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Gaetano Donizetti - (Bergamo) 1797-1848

One of the greatest Italian opera composers of the early nineteenth century an the major forerunner of Verdi's music drama.

Belonging to a very poor family, he was accepted at the age of nine years in the Charitable Music School of Bergamo, managed by Simone Mayr, to which he was bound for his whole life; later on, he improved with Mattei at the Philarmonic High School of Bologna.

The performance of "Enrico di Borgogna" (Venice 1818) signed his theatrical debut, followed by "Falegname di Livonia", but he gained public and critical success only with "Zoraide di Granata" (Rome 1822). After he signed a good contract with the manager Domenico Barbaja, he settled in Naples and wrote a dozen of musical works in just three years.

He achieved great success with "Anna Bolena" (1830) and with "
Elisir d'amore" (1832). In 1829 he was appointed Director of the Royal Theaters of Naples, in 1834 he accepted the professorship of Composition at the Conservatory of the city. In Neaples, in the year 1835, "Lucia di Lammermoor" was perfomed for the first time; however, due to a series of family misfortunes, he interrupted every single activity in Italy, after just three years.

He moved to Paris, where he staged "Les Martyrs" (1840), "La Favorita" (1840), and in 1841 he wrote "Rita ou Le mari battu" (performed in Paris in 1860), "Don Pasquale" (1843) and "Don Sebastiano del Portogallo" in 1843. Then, he was frequently in Wien, where he gained the ambit nomination of Master of Court choir (1842).

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