Domenico Gaetano Maria Donizetti (Italian: [doˈmeːniko ɡaeˈtaːno maˈria donidˈdzetti]; born 29 November 1797 – died 8 April 1848) was an Italian composer from Bergamo, Lombardy.
Donizetti came from a non-musical background but, at an early age, he was taken under the wing of composer Simon Mayr who had set up the Lezioni Caritatevoli and had enrolled him by means of a full scholarship. There he received detailed training in the arts of fugue and counterpoint, and it was from there that Mayr was instrumental in obtaining a place for the young man at the Bologna Academy. In Bologna, at the age of 19, he wrote his first one-act opera, the comedy Il Pigmalione, although it does not appear to have been performed during his lifetime.
Through his life, Donizetti wrote about 70 operas, but an offer in 1822 from Domenico Barbaja, the impresario of the Teatro San Carlo in Naples, which followed the composer's ninth opera, led to his move to that city and the composition of 28 operas which were given their premieres at that house or in one of the city's smaller houses including the Teatro Nuovo or the Teatro del Fondo. This continued until the production of Caterina Cornaro in January 1844. In all, Naples presented 51 of Donizetti's operas.
During this period, success came primarily with the comic operas, the serious ones failing to attract significant audiences. However, the situation changed with the appearance in 1830 of the serious opera, Anna Bolena which was the first to make a major impact on the Italian and international opera scene and, at the same time, to shift the balance for the composer away from success with only comedic operas. However, even after 1830, his best-known works did also include comedies such as L'elisir d'amore (1832) and Don Pasquale (1843). But significant historical dramas did appear and became successful, sometimes outside Naples before reaching that city. Most significantly, they included Lucia di Lammermoor (the first to be written by librettist Salvadore Cammarano) in 1835, as well as "one of [his] most successful Neapolitan operas", Roberto Devereux in 1837. Up to that point, all of his operas had been written to Italian librettos.
However, moving to Paris in 1838, Donizetti set his operas to French texts; these include La favorite and La fille du régiment and were first performed in that city from 1840 onward. It appears that much of the attraction of moving to Paris was not just for larger fees and prestige, but his chafing against the censorial limitations which existed in Italy, thus giving him a much greater freedom to choose subject matter. By 1845 severe illness caused him to be moved back to Bergamo to die in 1848.
Along with Gioachino Rossini and Vincenzo Bellini, he was a leading composer of bel canto opera during the first fifty years of the Nineteenth Century.Continue reading at Wikipedia... Wikipedia content provided under the terms of the Creative Commons BY-SA license