Bergamo 1797 – 1848

Gaetano Donizetti

One of the most famous Italian opera writers, Domenico Gaetano Maria Donizetti, was born in 1797 in Bergamo in a financially disadvantaged family and received his first music lessons from Giovanni Simone Mayr for free, in a scholastic institution Mayr himself had founded: the Charitable Music Lessons.
His first major success was Anna Bolena put on at the Teatro Carcano in Milan in 1830 and written in just 30 days. The Milanese public also applauded first L’elisir d’amore, then Lucrezia Borgia. International successes and the rapidity with which he wrote were key in Donzizetti’s life.
He also triumphed in Naples with the premiere of Lucia di Lammermoor at the Teatro San Carlo. He left Naples for the French capital, Paris, where he enjoyed great success both with translated works and works in their original language at the Théâtre des Italiens. Other renowned works also debuted in Paris such as, La fille du régiment,  La favorita, and Don Pasquale.
Donizetti died in 1848 in his native city after he had been admitted in the insane asylum at Ivry. For about ten years after the premature death of Vincenzo Bellini, an artist whom Donizetti held in great esteem (unfortunately not reciprocated), Donizetti was considered the representative par excellence of Italian opera. He did, however, also compose much instrumental music: songs, chamber music and piano music, as well as a great number of sacred compositions, among them a very well known Ave Maria.

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