55. Giovanni Pacini (1796 – 1867)

Composer born in Catania, best known for his operas. During his lifetime, he produced much music of high caliber. His output of more than 70 stage works is staggering even compared to Rossini (41 operas) and Handel (43 operas). He will always be remembered, with Donizetti, as one of the most prolific composers in the history of opera.

His first 25 or so operas were written when Gioachino Rossini dominated the Italian operatic stage. For some years he held the post of “Director of the Teatro San Carlo in Naples. Later, retiring to Viareggio to found a school of music, Pacini took time to assess the state of opera in Italy and, during a five-year period during which he stopped composing, laid out his ideas in his Memoirs. Pacini’s style did change, but he quickly became eclipsed by the rising influence of Giuseppe Verdi on the Italian operatic scene. Pacini’s work is largely forgotten today, although some recordings do exist.

Pacini died in Pescia, Tuscany in 1867.


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