Robin Burgess holds degrees in Classics and Theology from the Universities of Wales and London. He is Director of the Westminster Cathedral Centre for Spirituality. Rev. Burgess has taken part in concerts and recitals and has a special devotion to the opera of the 18th century.2005 0-7734-6048-9
This work is an important, but neglected, treatise of 18th century musical aesthetics. It belongs to that mid-century movement in the arts that saw a reaction against the artificiality and formality, as it came to seem, of the Baroque style and towards the naturalness of expression characteristic of the painting, literature, drama, even fashions in gardening in the latter part of the century. Algarotti was a man of wide interests and deep culture who himself assisted in opera productions in Berlin and Parma. In this essay, he sets out a program for the form of opera that bears remarkable resemblances with the first recognisably modern works in the form that are still performed today, the operas of Gluck. The essay attracted considerable attention in its day, being translated into several European languages. The new edition makes available once more the contemporary English translation, which is both accurate and has an attractive period quality.