About Gioachino Rossini
Though it's his galloping overture to Guillaume (William) Tell that's widely known today, Gioachino Rossini (1792-1868) was an enormously influential Italian opera composer, admired by both Beethoven and Verdi and known for his supremely elegant operatic comedies, especially Il barbiere di Siviglia and La Cenerentola. He began his opera career when, at 18, he wrote a one-act comedy for Venice and first tasted success when La pietra del paragone was a hit at La Scala in 1812. Over the next three years he wrote over a dozen operas, many of them comedies, and won international acclaim. His ability to fuse lyrical expression and dramatic need, his crystalline melodies, and delicately shaded orchestral writing only increased his reputation. Among the mid-career works of note are Maometto II (1820) and, Semiramide (1823). Guillaume Tell followed as the composer moved to Paris. At 37, he retired from opera composition, soon left Paris, and suffered a prolonged illness in Italy which led to a significant decline in his productivity. Returning to Paris late in life he wrote a quantity of pieces for piano and voice, and died, universally revered, in 1868.