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Saverio Mercadante

Saverio Mercadante (Altamura, 17 September 1795 - Naples, 17 December 1870) was an Italian composer. In 1799 he escaped death thanks to his mother who, during the sacking of the city by the Sanfedists, providentially gave himself away. He was a pupil of Giovanni Furno, Giacomo Tritto and Nicola Antonio Zingarelli in Naples, where he was joined by Vincenzo Bellini and patriot musician Piero Maroncelli. Here he made his debut as a theatrical composer in 1819, at the age of twenty-four, with L'apoteosi d'Ercole. It was established two years later, in 1821, at La Scala in Milan with Elisa and Claudio and, subsequently, his works were represented in major Italian and European centers, in particular in Vienna. After having stayed, from 1827 to 1829, in Spain and Portugal, he was appointed, in 1833, a chapel master at the cathedral of Novara for six years. In 1832 he married Sofia Gambaro, a young Genoese widow with three children, from whom she had three other children: Serafina, Osvino and Saverio. In 1836, at the invitation of Rossini, he went to Paris where, at the Théâtre Italien, he had the brigands represented. For thirty years, from 1840 until his death in 1870, he directed the Naples Conservatory.