Gioachino Rossini is a fascinating character. Born in Pesaro (part of the Papal states) in 1792, his father Giuseppe was a semi-professional trumpeter member of a local orchestra and his mother was an aspiring singer. He grew up in Bologna and enrolled in the local conservatory at the age of fourteen and composed his first professional opera, La cambiale di matrimonio, at 18. He was internationally famous by the time he was 20 but retired at the mere age of 37!
Did you know?
- Like many great artists in history, Rossini battled with depression for much of his life.
- His opera, Il Barbiere di Siviglia (1816) was originally named Almaviva and was greatly unsuccessful when it first opened in Rome.
- In talking about the final opera that Rossini wrote, Guillaume Tell (William Tell), Donizetti said the opera’s second act had been 'written by god, since no human could compose something so sublime'.
- When Rossini moved to Paris, he became close friends with master-chef, Marie-Antoine Carême, who then dedicated various recipes to Rossini (including Tournedos Rossini).
Enjoy Rossini's stunning operatic master-piece Petite Messe Solennelle (Little Solemn Mass) as performed by The Song Company, Taryn Fiebig, Tobias Cole, Robert McFarlane, David Greco, Neal Peres Da Costa and James Huntingford and directed by Roland Peelman at the 2016 Festival.