Dictionary of London Immigrants |||

1715-1744 - Marylebone High Street (Westminster)

Poet and librettist Paolo Antonio Rolli was born in Rome on 13 June 1687. He worked in London from 1715 to 1744. He was tutor to the Prince of Wales and published original poetry and translations. In 1705 Charles Talbot, 1st Duke of Shrewsbury, married Adelaide Paleotti in Augsburg. On the accession of George I, she became Lady of the Bedchamber to the Princess of Wales and assembled a salon of Italian friends. Rolli was the poet of the circle and many of his poems celebrate court life. His rendering of Milton’s Paradise Lost is its first complete Italian translation. The first six books were published in folio in 1729. The revised (complete) poem appeared in 1735 and was dedicated to Frederick, Prince of Wales. In 1719, Rolli was appointed Italian secretary to the Royal Academy of Music. Between 1720 and 1744 he wrote or re-wrote at least twenty-four librettos for London opera productions. Rolli’s (published) correspondence with friends provides an insight into the intrigues of London’s cultural life. He died in Italy in March 1765. A posthumous collection of epigrams, Marziale in Albion (1776), ridicules many literary and musical figures of his time.

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