In 1868 Gioachino Rossini died in Passy, today a district of Paris. There is no doubt that the “Swan of Pesaro” is one of the best-known composers of all time. Yet, despite his high renown, Rossini’s artistic personality has often been misunderstood, to the extent that even today certain stereotypes survive that do not take into account his contrasting facets. He was indeed an affable, witty man, but at the same time reserved and melancholic; an artist who always claimed to be a man of the eighteenth century although his operas represented a moment of renewal on the Italian and European scenes of the nineteenth century.
There is no simple means by which to understand the enigma that was Rossini, if not by listening to his music, or as he himself maintained, to the “moral atmosphere” in which the characters of his numerous masterpieces moved.