Giuseppe Sellitto (1700-1777)
Drusilla e Don Strabone - Two Voices Intermezzos
It is regrettable that this composer, once famous in Naples and in many European cities, is today unjustly forgotten and unknown. Having trained at the conservatory of Santa Maria di Loreto, Giuseppe Sellitto began his career as a composer at the age of 25 with the opera Amor d’un ombra e gelosia d’un aura (libretto by C.S. Capeci), which was performed in the spring of 1725 at the Teatro Nuovo. He was active primarily in Naples as the author of comic operas and intermezzos (La franchezza delle donne, Il Finto pazzo per amore, I due baroni, Le innocenti gelosie) but he also wrote serious operas on librettos by Zeno and Pariati (Sesostri, Nitocri), Metastasio (Siface), Saddumene and Salvi, works which were performed in Venice Florence, Bologna and elsewhere. In the chronicles of Neapolitan spectacles, his name appears alongside those of Pergolesi and Hasse–“the ancient and approved” musicians admired by the king–as well as “some of the good youths who were in Naples and had given a sample of their worth…” such as Logroscino e Manna. Paris also attracted Sellitto: he traveled there in 1752 in the theatrical company of Eustachio Bambini in order to oversee the performance of one of his intermezzos, Il Cinese rimpatriato, a work which had perhaps already served as an intermezzo to some operas in Italy. Here it was staged by the Académie Royale, together with other works by Pergolesi (La Serva Padrona), Orlandini, Latilla, Cocchi, Da Capua, Leo, and Jommelli (this company of the Buffons would go on to unleash a celebrated Querelle…)Returning to Naples in 1760, Sellitto became the organist at San Giacomo degli Spagnuoli.