Vermont Public is independent, community-supported media, serving Vermont with trusted, relevant and essential information. We share stories that bring people together, from every corner of our region. New to Vermont Public? Start here.

© 2024 Vermont Public | 365 Troy Ave. Colchester, VT 05446

Public Files:

For assistance accessing our public files, please contact or call 802-655-9451.
Play Live Radio
Next Up:
0:00 0:00
Available On Air Stations

For information about listening to Vermont Public Radio, please go here.

Timeline: Gioachino Rossini

U.S. Public Domain
Gioachino Rossini was the brightest star of a new school of Italian opera composers in the 19th Century.

Italian opera was in severe decline in the first decade of the 19th Century. However, thanks to the works of composers like Rossini, Donizetti and Bellini, a new golden age was about to dawn. The brightest star of this new operatic style was Gioachino Rossini.

Rossini was born in a small city on the Adriatic coast in 1792. Both his parents were musicians performing in opera houses around Italy. Gioachino inherited his father’s ability on the horn and his mother’s marvelous voice. The family settled in Bologna in 1806 where Rossini joined his father as a member of the Accademia Filarmonica. While there he studied the cello, piano and counterpoint, developing quickly as a musician and devouring the music of Haydn and Mozart.

Rossini was 18 when his first opera “The Marriage Contract” was produced in Venice. Over the next few years Rossini wrote numerous works for houses around Italy and had garnered an impressive international reputation, much to the chagrin of the Italian Opera establishment. His most famous work, “The Barber of Seville” was met with loud protests by the supporters of traditional Italian opera.  But, in spite of catcalls and protests Rossini’s “Barber” became a sensation throughout Europe. Later when Rossini finally was able to meet his hero Beethoven, the older, deaf composer wrote, “Ah, Rossini, so you’re the composer of ‘The Barber of Seville’. I congratulate you. It will be played as long as Italian opera exists”.

Between the years 1815-1823 Rossini produced 20 operas; the last of which was “Semiramide” his longest and most ambitious work. It was not the success that he had hoped, so he vowed to not write another note for his countrymen and left for Paris. There, he hoped to finally silence his critics and mature his style. The culmination of this desire came in 1829 with his opera “William Tell” this became his last work for the stage – Rossini was only 37.

For the next 40 years, Rossini wrote only a few songs and piano pieces that he didn’t even publish. However, he was a wealthy man with a reputation as a gourmet and a lavish host. He had a dry humor and biting wit. He spent his last few years writing letters to the next generation of composers including Camille Saint-Saens and Wagner.  His most interesting piece of advice came in the form of this philosophical maxim...

“All genres are good, except the boring one.”

Timeline is an exploration into the development of Western music. Take a journey into the events, characters and concepts that shaped our Western musical tradition.

James Stewart is Vermont Public Classical's afternoon host. As a composer, he is interested in many different genres of music; writing for rock bands, symphony orchestras and everything in between.
Latest Stories