98. Domenico Gaetano Maria Donizetti [365 Composers for 2013]


8th April – Gaetano Donizetti

Donizetti (29th November 1797 – 8th April 1848) is our composer for 8th April, to mark the day of his death.
Nationality: Italian
Lifespan: 50 years
Genre: Romantic
Education: Lezioni Caritatevoli School, Bergamo
Fame Ranking: 4

Donizetti came from an impoverished, unmusical family. Despite this, he and his elder brother both managed to carve out glitteringly  successful musical careers. While his brother worked at the Ottoman Court as Instructor General of the Imperial Ottoman Music, Gaetano became a sought after composer of opera, and a conductor.

Aged nine, Donizetti was enrolled at the newly established Lezioni Caritatevoli School, founded by the German composer Simon Mayr. He received instruction in the basics of music theory, counterpoint, fugue writing and he began to dabble with composing. His first work to receive critical acclaim was actually his ninth opera – written when he was 25 – “Zoraida di Granata”. A local theatre manager, Domenico Barbaia, was sufficiently impressed by it to offer the young composer a contract in Naples, as an opera composer.  From this point on, Donizetti was in demand. As well as producing operas for Naples, he also worked in Rome, Milan and Paris. In total he wrote almost 100 operas, as well as 16 symphonies, 3 oratorios,  and a great deal of chamber music.

As with many composers, Donizetti’s successful career was overshadowed by a tragic personal life. His wife bore him three children, none of whom survived, and he lost both his parents and his wife within a year. He contracted syphilis and began showing symptoms of the disease in 1843. By 1845 he was insane, finally passing away aged 50, in 1848.

Here is a performance of one of Donizetti’s better known arias – “Una Furtiva Lagrima”, from the opera “L’Elisir d’Amore”:


Thanks for rating this! Now tell the world how you feel - .
What do you think about this composers music?
  • Not Sure
  • Love it
  • Hate it
  • Dislike it
  • Like it
  • It's OK


Listen to more works by Donizetti – click the box!



Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *