Giovanni Paisiello painted by
Élisabeth-Louise Vigée-Le Brun
May 9, 2012
By Giovanni di Napoli
Giovanni Paisiello was born on May 9th, 1740 in Roccaforzata, a small town near Taranto in the Apulian region of the Kingdom of the Two Sicilies. The son of a veterinarian, he received his first instruction in music at the local Jesuit school, which he attended for eight years. The boy's musical talent soon attracted the attention of Don Girolamo Carducci, who, in 1754, succeeded in having the youth attend the Conservatorio di S. Onofrio, Naples' preeminent institution for musical training.
During his first year at the conservatorio the young Paisiello studied under the celebrated Neapolitan composer, Francesco Durante (1684-1755). Focusing mostly on sacred music (psalms, etc.), Paisiello eventually composed a successful comic intermezzo, which led to commissions from the Teatro Marsigli-Rossi di Bologna. In 1764 he wrote the opera Il Ciarlone, then I francesi brillanti, establishing his reputation in Northern Italy as a major composer in the operatic genre known as opera buffa. Continue reading