GIOVANNI FRANCESCO (?-1699) GROSSI, one of the greatest Italian singers of the age of bel canto, better known as Siface, was born at Pescia in Tuscany about the middle of the 17th century. He entered the papal chapel in 1675, and later sang at Venice. He derived his nickname of Siface from his impersonation of that character in an opera of Cavalli. It has generally been said that he appeared as Siface in Alessandro Scarlatti's Mitridate, but the confusion is due to his having sung the part of Mitridate in Scarlatti's Pompeo at Naples in 1683. In 1687 he was sent to London by the duke of Modena, to become a member of the chapel of James II. He probably did much for the introduction of Italian music into England, but soon left the country on account of the climate. Among Purcell's harpsichord music is an air entitled "Sefauchi's Farewell." He was murdered in 1699 on the road between Bologna and Ferrara, probably by the agents of a nobleman with whose wife he had a liaison. See Corrado Ricci's Vita Barocca (Milan, 1904).
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