Rossini's parents expected the future composer to get right to work -- they enrolled him in music lessons at the age of four. The young Rossini started writing compositions as a teenager; by the time he was in his 20s, he... [more]
Rossini's parents expected the future composer to get right to work -- they enrolled him in music lessons at the age of four. The young Rossini started writing compositions as a teenager; by the time he was in his 20s, he had already written more than seven operas. In 1812, Italy's most important opera house of the time, La Scala, warmly received his "La Pietra Del Paragone" -- an auspicious beginning for the young composer. "La Pietra Del Paragone" established him as a preeminent maestro. And, according to Stendahl, the cabaletta "Di Tanti Palpiti," from the melodrama "Tancredi," was the world's most popular aria.
But Rossini is particularly remembered for his comedies, like the gag-filled "L'Italiana in Algeri" or the ageless "Il Barbiere di Siviglia" ("The Barber of Seville"). The opera stirs up a storm of unforgettable music as each character plots, schemes, and dons disguises in an effort to secure the love of the maiden Rosina. The plot is replete with madcap antics and the score keeps up a rigorous, witty pace.
Until his late 30s, Rossini created an extensive and highly regarded body of work: 39 operas to be exact, churned out in just 19 years. They include "La Cambiale di Matrimonio," a one-act "buffa," or comic opera; his own "Otello;" and his operatic version of the Cinderella fairy tale, "La Cenerentola." Next to "The Barber of Seville," probably the next most-famous opera he produced -- for the Paris Opera in 1829 -- was "William Tell," the great composer's last production. The Maestro accomplished what he had been trained for, and enjoyed the second half of his life a wealthy man in Paris, never writing another opera. [show less]