Born near Hamburg, Johann Adolf Hasse was a fine singer and actor in youth , performing in operas at the court of Brunswick from 1719. Here his own opera Antioco was performed, after which he left for Italy. In Naples he studied with Alessandro Scarlatti, helping him to secure operatic commissions. In 1730 he visited Venice where his Artaserse was given, the first of several to be performed by the castrato Farinelli. The opera used one of the many texts in circulation by Metastasio - the two were later to meet and became close friends, Hasse even taking the poet's compositional advice concerning writing to please certain audiences.
An intermittent association with Dresden allowed to Hasse to travel greatly. His works spread as far as London, where they were performed by Handel, and it is possible the two had met when Handel visited Naples in 1729. Hasse was admired by Frederick the Great, and wrote much flute music for him. From 1764 he was based in Vienna, and influenced the young Mozart .