5 curious facts about Gaetano Donizetti


  1. Gaetano Donizetti was working very fast. He created one opera for two, three weeks, and sometimes he managed to compose five, six opuses for only one year. The number of all operas by the composer exceeds 70!
  2. Donizetti used the specific sound of the glass harmonica, when he was composing the famous scene of the going mad of the main character from “Lucia di Lammermoor”. At the end of the 19th century, the instrument went out of use and in the scores it was replaced by a flute. In the last 15 years, the interest in the unusual sound increased again.
  3. Donizetti liked exceptionally his work as professor because of the aid he was rendering to young composers. He himself shared: “When I will not be in my bloom, someone else has to take my place. The world wants something new. Others gave up their places to us and we must give up our places to others... I am more than happy to give my place to talented people like Verdi”.
  4. The composer’s state of health was very bad and with the years he became more and more seriously sick. During decades Donizetti suffered from fever, headache, nausea, photophobia, for which there was no real diagnosis. In 1845 he was struck by paralysis, followed by quick dementia. Till his death in the beginning of 1848, he remained almost unsociable.
  5. Besides operas, Donizetti created also a good deal of opuses in other genres.. In total his works amount to 75 operas, 16 symphonies, 19 string quartets, 193 songs, 45 duets, 3 oratorios, 28 cantatas and not a few instrumental concerts, sonatas and chamber works.


5+1 Donizetti is known for his unsurpassed comic operas. The composer often used the popular Commedia dell'arte as creative driving power and inspiration. Namely after the plot of this Italian traditional professional theatre was written the opera DON PASQUALE.

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