The Rossini described in these pages is quite different from the one depicted in traditional portraits: child prodigy, singer, musician, composer, Mozart and Haydn scholar He will be often berated, even as an adult, for this "German imprint". He was both jovial and demanding, prone to ill-tempered outbursts. As a child he was immersed - by a musician father and a soprano mother - in the adventurous world of theatre. An advocate of Haydn and Beethoven, a fertile composer of playful and tragic melodramas, wavering between Neoclassicism and Romanticism, he was already famous at 21. The text recounts the early signs of nervous frailty, the alternation of coldly received or "stormy" premieres with triumphs, praise and negative appraisals, the "Rossini fever" and the "Rossini wars", and his travels to Vienna, London, and Paris, where he helped revitalise opera before falling ill and passing away. He felt a deep nostalgia for Bologna, and then fought with the city on account of the political passions that pervaded his entire life, surrounded as it was by revolutions and restorations. At least a few of the secret faces of this many-sided European genius - friend of Metternich and yet bard of freedom - are here revealed.
Vittorio Emiliani, was a reporter for the newspapers "Il Giorno" and "Il Messaggero", the chief editor of the latter for seven years, and is now a columnist.