A rare 1767 ticket for a concert by the Italian
castrato mezzo-soprano singer Gaetano Guadagni (1728–1792)
Francesco Bartolozzi, RA (1728–1815) after
Giovanni Battista Cipriani RA (1727–1785)
Etching, printed on card
31.7 cm x 25 cm
Image shows Orpheus and Eurydice fleeing the underworld led by a putto holding a torch. Orpheus holding a violin with his arm around Eurydice, whose clothes are being pulled at by Cerberus, the three headed hound of Hades, within an oval border of palm leaves. Lettered beneath the image, within a banner: "FOR THE BENEFIT OF MR. GUADAGNI" / with artists' names: "G B. Cipriani inv.", "F. Bartolozzi sculp." Endorsed top right with the "GG" monogram button stamp of Gaetano Guadagni in red ink.
Gaetano Guadagni (1729–92) was one of the most celebrated castrati singers of the second half of the eighteenth century. Guadagni was born in Lombardy and made his operatic debut in Venice, but he became particularly famous in London during the reigns of George II and George III. Handel wrote several pieces especially for Guadagni including the passage “But who may abide” in his Messiah.
The image was also used by Bartolozzi as a concert ticket for the Italian violinist Felice Giardini (1716-1796)
Calabi & De Vesme 1928 / Francesco Bartolozzi. Catalogue des estampes et notice biographique d'après les manuscrits de A. De Vesme entièrement réformés et complétés d'une étude critique par A. Calabi (1924.II)
Patricia Howard, "The Modern Castrato: Gaetano Guadagni and the Coming of a New Operatic Age", Oxford University Press, 2014
See Accademia dei Lincei [S-FC67612], Yale [B1978.43.718], British Museum [1897,1231.267] etc.
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