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Domenico Cimarosa

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Biography

Domenico Cimarosa (17 December 1749 – 11 January 1801) was an Italian opera composer.

Cimarosa was born in Aversa, near Naples. His parents were poor, but anxious to give their son a good education. After moving to Naples, they sent him to a free school connected with one of the monasteries in that city. The organist of the monastery, Padre Polcano, was struck by the boy’s intellect, and voluntarily instructed him in the elements of music, and also in the ancient and modern literature of his country. Because of his influence, Cimarosa obtained a scholarship at the musical institute of Santa Maria di Loreto in Naples, where he remained for eleven years, chiefly studying the great masters of the old Italian school. Niccoló Piccinni, Antonio Maria Gaspare Sacchini, and other musicians of repute are mentioned among his teachers.

At the age of twenty-three, Cimarosa began his career as a composer with an opera buffa called Le stravaganze del conte, first performed at the Teatro del Fiorentini at Naples in 1772. The work met with approval, and was followed in the same year by Le pazzie di Stelladaura e di Zoroastro, a farce full of humour and eccentricity. This work was also successful, and the fame of the young composer began to spread all over Italy. In 1774 he was invited to Rome to write an opera for the stagione of that year; and there he produced another comic opera called L’italiana in Londra.

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