At Italy On This Day you will read about events and festivals, about important moments in history, and about the people who have made Italy the country it is today, and where they came from. Italy is a country rich in art and music, fashion and design, food and wine, sporting achievement and political diversity. Italy On This Day provides fascinating insights to help you enjoy it all the more.

Monday, 11 June 2018

Giovanni Antonio Giay – composer

Opera composer also wrote religious music for the Savoy family


Charles Emmanuel III of Savoy, who invited Giay  to become maestro di cappella at the royal chapel
Charles Emmanuel III of Savoy, who invited Giay
 to become maestro di cappella at the royal chapel
Opera and music composer Giovanni Antonio Giay was born on this day in 1690 in Turin.

A protégée of Charles Emmanuel III of Savoy, Giay sometimes spelt Giai or Giaj, wrote 15 operas, five symphonies and a large quantity of sacred music for the royal chapel of Turin Cathedral.

Giay’s father, Stefano Giuseppe Giay, who was a chemist, died when Giovanni Antonio was just five years old.

At the age of ten, Giovanni Antonio became the first member of his family to study music when he entered the Collegio degli Innocenti at Turin Cathedral to study under Francesco Fasoli.

Giay’s first opera, Il trionfo d’amore o sia La Fillide, was premiered at the original Teatro Carignano during the Carnival of 1715.

At the invitation of Charles Emmanuel III of Savoy, Giay became maestro di cappella at the royal chapel in Turin in 1732, succeeding Andrea Stefano Fiore.

Charles Emmanuel III liked art and music and reintroduced feasting and celebrations in Turin that had previously been abolished by his predecessors.

Giay's son, Francesco Saverio, took over his father's role in Turin
Giay's son, Francesco Saverio, took
over his father's role in Turin
The composer produced a great deal of religious music for the chapel but continued to write opera as well.

His intermezzo, Don Chisciotte in Venezia, which was written in about 1748, had lyrics by Giuseppe Baretti, a controversial poet and writer from Turin, who was later tried for murder in London.

The lyrics feature Miguel Cervantes’ characters Don Quixote and Dulcinea, with the action taking place during the carnival of Venice.

Giay remained in the post of maestro di cappella for 26 years until his death in 1764 in Turin.

He was succeeded as maestro by his son, Francesco Saverio Giay, who went on to hold the post for the next 34 years.

Turin Cathedral, where Giay studied and was later appointed maestro di cappella
Turin Cathedral, where Giay studied and was later
appointed maestro di cappella
Travel tip:

Turin Cathedral, where Giay studied music and was maestro di cappella, was built between 1491 and 1498 in Piazza San Giovanni in Turin. The Chapel of the Holy Shroud, where the Turin Shroud is kept, was added in 1668. Some members of the House of Savoy are buried in the Duomo while others are buried in the Basilica di Superga on the outskirts of the city.

Teatro Carignano is believed to be more than 300 years old
Teatro Carignano is believed to be more than 300 years old
Travel tip:

Teatro Carignano in Turin, where Giay’s first opera had its premiere, is one of the oldest and most important theatres in Italy and is believed to date back to 1711, although it has been rebuilt several times over the centuries. Today it is owned by the city of Turin and is used mainly to stage plays. The main entrance is in Piazza Carignano in the heart of ‘royal’ Turin.

Also on this day:

1611: The birth of Baroque artist Antonio Cifrondi

1956: The death of Corrado Alvaro, award-winning writer and journalist

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