Brilliant, dashing, the most sought-after composer of opera in the Romantic age, Gioacchino Rossini captured the ears and hearts of music lovers throughout Europe. From his native Italy to Paris to London, he mounted triumph after triumph—works like the grandly comic The Barber of Seville, La Cenerentola, and his masterpiece, William Tell. Prodigiously talented, by the age of thirty-two, in 1820, he had written thirty-nine operas and commanded universal adoration. Then he fell silent for more than forty years. The mystery that drove Rossini from the forefront of Europe's cultural stage and that curtailed an unparalleled operatic career lies at the center of Gaia Servadio's perceptive and revealing biography. With the benefit of previously unpublished letters and other new material, Servadio traces the history of Rossini—a man who exchanged ideas with Richard Wagner and in Paris salons kept company with Victor Hugo, Honore de Balzac, and Eugene Delacroix—from a difficult, impoverished childhood through his complicated relationships with his divas, to his battles with nervous illnesses. She sets Rossini's life, too, against the sweep of European history in an age defined and betrayed by Napoleon.
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Published April 1, 2003
by Da Capo Press.
Biographies & Memoirs, Humor & Entertainment, Arts & Photography.