Salieri, Antonio (opera)
- John A. Rice
(b Legnago, Aug 18, 1750; d Vienna, May 7, 1825). Italian composer, mainly resident in Vienna. A major contributor to and shaper of Viennese operatic life from 1770 to the beginning of the 19th century, he also composed successful operas in Italy and Paris, and won much admiration from German operagoers as a composer who, in the words of one contemporary critic, ‘could bind all the power of German music to the sweet Italian style’.
Salieri was born in the Venetian town of Legnago, near Vicenza. He studied the violin and harpsichord with his brother Francesco and with a local organist, Giuseppe Simoni. He was orphaned in 1765 and taken to Venice; in 1766 his musical talent and ambition attracted the attention of the Viennese composer F. L. Gassmann, in Venice to oversee the production of his opera Achille in Sciro. Gassmann took Salieri back to Vienna as his assistant and pupil; they arrived in ...