easy-to-use Violin Resource




Gioacchino Rossini (1792ó 1868)

HISTORY                         Composers


Violin History & Timeline






Gamba, etc. 

The Roots of Famous Violinists



















Violin                                  Viola          Cello                                    Bass                                    Viol                   Bows                                               Tales             


Interesting  Sites      


Antique Instruments

Historical Photos

Rossiniís comic operatic works won him tremendous acclaim during his lifetime. Strangely, he ceased writing operas after the age of thirty-seven, although he lived for another thirty-nine years. The reasons surrounding his abandonment of operatic composition are still ambiguous. Born in Italy on February 29, 1792, Rossini was the son of a political rebel whose republican beliefs often deprived the family of a steady income. Rossiniís mother and father journeyed to various opera houses, singing and playing the horn. Thus, Rossini was left with his grandmother, who was unable to educate or govern a willful, young boy.

In 1804, when his parents finally established a permanent home, Rossini went to live with them and began his musical studies. He became a pupil in the Liceo Musicale where he studied music theory from Mattei, and the cello from Cavedagnia. Although Rossini rebelled against Matteiís rigid teaching methodology, he excelled as a student at the Liceo Musicale and was given the honor of writing a cantata for the school. Financial constraints prevented him from completing his studies, and he was led to compose professionally.

Fortuitously, an opera house in Venice was in immediate need of a single act opera, and asked Rossini to produce one quickly. Within three days Rossini wrote an operatic piece that was successful, and that enabled him to attain contracts for more operas. The first work to receive tremendous appreciation was La Pie tra del paragone. First shown at La Scala in Milan, the opera was performed over fifty times during its first season. One year later, in 1813, Rossini produced Tancredi, his first serious opera. Its main aria became so popular that the Venetian court of law had to order citizens to stop constantly humming and whistling the refrain.

By the young age of twenty-two, Rossini had achieved great acclaim. A handsome, charismatic individual, he was adored by audiences. Domenico Barbaja, a wealthy and powerful producer of operas throughout Milan, Naples, and Vienna, contracted the writing of two operas a year from Rossini. As the agreement with Barbaja allowed the composer to produce works for other patrons as well, Rossini was able to write and sell many operas each year. Generally calm and composed, Rossini was rarely ruffled by an audienceís poor reception of his work. He would simply tweak the music and presentation to produce a show that would soon be received favorably.

Within six years Rossini wrote sixteen operas, working at a prodigious speed. He married his lover, Isabella Colbran, in 1822 and spent a great deal of time in Vienna. An elegant host and a societal success, Rossini even won the adoration of Beethoven. Beethoven loved Rossiniís work, The Barbar of Seville, and apparently encouraged the young composer to stick with his talent for writing operas. When Rossini left Vienna, a farewell concert was organized on his behalf Numerous singers performed pieces from his operas, and Rossini himself sang for the audience.

1824 found Rossini in Paris, where he became the director of the Theatre Italien, and eventually lived out his life. Charles X established a contract with Rossini, engaging the production of five operas within ten years. Wi//ian Te/i was the first work to be written under this contract. Yet, it was Rossiniís final opera, after which he renounced the production of stage pieces.

Rossini spent the rest of his life writing small works for the piano. Although he defaulted on his contract with Charles X, Rossini won a pension that sustained him for the rest of his life. A year after the death of his first wife, he married his mistress, Qlympe Pelissier. Rossini and Pelissier became a devoted couple who enjoyed the pleasures of Paris society. Rossini remained strong and dignified until the close of his life. He passed away in 1868 after suffering a heart attack. He is remembered as the genius of comic music.

Note by Shanaira Udwadia (July-2001)