Happy birthday Gaetano Donizetti!


Gaetano Donizetti (November 29, 1797—April 8, 1848) was an Italian opera composer. His best known works were L'elisir d'amore (1832), Lucia di Lammermoor (1835), and Don Pasquale (1843). He composed in the style of bel canto.


Gaetano Donizetti was born in Bergamo, Italy to parents of little wealth. As a child, he received instruction from Simon Mayr, a German opera composer and received a scholarship to attend the Lezioni Caritatevoli school. While there, he learned fugue and counterpoint. He began to compose and moved up quickly.

His first opera to get attention was his ninth, Zoraida di Granata. It led to a contract to compose in Naples. Before long, his opera Anna Bolena premiered in Milan, and was an instant success. (Image source)

He became progressively more famous, and eventually moved to Paris. He composed L'elisir d'amore (1832) a comic opera that came to be considered a masterpiece. In 1835, he composed Lucia di Lammermoor, based on the novel The Bride of Lammermoor by Sir Walter Scott. The opera went on to become his most famous.

After conducting Rossini's Stabat Mater in the presence of emperor Ferdinand I, he became the official composer to the Emperor.



His La fille du régiment (1840), became enormously popular and was performed by many of the most famous sopranos of the 20th century including Jenny Lind, Adelina Patti, Marcella Sembrich, and Emma Albani. He followed with Les Martyrs (1840), and La Favorite (1840).

In 1843, he composed another comic opera, Don Pasquale. His last important opera was Dom Sébastien (1843). (Image source)

From then on, his life deteriorated. First, all three children he had with his wife, Virginia Vasselli, died. Then Vasselli, herself, died in 1837 of cholera. Following that, Donizetti began to exhibit symptoms of syphilis and of bipolar disorder. He progressed into insanity and died, his work declining in stature before experiencing a revival of public interest in the 1950s.

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Additional Info

  • Birthday Date: Saturday, 29 November 2014
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