Benjamin Franklin Papers

To Benjamin Franklin from Lucrezia Agujari, 12 December 1774

From Lucrezia Agujari3

AL: Historical Society of Pennsylvania

Lunedi 12: Xbre 1774.

L’Agujari umilia i suoi ossequj al Signor Dottore Benjamin Franklin, e lo supplica di gradire L’omaggio, che Essa hà L’onore di presentarle con la Stampa della Cantata, che eseguirà questa sera al Pantheon. [The Agujari presents her humble respects to Dr. Franklin, and begs him to accept the tribute that she has the honor of offering him, along with the score of the cantata which she will perform this evening at the Pantheon.]

[Note numbering follows the Franklin Papers source.]

3Lucrezia Agujari or Aguiari (1743–83), an Italian soprano, was the illegitimate daughter of a nobleman and hence popularly known as La Bastardina or La Bastardella; the range of her voice was extraordinary and won praise from the most discerning. She had made her debut in Florence in 1764. For a fabulous salary she sang at the Pantheon in Oxford Street, a concert hall opened in 1772; the press acclaimed her. Before this debut in London in 1774 she had sung in Milan a cantata by her future husband, Giuseppe Colla; the score of that or another of his compositions was doubtless enclosed with this note, for she scarcely sang any one else’s. Grove’s Dictionary of Music and Musicians (5th ed.; 10 vols., New York, 1954–68), I, 73–4; II, 372; VI, 540; Charles Burney, A General History of Music ... (Frank Mercer, ed.; 2 vols., London, 1935), II, 882–3; Public Advertiser, Dec. 9, 1774; London Chron., Jan. 5–7, 1775.

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