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Basement Beginnings

Donald Macleod charts Donizetti's early life, including his composing as a teenager an early version of Pygmalion.

Gaetano Donizetti composed almost 70 operas in 19th-century Italy, the age of the impresario, the prima donna and the star tenor. Donald Macleod traces his extraordinary life.

Donizetti was raised in a cramped basement flat, the son of a poor family in rural Italy, but his talent was spotted early. He would later become the most successful Italian composer of his generation. As a teenager Donizetti wrote a precocious early version of Pygmalion, and dedicated a piano piece to a generous benefactor who bought him out of his military service. His breakthrough came with an opera set in Moorish Spain, Zoraida di Granata.

1 hour

Last on

Mon 15 Sep 2014 18:30

Music Played

  • Gaetano Donizetti

    Enrico di Borgogna - 'Elisa! Elisa! O! me infelice

    Singer: Della Jones. Conductor: David Parry. Orchestra: Philharmonia Orchestra.
    • Opera Rara: ORR 203.
    • Opera Rara.
    • 1.
  • Gaetano Donizetti

    Sinfonia a Quattro Mani

    Performer: Giorgio Cozzolino. Performer: Pietro Spada.
    • RCA: RL31441.
    • 1.
  • Gaetano Donizetti

    Il Pigmalione - Aria; Da smania e furor

    Conductor: Fabio Maestri. Ensemble: La Camera Delle Lacrime. Singer: Paolo Pellegrini.
    • Bongiovanni: GS2109/10-2.
    • Bongiovanni.
    • 8.
  • Gaetano Donizetti

    Miserere in D minor - Libera me / Tunc acceptablis

    Orchestra: Royal Philharmonic Orchestra. Conductor: Jozsef Maklari. Choir: Slovak Philharmonic Chorus.
    • HUNGAROTON : HCD12147-2.
    • HUNGAROTON.
    • 1.

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