Jommelli, Niccolò(nēk-kōlô` yōm-mĕl`lē), 1714–74, Italian opera composer of the Neapolitan school, who worked variously in Vienna, Rome, Stuttgart, and eventually Naples, successfully fusing German, French and Italian elements in his operas. His earliest works, such as L'errore amoroso (1737) and Ezio (1741), were very successful. He produced operas in Vienna (1749–50). While he was choir director (1751–54) at St. Peter's in Rome, he composed church music. Jommelli was musical director (1754–69) to the duke of Württemberg at Stuttgart. After his return to Naples his last operas, such as Armida abbandonata (1770) and Ifigenia in Tauride (1771), were rejected by the public as too learned and too German. In his operas he introduced recitativo accompagnato and anticipated many of the reforms of Gluck.
Born Sept. 10, 1714, in A versa, near Naples; died Aug. 25, 1774, in Naples. Italian composer, representative of the Neapolitan school of opera.
Jommelli became a member of the Bologna Philharmonic Academy in 1741. He composed more than 70 operas; among his most outstanding were Merope (1741), Artaxerxes (1749), and Phaethon (1753; 2nd version, 1768). Jommelli also wrote church music (for example, the famous Miserere) and intermezzi (for example, Don Falcone, which was performed in St. Petersburg in 1779). Anticipating the operatic reforms of C. W. Gluck, he assigned an important place to the accompanied recitative and intensified the dramatic role of the chorus and the orchestra in his operas.
REFERENCESLivanova, T. N. Istoriia zapadno-evropeiskoi muzyki do 1789 goda. Moscow-Leningrad, 1940.
Abert, N. Niccoló Jommelli als Opernkomponist. Halle, 1908.