Skip to main content

Rossini, Gioacchino, 1792-1868



  • Existence: February 29, 1792 - November 13, 1868


1848 marked a significant turning-point in Rossini's life. He found himself out of favour with many Bolognese townsmen for what they considered his lack of enthusiasm towards the movement for national unity. Prompted by demonstrations directed against them, the Rossinis left Bologna for Florence. He always recalled this period in extremely morbid terms, claiming that his life and that of his wife had been in danger, and speaking of the Bolognese as assassins. The incident, together with his physical ills, further demoralized him. He stayed with Olympe in Florence or took cures at Montecatini or Lucca. Contemporary reports about him (from Emilia Branca Romani, Giuseppina Strepponi and many others) give uniformly depressing and pessimistic accounts. In a letter of 1854 Rossini wrote of ‘the deplorable state of health in which I find myself for five long months, a most obstinate nervous malady that robs me of my sleep and I might say almost renders my life useless’. In the hope that French doctors might be able to help him where the Italians failed, the Rossinis decided to return to Paris in the spring of 1855.

(This paragraph excerpted from Oxford Music Online, Philip Gossett)