Rossini’s seven lucrative years in Napoli


On a recent trip in Napoli I came across the one-time home of Giachino Rossini. We missed the sign on Via Toledo the first couple times because it’s right next to an extremely popular fried-food joint. The swarms of people were not there for an operatic legend.

Rossini wasn’t a lifelong resident of the city, as you see from the sign. But his seven years in this coastal city were profitable. From Wikipedia:

In 1815 he retired to his home in Bologna, where Domenico Barbaia, the impresario of the Naples theatre, contracted an agreement that made him musical director of the Teatro di San Carlo and the Teatro del Fondo at Naples. He would compose one opera a year for each. His payment was to be 200 ducats per month; he was also to receive a share from the gambling tables set in the theatre’s “ridotto”, amounting to about 1000 ducats per annum. This was an extraordinarily lucrative arrangement for any professional musician at that time. He visited the Naples conservatory, and, although less than four years senior to Mercadante, he said to the Director Niccolò Zingarelli, “My compliments Maestro – your young pupil Mercadante begins where we finish.” Some older composers in Naples, notably Zingarelli and Paisiello, were inclined to intrigue against the success of the youthful composer, but all hostility was rendered futile by the enthusiasm that greeted the court performance of his Elisabetta, regina d’Inghilterra.

Gambling in Teatro di San Carlo, right next to the Royal Palace! Sheldon Adelson’s ears just perked up.


By Will Roseliep

Writer for different outlets. Personal work appears here first:

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