Gioachino Rossini (born Giovacchino Antonio Rossini) was an Italian opera composer. He also wrote sacred music, chamber music, songs, and some instrumental and piano pieces.
He was born into a family of musicians in Pesaro. His parent’s began his musical training early, and by the age of six, he was playing the triangle in his father’s musical group. He had three years of instruction in the playing of the harpsichord from Giuseppe Prinetti in Bologna. Eventually he found in Angelo Tasei a congenial music master and learned to sight-read, play accompaniments on the piano and sing well enough to take sol parts in the church when he was ten years of age.
His first opera, La Cambiale di Matrimonio was produced at Venice when he was 18 years old. Between 1810 and 1813 Rossini produced operas at Bologna, rome, Venice and Milan with varying success.
By the age of 21, Rossini had established himself as the idol of the Italian opera public. He continued to write operas for Venice and Milan but in 1815, he retired to his home in Bologna, where Domenico Barbaia, the impresario of the Naples theatre, contracted an agreement that made him musical director of the Teatro di San Carlo and the Teatro del Fondo at Naples to compose one opera a year for each. Between 1815 and 1823 Rossini produced 20 oepras. In 1822 Rossini moved to Vienna and in 1823, at the suggestion of the manager of the King’s Theatre in London, he went to Britain. The next year he became musical director of the Théâter des Italiens in Paris. His popularity in Paris was so great that Charles X gave him a contract to write five new operas a year. Nevertheless, Guillaume Tell (1829) would be his last opera. He was thirty-eight years old and had already composed thirty-eight operas.
He returned to Bolonia in 1829, two years after his mother’s death and anxious to be with his father. His first wife died in 1845, and he married his second wife in 1846. Political disturbances compelled Rossini to leave Bologna in 1848, and after living for a time in Florence, he settled in Paris 1855, where he hosted many artistic and literary figures.
He died at the age of 76 from pneumonia at his country house at Passy, near Paris. He was buried in Père Lachaise Cementery in Paris, France. In 1887, his remains were moved to the Basilica of Santa Croce, Florence, at the request of the Italian government.
He wrote slightly less than forty operas, among which some the most notorious are Il Barbiere di Siviglia, L’Italiana in Algeri, La Cenerentola, Semiramide, Il Turco in Italia, Otello, La Cennerentola y Tancredi.