Composer Of The Week - Rossini

Monday 12 November to Friday 16 November



This week, Donald Macleod explores the life and music of Gioachino Rossini, 150 years after his death.

Monday - The Rossini Code

Rossini had the good fortune to learn his craft not from a course of dry academic study but by toiling in the operatic trenches of Venice’s Teatro San Moisè, for which he produced a youthful string of one-act farces – four of which are sampled in today’s programme.

Tuesday - Stick To Comedy!

With the exception of William Tell, Rossini is generally regarded first and foremost as a composer of comic operas. Aside from a couple of notable exceptions, his more serious operas remain less well known. Some of these are explored in today’s programme.

Wednesday - The New Conqueror

Today, Donald Macleod contemplates the Rossini seen through the enthusiastic but distorting lens of the writer Stendhal.

Marie-Henri Beyle (known as Stendhal) is best known today as a writer of fiction. There was, arguably, a substantial fictitious element in his biography of Rossini written during his life. Stendhal provided an eyewitness account of Rossini’s life in its busiest and most productively period.

Thursday - Noises Off

Today, Donald Macleod considers the music that Rossini ‘didn’t have to write’.

According to Rossini’s biographer Richard Osborne, the composer left a ‘large and absorbingly diverse collection of non-operatic compositions’ – some written during his career, many more after his early retirement from the stage in 1831.

Friday - An Italian In Paris

Today, Donald Macleod considers the composer’s on-off relationship with the city of Paris.

Rumours that Rossini was planning to leave Italy for Paris started doing the rounds in 1818, after his comic opera L’Italiana In Algeri created a sensation at the Théâtre Italien there; but it wasn’t until the end of 1824 that he finally signed on the dotted line and relocated to the French capital.

  • Producer: Chris Barstow