The Greek National Opera commemorates the 150th anniversary of Gioachino Rossini's death with a concert in which outstanding artists will interpret known excerpts from the composer's operas. In collaboration with the Rossini Opera Festival in Pesaro, the Gala forms part of the “Tempo Forte” cultural events included in the three-year long cooperation programme between the Ministries of Culture of Greece and Italy.
Antonio Gioachino Rossini was born in Pesaro in 1792. In 1806 he enrolled at the Accademia Filarmonica of Bologna, where, as a student, he composed his first opera. Success came soon: in 1812 his comic opera La pietra del paragone was performed at La Scala in Milan, while in 1813 two works, the serious Tancredi and the comic Italiana in Algeri, carried his name beyond the borders of the Italian peninsula. In 1814 he assumed the post of director for both of Naples' most important opera houses, for which he penned some of his most important works. A number of these were composed especially for the singer Isabella Colbran, whom the composer married in 1822.
Among these are Otello (1816), Armida (1817), Mosè in Egitto (1818), Ermione (1819), La donna del lago (1819), Maometto ΙΙ (1820) and Zelmira (1822).
In 1822 Rossini travelled to Vienna where he met Beethoven. In 1824 he settled in Paris, where, in 1829, he staged Guillaume Tell, his very last opera. Rossini stopped writing for the stage and spent the last 39 years of his life composing mainly songs for voice and piano as well as sacred music. He died in Paris in 1868. His remains were taken to Florence in 1887.