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Domenico Cimarosa

Domenico Cimarosa

Domenico Cimarosa (Italian: ; 17 December 1749, Aversa, Province of Caserta – 11 January 1801, Venice) was an Italian opera composer of the Neapolitan school. He wrote more than eighty operas during his lifetime, including his masterpiece, Il matrimonio segreto (1792).


  • Early life and education 1
  • Early career 2
  • Midlife 3
  • Main works 4
    • Operas 4.1
    • Instrumental music 4.2
  • Editions 5
  • References 6
  • External links 7

Early life and education

Cimarosa was born in Aversa in Campania.

His parents were poor, but, anxious to give their son a good education, they sent him to a free school connected with one of the monasteries in Naples after moving to that city. The organist of the monastery, Padre Polcano, was struck by the boy's intellect, and instructed him in the elements of music and also in the ancient and modern literature of his country. Because of his influence, Cimarosa obtained a scholarship at the musical institute of Santa Maria di Loreto in Naples, where he remained for eleven years, chiefly studying with great masters of the old Italian school; Niccolò Piccinni, Antonio Sacchini, and other musicians of repute are mentioned among his teachers.[1]

Early career

At the age of twenty-three, Cimarosa began his career as a composer with an opera buffa called Le stravaganze del conte, first performed at the Teatro del Fiorentini at Naples in 1772. The work met with approval, and was followed in the same year by Le pazzie di Stelladaura e di Zoroastro, a farce full of humour and eccentricity. This work was also successful, and the fame of the young composer began to spread all over Italy. In 1774, he was invited to Rome to write an opera for the stagione of that year; and there he produced another comic opera called L'italiana in Londra.[1]


Domenico Cimarosa

Over the next thirteen years, Cimarosa wrote a number of operas for the various theatres of Italy, living temporarily in Rome, in Naples, or wherever else his vocation as conductor of his works happened to take him. From 1784 to 1787, he lived in Florence, writing exclusively for the theatre of that city. The productions of this period of his life are very numerous, consisting of operas (both comic and serious), cantatas, and various sacred compositions. The following works may be mentioned, among many others: Cajo Mario; the three Biblical operas, Assalone, La giuditta, and Il sacrificio d'Abramo; Il convito di pietra; and La ballerina amante, a comic opera first performed at Venice with enormous success.[1]

In 1787, Cimarosa went to St. Petersburg by invitation of Empress Catherine II. He remained at her court for four years and wrote an enormous number of compositions, mostly of the nature of pièces d'occasion; of most of these, not even the names are on record. One important exception was a Requiem, entitled Messa da Requiem in G minor. The piece, composed in 1787, was commissioned to mark the death of the wife of the French ambassador in St. Petersburg. In 1792, Cimarosa left St. Petersburg and went to Vienna at the invitation of Emperor Leopold II. Here, he produced his masterpiece, Il matrimonio segreto, which ranks among the greatest examples of opera buffa (Verdi considered it the model opera buffa). In 1793, Cimarosa returned to Naples, where Il matrimonio segreto and other works were received with great acclaim. Among the works belonging to his last stay in Naples that may be mentioned is the charming opera, Le astuzie femminili.[1]

This period of his life is said to have been embittered by the intrigues of envious and hostile persons, including his old rival, Giovanni Paisiello. During the occupation of Naples by the troops of the French Republic, Cimarosa joined the liberal party, but on the return of the Bourbons was imprisoned along with many of his political friends (some say even condemned to death). His sentence was commuted to banishment when influential admirers interceded, and he left Naples with the intention of returning to St. Petersburg, but his health was broken and after much suffering he died in Venice on 11 January 1801 of an intestinal inflammation. The nature of his disease led to the rumor of his having been poisoned by his enemies; however, a formal inquest proved this to be unfounded. He worked until the last moment of his life, and one of his operas, Artemizia, remained unfinished at his death.[1] The place of his death is marked by a memorial in Campo San Angelo near the calle de Caffetier.

Main works


Studio Lirico, a summer program for opera singers patronized by University of South Carolina, produced, from 1992 to 1995, a lot of Cimarosa's operas (sometime in first production in modern time) by the Artistic direction of Talmage Fauntleroy, stage director, and Nick Rossi, musicologist. In Italy, from 2005 until now, Tuscan Opera Academy “Domenico Cimarosa” realized a summer program dedicated to Cimarosa's operas through the artistic and musical direction of Simone Perugini, composer, conductor, musicologist and Italian scholar of Cimarosa. Tuscan Opera Academy “Domenico Cimarosa” realizes two projects about the composer: the first one, called Centro cimarosiano di Studi for the publication of the opera omnia of the composer in critical edition (full score, vocal score and orchestral parts with commentary Foreword), the second one called The Opera Workshop for the production and set-up of composer's operas in critical editions by opera singers and instrumentalists expert on philological practice of 18th-century Italian music.


  • Le stravaganze del conte (carnival 1772 Naples Teatro San Giovanni dei Fiorentini) [Le magie di Merlina e Zoroastro; Le pazzie di Stelladaura e Zoroastro]
  • La finta parigina (carnival 1773 Naples Teatro Nuovo)
  • I sdegni per amore (1.1776 Naples Teatro Nuovo)
  • I matrimoni in ballo (carnival 1776 Naples Teatro Nuovo)
  • La frascatana nobile (winter 1776 Naples Teatro Nuovo) [La finta frascatana]
  • I tre amanti (carnival 1777 Rome Teatro Valle) [Le gare degl'amanti]
  • Il fanatico per gli antiche Romani (spring 1777 Naples Teatro San Giovanni dei Fiorentini)
  • L'Armida immaginaria (summer 1777 Naples Teatro (San Giovanni) dei Fiorentini)
  • Gli amanti comici, o sia La famiglia in scompiglio (1778? ?Naples Teatro (San Giovanni) dei Fiorentini; carnival 1796 Crema) [Il matrimonio in commedia; La famiglia stravagante, ovvero Gli amanti comici]
  • Il ritorno di Don Calandrino (carnival 1778 Rome Teatro Valle) [Armidoro e Laurina]
  • Le stravaganze d'amore (1778 Naples Teatro San Giovanni dei Fiorentini)
  • Il matrimonio per industria (1778? Naples?) [?]
  • La contessina (summer 1778 Bologna) [?] [+ G. Astaritta, F.L. Gassmann]
  • Il matrimonio per raggiro (1778/9? Rome?; carnival 1802 Rome Teatro Valle) [La donna bizzarra]
  • L'italiana in Londra (carnival 1779 Rome Teatro Valle) [La virtù premiata]
  • L'infedeltà fedele (summer 1779 Naples, Teatro del Fondo)
  • Le donne rivali (carnival 1780 Rome Teatro Valle) [et al.]
  • Cajo Mario (carnival 1780 Teatro delle Dame)
  • I finti nobili (carnival 1780 Naples Teatro San Giovanni dei Fiorentini)
  • Il falegname (1780 Naples F) [L'artista]
  • L'avviso ai maritati (1780? ?Naples Teatro San Giovann) dei Fiorentini) [?]
  • Il capriccio drammatico (1781? Turin?; 1794 London)
  • Il pittor parigino (carnival 1781 Rome Teatro Valle) [Le brame deluse]
  • Alessandro nell'Indie (carnival 1781 Rome A)
  • L'amante combattuto dalle donne di Punto (1781 Naples Teatro San Giovanni dei Fiorentini) [La biondolina; La giardiniera fortunata]
  • Giunio Bruto (aut.1781 Verona)
  • Giannina e Bernardone (aut.1781 Venice SS) [Il villano geloso]
  • Il convito (carnival 1782 Venice SS) [Der Schmaus]
  • L'amor costante (carnival 1782 Rome Teatro Valle) [Giulietta ed Armidoro]
  • L'eroe cinese (13.8.1782 Naples SC)
  • La ballerina amante (1782 Naples Teatro San Giovanni dei Fiorentini) [L'amante ridicolo]
  • La Circe (carnival 1783 Milan S)
  • I due baroni di Rocca Azzurra (carnival 1783 Rome Teatro Valle) [Dve nevesty; I due baroni; La sposa in contrasto; Il barone deluso]
  • La villana riconosciuta (1783 Naples Teatro del Fondo) [La villanella rapita]
  • Oreste (13.8.1783 Naples SC)
  • Chi dell'altrui si veste presto si spoglia (1783 Naples F) [Nina e Martuffo]
  • Il vecchio burlato (1783 Venice) [?]
  • I matrimoni impensati (carnival 1784 Rome Teatro Valle) [La bella greca]
  • L'apparenza inganna, o sia La villeggiatura (spring 1784 Naples F)
  • La vanità delusa (spring 1784 Florence P) [Il mercato di Malmantile]
  • L'Olimpiade (10.7.1784 Vicenza)
  • I due supposti conti, ossia Lo sposo senza moglie (aut.1784 Milan S) [Lo sposo ridicolo]
  • Artaserse (26.12.1784 Turin TR)
  • Il barone burlato (1784 Naples Teatro Nuovo) [rev. Il pittor parigino] [+ F. Cipolla]
  • Li finti conti (spring 1785 Turin, Gallo-Ughetti) [?]
  • I fratelli papamosche (spring 1785 Turin, Gallo-Ughetti) [?]
  • Le statue parlante (1785 Correggio) [?]
  • Il marito disperato (1785 Naples F) [Il marito geloso; Die bestrafte Eifersucht]
  • La donna sempre al suo peggior s'appiglia (1785 Naples Teatro Nuovo)
  • Il credulo (carnival 1786 Naples Teatro Nuovo) [La baronessa stramba; Il credulo deluso]
  • Le trame deluse (1786 Naples Teatro Nuovo) [L'amor contrastato; Li raggiri scoperti]
  • L'impresario in angustie (1786 Naples Teatro Nuovo) [Die theatralischen Abenteuer]
  • La baronessa stramba (1786 Naples Teatro Nuovo) [rev. I matrimoni in ballo] [Il credulo]
  • Gli amanti alla prova (1786 Naples) [?]
  • L'impostore punito (1786/7 Turin C) [?]
  • Volodimiro (carnival 1787 Turin TR)
  • Il fanatico burlato (1787 Naples Teatro del Fondo) [La burla felice; Der adelsüchtige Bürger]
  • Messa da Requiem in G minor (1787 St Petersburg E)
  • La felicità inaspettata (3.1788 St Petersburg E)
  • La vergine del sole (1788? ?St Petersburg E; 6.11.1789 St Petersburg BK)
  • La scuffiara (1788) [?]
  • La Cleopatra (27.9.1789 St Petersburg E) [Cleopatra e Marc'Antonio]
  • Il matrimonio segreto (7.2.1792 Vienna B), score
  • Sophie et Dorval () [rev. Il matrimonio segreto]
  • Il matrimonio per susurro () [?]
  • La calamità dei cuori (1792/3 Vienna B) [?]
  • Contrattempi (1793 Bonn) [?]
  • Amor rende sagace (1.4.1793 Vienna B)
  • I traci amanti (19.6.1793 Naples Teatro Nuovo) [Il padre alla moda, ossia Lo Sbarco di Mustanzir Bassà; Gli turchi amanti; Les amants Turcs]
  • Il maestro di cappella (2.7.1793 Berlin, Germany)
  • Le astuzie femminili (26.8.1794 Naples Teatro (San Giovanni) dei Fiorentini)
  • La pupilla astuta (1794 Naples Teatro del Fondo) [?]
  • La serva innamorata (1794 Naples F) [?]
  • Penelope (carnival 1795 Naples Teatro del Fondo)
  • Le nozze in garbuglio (1795 Messina)
  • L'impegno superato (1795 Naples Teatro del Fondo)
  • La finta ammalata (1796 Lisbon)
  • I nemici generosi (carnival 1796 Rome Teatro Valle) [Il duello per complimento]
  • Gli Orazi e i Curiazi (carnival 1797 Venice F)
  • La morte di Assalonne (? Florence, Oratorio) [rev. Gli Orazi ed i Curiazi]
  • Achille all'assedio di Troja (carnival 1797 Rome A)
  • L'imprudente fortunato (carnival 1797 Rome Teatro Valle)
  • Artemisia regina di Caria (summer 1797 Naples SC)
  • Attilio Regolo (carnival 1797 Reggio) [?]
  • Le nozze di Lauretta (1797? Turin) [?]
  • L'apprensivo raggirato (1798 Naples Teatro San Giovanni dei Fiorentini)
  • Il secreto (aut.1798 Turin C)
  • Semiramide (1799 Naples F) [?]
  • Il conte di bell'amore () [?]
  • L'arte contro l'arte (carnival 1800 Alexandria) [?]
  • Artemisia (carnival 1801 Venice F)
  • Il nuovo podestà (spring 1802 Bologna) [?]
  • Tiro Vespasiano (1821 Lisbon) [?]
  • La discordia fortunata () [?]
  • L'ajo nell'imbarazzo () [?]
  • Le donne vendicate () [?]
  • Il cavalier del dente () [?]
  • La Molinara (incomplete) [?]

Instrumental music

  • 88 sonate for harpsichord or fortepiano
  • Overture from the opera "The Secret Marriage" early transcription for Harpsichord (Organo or Piano), Wien, Cappi [XIX sec.], Capua, Esarmonia 2010
  • Sinfonia in B major for 2 oboi, 2 corni e archi
  • Sinfonia in D major (attribuita anche a Josef Mysliveček)
  • Concerto for harpsichord or fortepiano in si bemolle maggiore
  • Concerto for Oboe and String Orchestra
  • Concerto per 2 flauti e orchestra in sol maggiore (1793)
  • Sestetto in G major for fortepiano, fagotto, 2 violini, viola e violoncello
  • Sestetto in F major for fortepiano organizzato, arpa, fagotto, violino, viola da gamba e violoncello
  • 6 quartets (re maggiore, sol maggiore, do maggiore, fa maggiore, do maggiore, la minore) per flauto, violino, viola e violoncello
  • Requiem (1787) Sol mineur (see version Victorio Negri- Sept.1968 CD Philips 422 489-2)


  • Stefano Faglia, Franca Saini (ed.): Il mercato di Malmantile, Florence, 1784. Monza, Accademia Musicale IAMR, 2012. Lucca, Libreria Musicale Italiana (LIM), 2012.
  • Stefano Faglia, Franca Saini (ed.): Li due Baroni, Rome, 1783. Monza, Accademia Musicale IAMR, 2013. Lucca, Libreria Musicale Italiana (LIM), 2013.
  • Cimarosa, Domenico – Perugini, Simone (a cura di) – L'impresario in angustie, farsa per musica in un atto, edizione critica della versione viennese del 1793 (partitura, riduzione canto&pianoforte, parti orchestrali), Artaria Edition Limited, New Zealand, 2013.
  • Cimarosa, Domenico – Perugini, Simone (a cura di) – Il convito, dramma giocoso per musica in due atti, edizione critica dell'opera (partitura, riduzione canto&pianoforte, parti orchestrali), Edizioni Accademia Lirica Toscana "Domenico Cimarosa", Firenze, 2013.
  • Cimarosa, Domenico – Perugini, Simone (a cura di) – La vanità delusa [Il mercato di Malmantile], dramma giocoso per musica in due atti, edizione critica dell'opera (partitura, riduzione canto&pianoforte, parti orchestrali), Edizioni Accademia Lirica Toscana "Domenico Cimarosa", Firenze, 2013.
  • Cimarosa, Domenico – Perugini, Simone (a cura di) – Li sposi per accidenti, Farsetta per musica in un atto, edizione critica dell'opera (partitura, riduzione canto&pianoforte, parti orchestrali), Edizioni Accademia Lirica Toscana "Domenico Cimarosa", in preparazione.
  • Storni Trevisan, Maria – Nel primo centenario della morte di Domenico Cimarosa 1801–1901, Venezia, 1901
  • Vitale, R. – Domenico Cimarosa, la vita e le opere / Aversa, 1929
  • Biamonti, Giovanni – Il matrimonio segreto di Domenico Cimarosa / Roma, 1930
  • Tibaldi Chiesa, Mary – Cimarosa e il suo tempo / Milano, 1939
  • Schlitzer, Franco – Goethe e Cimarosa / Siena, 1950
  • Rossi, Nick – Fauntleroy, Talmage – Domenico Cimarosa, his life and his operas / Greenwood Press, 1999
  • Perugini, Simone – Per far le cose in fretta. Il caso de "La vanità delusa" di Domenico Cimarosa tra Goldoni, Lorenzi, assistenti e impresari, Edizioni Accademia Lirica Toscana "Domenico Cimarosa", Firenze, 2011.
  • Perugini, Simone – I matrimoni (quasi) segreti: la famiglia Cimarosa tra Domenico, Cecilia, Gaetana, due Costanze, Paolo e Raffaele, Edizioni Accademia Lirica Toscana "Domenico Cimarosa", Firenze, 2014.


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  • The specific information on the Messa da Requiem in G minor was taken from the liner notes, written by Keith Anderson, for the 2010 Naxos recording of the piece.

External links

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