Show Summary Details

Page of

Printed from Oxford Music Online. Grove is a registered trademark. Under the terms of the licence agreement, an individual user may print out a single article for personal use (for details see Privacy Policy and Legal Notice).

date: 12 April 2021

Donizetti, (Domenico) Gaetano (Maria)locked

  • Mary Ann Smart
  •  and Julian Budden



(b Bergamo, Nov 1797; d Bergamo, April 8, 1848). Italian composer. A dominant figure in Italian opera, he was equally successful in comic and serious genres, and an important precursor of Verdi.

Donizetti was born in Bergamo, the fifth of six children of Andrea and Domenica (Nava) Donizetti. The family lived in extremely modest circumstances: the highest station Andrea Donizetti achieved was that of custodian and usher at Bergamo's pawnshop, the Monte de' Pegni. Although Gaetano's elder brother Giuseppe was a military bandsman and eventually became chief of music for the Ottoman armies, musical achievement was neither expected nor encouraged in the Donizetti family. The composer's own account, related late in life, sketches his home atmosphere with a characteristic mixture of melancholy and wit:

I was born underground in Borgo Canale [just outside the walls of Bergamo's upper city]. One descended a cellar staircase where no suspicion of light ever penetrated. And like an owl I took flight, bringing upon myself now sad, now happy forebodings, not encouraged by my poor father, who always repeated to me that it was impossible that one should compose....

You do not currently have access to this article


Please login to access the full content.


Please subscribe to access the full content.

Rome, Biblioteca Apostolica Vaticana
Cambridge Opera Journal
Naples, Conservatorio di Musica S Pietro a Majella, Biblioteca
Rassegna musicale
Rivista musicale italiana
Naples, Biblioteca Lucchesi Palli [in I-Nn]
London, University of London Library, Music Collection
Revue belge de musicologie
La musica: enciclopedia storica
Proceedings of the Royal Musical Association
Rome, Conservatorio di Musica S Cecilia
Stockholm, Stiftelsen Musikkulturens Främjande
Nuova rivista musicale italiana
Padua, Duomo, Biblioteca Capitolare, Curia Vescovile
Bologna, Civico Museo Bibliografico Musicale
Boston, Boston University, Mugar Memorial Library, Department of Special Collections
Milan, Biblioteca della Casa Ricordi
Analecta musicologica
19th Century Music
Dresden, Sächsische Landesbibliothek - Staats- und Universitäts-Bibliothek, Musikabteilung
Musical Times
Journal of the American Musicological Society
Monthly Musical Record
Opera Quarterly
Neue Zeitschrift für Musik
Musik und Gesellschaft
Milan, Biblioteca Teatrale Livia Simoni
Journal of the Royal Musical Association
Paris, Conservatoire [in F-Pn]
Bergamo, Civico Istituto Musicale Gaetano Donizetti, Biblioteca
Venice, Teatro La Fenice, Archivio Storico-Musicale
Early Romantic Opera
Bergamo, Biblioteca Civica Angelo Mai
Rivista italiana di musicologia
Milan, Conservatorio di Musica Giuseppe Verdi, Biblioteca
Gazzetta musicale di Milano
Music & Letters