Rossini, Gioacchino (Antonio) biographical name
(born Feb. 29, 1792, Pesaro, Papal Statesdied Nov. 13, 1868, Passy, France) Italian composer. He sang in church and in minor opera roles as a child, began composing at age 12, and at 14 entered Bologna's conservatory, where he wrote mostly sacred music. From 1812 he produced theatre works at a terrific rate, and for 15 years he was the dominant voice of Italian opera; his major successes included The Italian Girl in Algiers (1813), The Barber of Seville (1816), La cenerentola (1817), and Semiramide (1823). Into the genteel atmosphere of lingering 18th-century operatic manners, Rossini brought genuine originality marked by rude wit and humour and a willingness to sacrifice all rules of musical and operatic decorum. His career marked the zenith of the bel canto style, a singer-dominated manner of composition that emphasized vocal agility and long, florid phrasing. From 1824 he spent much time in Paris, where he wrote his masterpiece, William Tell (1829). After 1832 his health was poor, and he composed little until the series of piano pieces and songs collected as Sins of My Old Age (1868).
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