Gaetano Donizetti - 1848
Born into extreme poverty, of unruly temperament, yet full of talent. At just nine years of age, Donizetti was admitted by the maestro Johann Simon Mayr to the free music school administered by the Misericordia Maggiore lay confraternity and then continued with his studies in Bologna, Venice, Mantua, Naples, Palermo, Rome, Genoa, Florence, and Milan.
A handsome man, debonair rather than elegant, and immensely likeable.
Donizetti threw himself into his work and achieved success. He was called first to Paris and then Vienna, where, like Mozart before him, he was appointed court composer.
But a cruel destiny was to befall him at the height of his fame. In the space of a few months, he lost all of his family. With no father, mother, wife or children who then am I to work for? Donizetti fell ill, complaining his nerves were “on edge”. The world believes me something I am not. I am grey and tired of work. Against his will, he was admitted to a mental asylum, but his nephew succeeded in having him discharged and brought him back to Bergamo. 50 years after his death, the Teatro Riccardi was renamed in his honour.