Gaetano Donizetti was the most successful Italian opera composer of his generation, his music adored by audiences all over Europe, and a massive influence on younger operatic masters from Verdi to Offenbach (even Wagner, who detested his work, reveals its impact in Tristan und Isolde). Yet his life ended in bitter tragedy, and his reputation sank so quickly that it has taken over a century for it to recover. Jonathan Keates, at work on the first major biography of the composer for 60 years, considers the career of a lyric genius, the charm of the man himself and the way this pervades his music.
Jonathan Keates is a prizewinning author and critic, who has written extensively about Italy and music and is a specialist in Italian culture during the Risorgimento era. He is Chairman of the Venice in Peril Fund and was recently made an Ufficiale of Italy ‘s Stella d’Italia order. He is currently at work on a major biography of Gaetano Donizetti, which will be the first such for over 50 years.’
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