Italian composer Giuseppe Saverio Raffaele Mercadante was born in Altamura and baptised on 17 September 1795. He studied at the Naples Conservatory - composition, flute and violin, was encouraged by Rossini and became conductor of the orchestra there, composing various symphonies and concertos for performance in Naples.
He began to compose operas, and was successful with his second work, Violenza e Constanza (1820). Later, Elisa e Claudio was a big success.
He worked in different cities - Cádiz, Lisbon, Madrid, Paris and Vienna, but returned to Italy in 1831 and became part of the 'reform movement', composing some of his most important operas, including Il giuramento, Elena da Feltre and, later, Orazi e Curiazi.
From 1840 Saverio Mercadante was director of the Naples Conservatory until his death in Naples on 17 December 1870. Although contributing to the foundations of Giuseppe Verdi's dramatic works, Mercadante's output was forgotten in the years following his death, but some works have occasionally been revived since.
CD Spotlight. Exceptional Poise and Musicality - Operatic arias played on trumpet, highly recommended by Gerald Fenech. 'Matilda Lloyd performs these phenomenal pieces with a captivating enthusiasm and irresistible grace ...'
CD Spotlight. More Operatic than Liturgical - Geoff Pearce listens to Mercadante's Messa Solenne. '... a most welcome recording of music by what is today a relatively little-known composer.'
Ensemble. Somewhat Heavy-handed - Donizetti's 'Roberto Devereux', reviewed by Maria Nockin
Musical Prowess - Robert Anderson's 'Opera Nights and Nightmares', read by Gerald Fenech
Ensemble. Lasting Magic - Giuseppe Pennisi was at the Italian premiere in Ravenna of Mercadante's 'I Due Figaro'
Ensemble. Superb from the word 'go' - Donizetti's last Tudor Queen returns to Rome, and Carmela Remigio enchants Giuseppe Pennisi