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Gaetano Donizetti (1797-1848)


220 years since the birth of the Italian composer

Gaetano Donizetti (1797-1848)

Gaetano Donizetti portrait by Giuseppe Rillosi 

Domenico Gaetano Maria Donizetti  (29 November 1797 – 8 April 1848) was an Italian composer.

Along with Gioachino Rossini and Vincenzo Bellini, Donizetti was a leading composer of the bel canto opera style during the first half of the nineteenth century.

Donizetti's close association with the bel canto style was undoubtedly an influence on other composers such as Giuseppe Verdi (1813–1901).

Over the course of his career, Donizetti wrote almost 70 operas. In all, Naples presented 51 of Donizetti's operas.

Before 1830, success came primarily with his comic operas, the serious ones failing to attract significant audiences.


However, his first notable success came with an opera seria, Zoraida di Granata, which was presented in 1822 in Rome.

Significant historical dramas did appear and became successful; they included Lucia di Lammermoor (the first to have a libretto written by Salvadore Cammarano) given in Naples in 1835, and one of the most successful Neapolitan operas, Roberto Devereux in 1837.

Up to that point, all of his operas had been set to Italian libretti.

Donizetti, a prolific composer, is best known for his operatic works, but he also wrote music in a number of other forms, including some church music, a number of string quartets, and some orchestral pieces.

Altogether, he composed about 75 operas, 16 symphonies, 19 string quartets, 193 songs, 45 duets, 3 oratorios, 28 cantatas, instrumental concertos, sonatas, and other chamber pieces.


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