet music, Gassmann also undertook to compose operas for the Viennese theatre. Although Gassmann is thought of primarily as a composer of operas and perhaps to a lesser extent of church music, he also composed in other genres including chamber music. Gassmann’s appointment as Hofkapellmeister in March 1772 marked the summit of his professional career. He owed his appointment in part to his reputation as a composer but also perhaps to his recent initiative in founding the Tonkünstler-Societät for one of whose first public performances (19 March 1772) he composed the oratorio La Betulia liberata.

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The pleasure of parody: delightful Opera seria

Opera seria cast © Scott Suchman for Wolf Trap Opera
2016 Filene Young Artists give outstanding performance in Gassmann's Opera Seria.
*****
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Gassmann's comedy L'Opera Seria in Brussels

Alex Penda (Stonatrilla) and Robin Johannsen (Smorfiosa) © Clärchen & Matthias Baus
An opera that pokes fun at opera seria? An opera that features backstage preparations for a show, followed by an opera within an opera? No, it’s not Strauss' Ariadne auf Naxos
****1
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Auf Vogelfang in der Kammeroper

M. Dvorak (un uccello), T. Greenhalgh (Cecco), J. Hernao Gonzalez (Toniolo) und C. Seidl (Pierotto) © Herwig Prammer | Theater an der Wien
Florian Leopold Gassmanns heitere Verwechslungskomödie bietet die volle Palette an Intrigen und Liebeswirrungen; dargeboten von einem tollen jungen Ensemble und einem spritzigen Orchester, das barocke Lebensfreude verbreitet.
****1
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