Other Free Encyclopedias » Online Encyclopedia » Encyclopedia - Featured Articles » Contributed Topics from A-E

Cimarosa, Domenico

naples opera venice organist

Cimarosa, Domenico, famous Italian composer; b. Aversa, near Naples, Dec. 17, 1749; d. Venice, Jan. 11, 1801. He was the son of a stonemason. After his father’s death, his mother placed him in the monastery school of the church of S. Severo dei Padri Conventuali in Naples, where he began his musical training with Father Pol-cano, the monastery organist. He then enrolled at the Cons, di S. Maria di Loreto (1761), where he studied voice, violin, and keyboard playing with Fenaroli, P.A. Gallo, and Careáis. Following his graduation in 1771, he studied voice with Giuseppe Aprile. His first opera, Le stravaganze del conte, was staged in Naples in 1772. From 1776 he composed operas at a prolific rate, producing about 65 works for the major Italian opera centers as well as those abroad. In 1779 he was named supernumerary organist of the Royal Chapel in Naples; in 1785 he became its second organist. He also served for a time as maestro of the Ospedaletto, a cons, for girls in Venice. In 1787 he was given the post of maestro di cappella to the court of Catherine the Great in St. Petersburg. During his Russian sojourn, he wrote three operas and various other works for the court and the nobility. However, the court cut back on its funding of music and Cimarosa’s contract was allowed to lapse in 1791. He proceeded to Vienna, where Emperor Leopold II appointed him Kapellmeister. He then composed his masterpiece, II matrimonio segreto, which was premiered with great acclaim at the Burgtheater on Feb. 7, 1792. The Emperor was so taken by the opera that he ordered that it be repeated that evening, undoubtedly the most elaborate encore in operatic annals. The opera’s fame spread throughout Europe, and Cimarosa returned to Italy in 1793 as one of the most celebrated musicians of the age. In 1796 he was appointed first organist of the Royal Chapel in Naples. In 1799 he welcomed the republican movement in Naples by composing a patriotic hymn for the burning of the royal flag; however, the monarchy was restored later that year and Cimarosa’s efforts miscarried. In consequence of this, he was arrested in Dec. 1799 and sent to prison for four months.

He was released only after the intervention of several prominent individuals. He then went to Venice, where he died while working on his opera Artemisia. It was rumored abroad that he had been poisoned by order of Queen Caroline of Naples; the rumor was so persistent, and popular feelings so pronounced, that the Pope’s personal physician, Piccioli, was sent to Venice to make an examination; according to his sworn statement (April 5, 1801), Cimarosa died of a gangrenous abdominal tumor.

Cimarosa was an outstanding composer of Italian opera buffa in his day. His melodic inventiveness, command of form, superb vocal writing, and masterly orchestration were unexcelled until Rossini arrived upon the scene.

Cinader, Arthur - Overview, Personal Life, Career Details, Chronology: Arthur Cinader, Social and Economic Impact [next] [back] Cillario, Carlo Felice

User Comments

Your email address will be altered so spam harvesting bots can't read it easily.
Hide my email completely instead?

Cancel or