Porpora, Nicola Antonio

Born Naples 17th August, 1686

Died Naples 3rd March, 1768

A celebrated composer and singing teacher, Porpora's ability to set the Italian language to music was internationally acknowledged during his lifetime.

"…Porpora's Cantatas particularly the Recitatives, are still regarded in Italy as models of perfection for narrative Music… The Cantatas of Nicolo (sic) Porpora have been always much esteemed, on account of the excellence of their Recitatives, and the good taste and truly vocal style of the airs…"

He numbered among his students Metastasio, Farinelli, Caffarelli, Antonio Uberti (known as "Porporino"), Regina Mingotti and the composer Franz Joseph Haydn.

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Cantata à voce sola di soprano
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Cantata à voce sola con violini
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Cantata à voce sola di soprano
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Aria from Gli Orti Esperidi
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Cantata à voce sola di soprano
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Cantata à voce sola di soprano
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Cantata à voce sola di soprano
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Cantata à voce soprano con violini
£5.95
Cantata à voce sola di contralto
£4.95
Setting of Psalm 113/114
£7.95
Cantata à voce sola di soprano
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Cantata à voce sola di soprano
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Solo vespers motet
£8.95
Cantata à voce sola con violini
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Cantata à voce sola di soprano
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Cantata à voce sola di soprano
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Cantata à voce sola di soprano
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Cantata à voce sola di soprano
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Cantata à voce sola di contralto
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Lament from Arianna in Naxo.
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Cantata à voce sola di soprano
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Setting of Psalm 126/127
£8.95
Cantata à voce sola di soprano
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Cantata à voce sola di contralto
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Cantata à voce sola di soprano
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Cantata à voce sol di soprano
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Cantata à voce sola di soprano
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Cantata à voce sola di contralto
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Cantata à voce sola di contralto
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Cantata à voce sola di soprano
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Porpora: Fra le più folte piante
Forces: soprano & continuo

Source: BL Add MS 14210

In one of Porpora's more dramatically contrasting cantatas, the young lover is exhorted to deal with his rage by railing at the heavens, giving rise to a wonderful aria 'Contro me il Ciel spietato'. We find out it's a girl again in the next recitative and the cantata finishes with the young man promising to die for his love.

Range: e - a''

Editor: James Sanderson

Cantata à voce sola di soprano
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Porpora: Freme il mar
Forces: alto, violins & continuo

from an autograph manuscript in the British Library. Written in April 1720 (around the time of Porpora's first Roman successes) this is a very elegant piece in aria - recit - aria format dealing with poor old Fileno and his love for Nice.

Editor: James Sanderson

Cantata à voce sola con violini
£5.95
Porpora: Già la notte s'avvicina (La Pesca)
Forces: soprano & continuo

Cantata Op. 1, no. 6

Another of Metastasio's famous cantata texts - as night draws in the lover calls Nice to take in the air, compares her to Teti, Galatea, Glauce and Dori - nothing quite like love! Adagio - Recit - Allegretto, all beautiful.

Range: e' - a''

Editor: James Sanderson

Cantata à voce sola di soprano
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Porpora: Giusto amor tu che m'accendi
Forces: soprano/alto, obbligato cello & continuo

Adonis' (Farinelli) aria from Act 2, scene ii of the 'Dramma per Musica' Gli orti esperidi (Naples, Palazzo Reale 28th August 1721).

Source BL MS Add. 14118 (autograph).

Editor: James Sanderson

Aria from Gli Orti Esperidi
£4.95
Porpora: Idolo del mio core
Forces: soprano & continuo

Another from the Naples MS 34.6.25. Here our lover calls "Tell me where you are! Show me where the one I adore is gone!" 

In RARA format, with surprisingly brief recitatives, the second aria Largo has some delightful harmonic shifts. It is intersting to note that the continuo figures in this (only) copy are only written where the vocal part does not appear.

Editor: James Sanderson

Cantata à voce sola di soprano
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Porpora: Idolotrata e cinta
Forces: soprano & continuo

Source BL MS Add 14225

The protagonist laments the cruelty of unrequited love. The last aria is one of the finest examples of a 'bird song' aria that I have seen

Editor: James Sanderson

Cantata à voce sola di soprano
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Porpora: Il Narciso amo la Rosa
Forces: soprano & continuo

What could be clearer than this lovely flower simile? Narcissus loves Rose and Violet is dull! ARA format with very pretty arias.

Source: Münster Santini 859 (3)

Range: f - g'

Editor: James Sanderson

Cantata à voce sola di soprano
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Porpora: Il Vulcano
Forces: soprano, strings & continuo

A stunning, large work with some really impressive vocal writing, both in the recitatives and the 2 arias. Opening with a Sinfonia in two parts, Vulcan bemoans Venus and her inconstancy. Not, perhaps, an ideal wife for him after all! The first aria, Largo is expressive and virtuosic and the final aria is appropriately fiery.

Editor: James Sanderson

Cantata à voce soprano con violini
£5.95
Porpora: In Amor sarò costante
Forces: alto & continuo

A delightful and simple example of the genre. Sinuous vocal lines echoed in the basso and a fiery, syncopated second (final) aria. "In love I will be faithful..." ARA format.

Source: Naples Conservatorio

Editor: James Sanderson
Cantata à voce sola di contralto
£4.95
Porpora: In caelo stelle clare
Forces: soprano, strings & continuo

One of four solo motets for voice and strings written in 1744/45 for singers at the Ospedaletto in Venice. This virtuosic work is dedicated to Graziola, one of the main soloists Porpora composed for at the Ospedaletto.

Editor: James Sanderson

Solo motet
£6.95
Porpora: In Exitu Israel
Forces: 2 SAA coro, violins, violetta and continuo

Source: BL Add 14125

Charming homophonic treatment of Psalm 113 written in 1744 (Feb) at the Ospedaletto.

Editor: James Sanderson

Setting of Psalm 113/114
£7.95
Porpora: Io non amo altro che voi
Forces: soprano & continuo

Starting appropriately with an amoroso aria this is a beautiful ARA format work. It is an homage to the beauty and power of the eyes in love.

Source: Münster Santini HS 3313(15)

Range: d - g'

Editor: James Sanderson

Cantata à voce sola di soprano
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Porpora: La viola che languiva
Forces: soprano & continuo

source BL MS Add 14229

lovely pastoral image of a flower languishing on the banks of a river (and of course the shepherd lover)

Editor: James Sanderson

Cantata à voce sola di soprano
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Porpora: Laetatus Sum
Forces: soprano, SSAA coro, strings & continuo

Source BL Add 14126

Super motet (part of the Marian Vespers) written for the Ospedaletto in Venice in 1744

Editor: James Sanderson

Solo vespers motet
£8.95
Porpora: Lasciovi al fin grandezze (Il Ritiro)
Forces: soprano, strings & continuo

Retreat from Love! A substantial cantata for soprano and strings from a MS in the Naples Conservatorio. The copyist's work has been corrected and amended by Porpora himself and there is a wealth of articulation, figures and text adjustments to work from. A two-part sinfonia is followed by a secco recit, aria with strings, accompagnato recit and a final pastorale-style aria with strings.

Editor: James Sanderson

Cantata à voce sola con violini
£5.95
Porpora: Lontan dal solo e caro
Forces: soprano, oboe, strings & continuo

Aci's (Farinelli's) first aria in Act II, full of pathos and a beautiful line.

Accompagnato recit followed by moderato aria, the solo oboe in the aria both echoing and precursing the vocal line.

Editor: James Sanderson

Aria from Polifemo
£4.95
Porpora: Lontananza non risana
Forces: soprano & continuo

As with all lontananza cantatas, this is filled with yearning. "...the further my beloved is, the greater my sadness..." etc. A stunning, chromatic Siciliano opens the ARA format with a sprightly allegro to finish.

Source: Münster Santini HS 859 (10)
Range: c - g'
Editor: James Sanderson

Cantata à voce sola di soprano
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Porpora: Lucciolette andate à Fille
Forces: soprano & continuo

Source: BL MS Add 14214

This is an extremey enchanting cantata in aria-recit-aria form. The poor boy is totally in love but the beloved is having none of it. Retribution and hatred are the only alternatives. The opening matter of fact aria leads to an extraordinary recitative and final minuet.

Range: d - g'
Editor: James Sanderson

Cantata à voce sola di soprano
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Porpora: Lungi dal suo Fileno
Forces: soprano & continuo

Source BL MS Add 14225

Unrequited love in a complex harmonic world! The tale of Eurilla and Fileno told from the female point of view. First aria has operatic Adagio with fermate opening, reminiscent of many opening arias for the 'primo uomo' in Porpora's operas

Editor: James Sanderson

Cantata à voce sola di soprano
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Porpora: Mentre canta l'augelletto
Forces: soprano & continuo

Source BL MS Add 14214

The tale of love, Cupid's darts and a nightingale!
The chromaticism of the recit and second aria are something to be believed, as is the simplicity of the bird song alluded to in the first aria.

Editor: James Sanderson

Cantata à voce sola di soprano
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Porpora: Mentre doglioso un giorno
Forces: alto & continuo

Source BL MS ADD 14215

Virtuosic alto cantata with an outstanding cello part in the second aria. 2 recit and aria format.
Editor: James Sanderson

Cantata à voce sola di contralto
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Porpora: Misera, e che farò?
Forces: soprano, oboe, strings & continuo

Source: BL R.M. MS 22.m.30 (contemporary copy)

Arianna's beautiful lament in the centre of act II of Porpora's Arianna in Naxo. The role of Arianna was sung Sgra Cuzzoni at the premier in the Lincoln's Inn Fields theatre in December of 1733. Arianna has just had a 'scene' with both Antiope and Teseo and she's not a happy girl. The accompanied recit is dramatic and exciting, the aria virtuosic and beautiful.

Range: e - a''

Editor: James Sanderson
Lament from Arianna in Naxo.
£4.95
Porpora: Nel mio sonno almen (Il sogno)
Forces: soprano & continuo

Cantata Op. 1, no. 2

Text by Metastasio in which the lover dreams of his beloved taking away all sadness
Lento - Recit (spectacular) - Andantino

Range: e' - a''

Editor: James Sanderson

Cantata à voce sola di soprano
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Porpora: Nell' attendere il mio bene
Forces: soprano, 2 corni, 2 trombe, 2 oboè, strings & continuo

Aci's (Farinelli's) second Acti II aria and what a sing. This is certainly a 'stand and deliver' moment with the largest scoring in the whole opera.

Editor: James Sanderson

Aria from Polifemo
£4.95
Porpora: Ninfe e Pastor che al bel sebeto in riva
Forces: soprano & continuo

Source: BL Add MS 14210

The sad tale of the death of Tirsi and Fille's desire to die as well - after the aria of course! 2 recit and aria format, the last being virtuosic again.
Range: d - g''

Editor: James Sanderson

Cantata à voce sola di soprano
£4.95
Porpora: Nisi Dominus
Forces: alto, SSAA coro, strings & continuo

Source BL Add. 14126

Part of the 1744 vespers written for the Ospedaletto

Editor: James Sanderson

Setting of Psalm 126/127
£8.95
Porpora: Non hò vita hò viva morte
Forces: soprano & continuo

To be separated from the beloved is a fate worse than death. In ARA format, the first aria a 'pathetic' largo and the last, portraying the sailor on rough seas, a wonderful allegro

Source: Münster Santini HS 3313 (11)
Range: e - g'

Editor: James Sanderson

Cantata à voce sola di soprano
£4.95
Porpora: Non sò come resisto
Forces: alto & continuo

Main sources: BL Add 14214 100r 106v & Add MS 14210 81v - 88v

The lover deals with the loss of the beloved in this two recit and aria cantata. The first aria is very beautiful the second rather virtuosic for both singer and continuo cellist.
Range: c' - f''

Editor: James Sanderson

Cantata à voce sola di contralto
£4.95
Porpora: Nunc dimittis (1744)
Forces: 2 soprano solo, SSAA coro, strings & continuo

Source: BL Add MS 14126 (autograph)

The canticle sung as part of compline since the 4th century (Luke 2:29-31). In five parts, three choral with a soprano solo and a double soprano duet (quite tricky) Porpora's setting was written in 1744 for the girls of the Ospedaletto in Venice.

Editor: James Sanderson

Canticle setting
£8.95
Porpora: Ò come à tempo qui t'incontro
Forces: soprano & continuo

Source: 2 copies in the British Library

This is not a cantata to win friends and influence people within the 'feminist movement'. The final (strangely written) aria uses the text: You are a woman, so I expect you to be inconstant and unfaithful, but I forgive you; I am a man and will fall in love with other women, just enjoy it!. It's either a very modern marriage or slightly insulting, you decide. In two recit and aria format, the arias both largo and without ritornelli.
Range: d - g'

Editor: James Sanderson

Cantata à voce sola di soprano
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Porpora: Ò Pastori io v'avviso
Forces: soprano & continuo

Source BL MS Add 14225

A charming pastoral cantata with a text advising Shepherds to stay away from beautiful shepherdesses! The last aria has a written out upper part for the continuo, possibly to be played on a violin or flute.

Editor: James Sanderson

Cantata à voce sol di soprano
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Porpora: Occhi belli, occhi vaghi
Forces: soprano & continuo

Besotted! The lover compares his beloved's eyes to the stars under the influence of Cupid and his bow and arrows. "Joy and torment are gifts of the God of Love". In RARA format, the first aria a twisting larghetto the last a joyous allegro
Source: Münster Santini HS 3313(7)
Range: d - g'

Editor: James Sanderson

Cantata à voce sola di soprano
£4.95
Porpora: Oh Dio, che non è vero
Forces: alto & continuo

Cantata Op. 1, no. 11
Metastasian text in which the lover bemoans the absence of the beloved.
A beautiful lento as the first aria, quite exquisite.
Editor: James Sanderson

Cantata à voce sola di contralto
£4.95
Porpora: Oh se fosse il mio core
Forces: alto & continuo

Cantata Op. 1, no. 10
Text by Metastasio in which the lover pleads for the chance to prove his love.
A beautiful affettuoso aria and a mad allegro to finish.

Editor: James Sanderson

Cantata à voce sola di contralto
£4.95
Porpora: Oh volesser gli dei/Dolce fresche aurette grate
Forces: soprano, strings & continuo

Source: Autograph copy in Royal Music Collection

Acis' (Farinelli's) opening aria from 'Polifemo'

It is a beautiful accompanied recit followed by a largo with an allegro 'b' section.

Editor: James Sanderson

Aria from Polifemo
£4.95
Porpora: Ombre amiche, ombre care
Forces: soprano & continuo

With a text almost identical to the Marcello cantata Piante amiche, ombre care this is a vivid setting of a pastoral text. Protected by the friendly shadows the lover promises eternal fidelity. RARA format, the first aria allegro the second a lovely Siciliano

Source: Münster Santini 3313(8)
Range: d# - g#'

Editor: James Sanderson

Cantata à voce sola di soprano
£4.95
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