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Composers

Composers

Bellini, Vincenzo

Born in 1801 in Catania, Sicily, to a family already steeped in music; his father and grandfather were both career musicians, Bellini began composing before receiving any formal music education. He entered the Royal College of Music of San Sebastiano,...

Berlioz, Hector

The quintessential Romantic composer, Hector Berlioz was born in Grenoble in 1803, moving to Paris in the 1820s to study medicine at his father’s insistence – where he began to study music in earnest, spending much time at the Opéra....

Donizetti, Gaetano

Born in Bergamo in 1797, Donizetti studied under Mayr and had his first success in 1822 at the Teatro Argentina in Rome with Zoraida di Granata (original version available on Opera Rara ORC17). That success led to a contract in Naples and a number...

Massenet, Jules

Massenet was a prolific, meticulous composer who wrote 30 or so operas, numerous oratorios and around 200 songs. Born in 1842, he entered the Paris Conservatoire aged just 11, going on to study with the composer Ambroise Thomas. In 1862, aged 20,...

Mayr, Giovanni Simone

Born in 1763, Mayr was German by nationality but Italian by adoption. Raised in Bavaria, he later moved to Venice to pursue his musical career, where he was urged by the composer Niccolò Piccini to try his hand at opera. The result was Saffo...

Mercadante, Saverio

Born in 1795, Mercadante studied in Naples, attracting the attention of Rossini. His first opera, L’apoteosi d’Ercole, was well received in 1819 at the Teatro San Carlo. Others quickly followed. His first notable hit was Elisa e Claudio...