Gaetano Donizetti, Italian Composer - he was born in Bergamo on 29th November 1797. He, Bellini and Rossini were the three great masters of the opera style known as bel canto. Bel canto operas had set numbers of separate arias and ensembles that featured particularly florid vocal writing designed to show off the human voice to maximum effect. These works demanded great virtuosity from the singers and served as star vehicles for leading operatic performers. Donizetti dominated the Italian opera scene during the years between Bellini`s death and Verdi`s rise to fame after Nabucco.
Donizetti`s musical talents were apparent at an early age, and he was admitted to the Lezioni Caritatevoli school on full scholarship when he was nine years old. The school was founded by Simon Mayr, who had a significant influence upon Donizetti`s musical development and helped the young composer launch his professional career. Mayr sent Donizetti to Padre Stanislao Mattei, the teacher of Rossini, for further compositional instruction. Mayr also partially paid for the lessons with Mattei and arranged for Bartolomeo Merelli to write the librettos for Donizetti`s early stage works.
In all he wrote a massive 69 operas his first 30 or so are not on the whole very remarkable, but after 1830 things started to turn around, this was brought about by the triumphal success of Anna Bolena.
In the last year of his life his health deteriorated, finally collapsing into paralysis and insanity the final stages of a venereal disease, he died in Bergamo on 8th April 1848.