Nicola Antonio Porpora (1686-1768) was a celebrated composer and singing teacher, his ability to set the Italian language to music was internationally acknowledged during his lifetime. In a career that spanned almost 70 years Porpora worked in Naples, Rome, Venice, London, Dresden and Vienna. As a singing teacher he created stars such as Farinelli, Caffarelli and Porporino. Much of his compositional output is of exceptional quality. He made his chief contribution in the vocal realm, having written many worthwhile secular and sacred operas, oratorios, serenatas and cantatas, as well as various lamentations and duets.
The six vocal pieces on Latin text – Sei duetti latini sulla passione di nostro signore Gesù Cristo (1754) – were dedicated to the Electoral Prince of Saxony for private devotional use: “to be sung on Lent Fridays in the Chapel of His Most Serene Highness”. The songs, written as da capo arias for two voices and continuo, fit perfectly into the definition of the genre of the Italian Chamber Duet, with the only peculiarity being the Latin texts.