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Gioacchino Rossini

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(1792 – 1868)

Gioachino Antonio Rossini (February 29, 1792 – November 13, 1868) was an Italian composer who wrote 39 operas as well as sacred music, chamber music, songs, and some instrumental and piano pieces. His best known operatic works include Il barbiere di Siviglia (The Barber of Seville), La Cenerentola, La gazza ladra (The Thieving Magpie) and Guillaume Tell (William Tell). A tendency for inspired, song-like melodies is evident throughout his scores, which led to the nickname “The Italian Mozart.” Until his retirement in 1829, Rossini had been the most popular opera composer in history.

Gioachino Antonio Rossini was born into a family of musicians in Pesaro, a town on the Adriatic coast of Italy. His father, Giuseppe, was a horn player and inspector of slaughterhouses. His mother, Anna, was a singer and a baker’s daughter. Rossini’s parents began his musical training early, and by the age of six he was playing the triangle in his father’s musical group.
Rossini’s father was sympathetic to the French Revolution and welcomed Napoleon Bonaparte’s troops when they arrived in northern Italy. When Austria restored the old regime in 1796, Rossini’s father was sent to prison and his mother took him to Bologna, making a living as a leading singer at various theatres of the Romagna region. Her husband would ultimately join her in Bologna. During this time, Rossini was frequently left in the care of his aging grandmother, who had difficulty supervising the boy.

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