The Formative Years (1792–1810)
The family into which Gioachino Rossini was born on February 29, 1792 lacked both status and money; yet at his baptism in the city’s ancient cathedral later that same day, two local grandees stood as godparents: the noble signer Conte Paolo Macchirelli Giordani, civic magistrate and city standard-bearer, and the noble signora Catterina Semproni-Giovannelli. For the child Rossini, it was the best of times, the worst of times, exciting and disorientating. In his middle years he became ultraconservative. The revolutions of 1830 and 1848, coming in the wake of the long-drawn-out Napoleonic wars, his own exacerbated nerves, and the drift towards the right which tends to come naturally with age gave him a not unreasonable loathing of those who would seek endlessly to disorder the world. Italian society certainly began to change in the late 1790s, not least in the arts, where a process of democratization set in.
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