International Porpora Conference


Italian Ways in Music, Art and Poetry in 18th-Century Britain.

International Musicological Conference – Amsterdam, October 13-15, 2017



Stefano Aresi (Stile Galante)

Nicholas Baragwanath (University of Nottingham)

Talya Berger (Stanford University)

Rosa Cafiero (Università Cattolica del Sacro Cuore di Milano)

Claudio Toscani (Università degli Studi di Milano)


The conference in held in collaboration with:

Stile Galante Amsterdam

Stichting Gezelschap 18e Eeuw / The 18th Century Fellowship Foundation

The University of Nottingham

Università Cattolica del Sacro Cuore di Milano

Università degli Studi di Milano – Dipartimento di Beni Culturali e Ambientali


Nicola Porpora (1686-1768) was one of the most important Italian composers of vocal music in the first half of the 18th century and a leading figure in the advancement of the Neapolitan “new style”, a musical and poetic/dramaturgical taste that captivated European audiences following the Venetian opera seasons of 1725/6. Modern musicologists and musicians would tend to agree with the pioneering study by Frank Walker (1951), which called Porpora “the greatest teacher of singing among composers, and the greatest composer among teachers of singing.” Since the 1970s, however, Porpora’s works have received only scant attention from scholars. Much remains to be discovered in regard to his real artistic and historical importance.

This international conference aims to re-think and provide fresh insights into Porpora’s experience in London (1734-1737), in connection with the general Italian-oriented cultural climate favoured by princely and aristocratic patrons, in special way by Frederick Louis, Prince of Wales (1707-1751) and his entourage.

In that social and cultural context, the print of the twelve Nuovamente composte opre di musica vocale (London 1735) became particularly significant and full of symbolic value. This collection of solo Italian chamber cantatas for voice (soprano, alto) was based on unpublished lyrics by Pietro Metastasio and received widespread acclaim as a masterpiece of the Italian and Arcadian taste in poetry, music, and aesthetic ideals, not only in England but throughout Europe.




OCTOBER 13, 2017 – First Session (2.00 pm – 5.45 pm) – Chair: Nicholas Baragwanath

Daan Kramer Schippers (Amsterdam), Welcome and Introduction

Ivan Ćurković (Zagreb), Nicola Porpora’s Opera Duets in the Light of his Works Published in London

Benjamin Katz (Philadelphia), Poetics of Partimento: The use of Harmonic Schemata in Nicola Porpora’s Solo Cantatas

Walter Kreyszig (Saskatoon), Brushing Aside the British Criticism of Nicola Porpora’s Approach to Composition: Nicola Porpora at the Organ in the Satirical Copper Engraving “Harmony” (1735) as a Veiled Reference to “the Famous Porpora” as a Contrapuntalist

Coffee break

Nastasja Gandolfo (Würzburg), Paolo Antonio Rolli’s Cantata Texts and their Reception in Germany

Kurt Markstrom (Manitoba), Nuovamente composte opre di musica vocale (London 1735): A New Collaboration between Porpora and Metastasio? – But How Can That Be?


OCTOBER 14, 2017 – Second Session (1.00 pm – 5.45 pm) – Chair: Rosa Cafiero

Stefano Aresi (Amsterdam) – Talya Berger (Stanford), The Nuovamente Composte Opre di Musica Vocale: Reflections on the Collection’s Nature and Performance Practice

Nicholas Baraghwanath (Nottingham), Amateurs and Accidental Artistry in Porpora’s London Cantatas (1735)

Livio Marcaletti (Wien), Porpora’s Nuovamente composte opre di musica vocale (1735) and Performance Practice in Light of Contemporary German Didactics

Coffee break

Therese De Goede (Amsterdam), The Basso Continuo Realization of Porpora’s Cantatas for solo voice and Basso continuo

Round table on performance practice: Livio Marcaletti (Chair, Wien), Fabio Bonizzoni (Den Haag), Therese De Goede (Amsterdam), Stefano Aresi (Amsterdam)

8.00 pm – Official dinner at Haesje Claes, Spuistraat 275


OCTOBER 15, 2017 – Third Session (2.00 pm – 5.45 pm) – Chair: Talya Berger

Rosa Cafiero (Milano), Porpora’s Autographs in Giuseppe Sigismondo’s and Gaspare Selvaggi’s Collections: a Survey

Claudio Bacciagaluppi (Bern), Manuscripts and Anecdotes in Giuseppe Sigismondo’s Biography of Nicola Porpora

Marco Pollaci (London), An Investigation on Performance Practice Indications in the London Manuscripts of Nicola Antonio Porpora’s Music

Coffee break

Round table on Giuseppe Sigismondo’s Apoteosi della musica del Regno di Napoli: Nicholas Baragwanath (Chair, Nottingham), Talya Berger (Stanford), Rosa Cafiero (Milano), Claudio Toscani (Milano), Claudio Bacciagaluppi (Bern)



October 13, 2017

9.00 – 10.30 – Approaching Chamber Cantatas (Teacher: Stefano Aresi)

10.30 -10.45 – Coffee break

10.45 – 12.30 – Sources for the continuo and stylistic topics (Teacher: Therese De Goede)

12.30 – 13.30 – Continuo and embellisments (Talya Berger and Therese De Goede)

October 14, 2017

09.00 – 10.30 – Continuo and embellisments (Talya Berger and Therese De Goede)

10.30 – 10.50 – Coffee break

11.00 – 12.30 – Vocal manieren (Teacher: Livio Marcaletti)

October 15, 2017

9.00 – 10.00 – Continuo and historically informed singing (Talya Berger and Stefano Aresi)

10.30 – 13.00 – Guided tour at the Rijksmuseum Music Instruments Collection



October 15: Guided tour at the Rijksmuseum Music Instruments Collection with the curator, Giovanni Paolo Di Stefano. Meeting point: info point in the main hall of Rijksmuseum (Museumstraat, 1).



Download the Conference brochure: Porpora_Conference