The Life of Rossini

By Stendhal

Translated by Richard N. Coe

ISBN: 9781847494474

600 pages

RRP: £13.59

Rossini’s success in Italy in the early 1820s was certainly not echoed in France, where he was regarded as “an ill-bred parvenu, whose cheap popularity was an insult to a great musical tradition”. Stendhal was the first of his contemporaries to recognize the genius of this important Italian composer.

Besides being a fascinating and penetrating account of the Italian composer’s most creative years, and of contemporary musical events and opinions, this work is one of the finest items in the Stendhalian literary canon. Details of Rossini’s early life are followed by penetrating discussions of the operas, libretti, personalities of the period and Rossini’s own character.

Also available in our Calder Opera Guide series: La Cenerentola (Cinderella) and Il barbiere di Siviglia / Moïse et Pharaon


  • No more informative or thorough book on Rossini is ever likely to be written.

    The Guardian

  • The best appreciation of Rossini ever written.

    Ernest Newman

  • Lovers of Rossini, of Stendhal, even of Mozart, will all be delighted.

    Cyril Connolly


Marie-Henri Beyle (1783–1842), better known by his pen name Stendhal, is one of the foremost Romantic novelists. His masterpieces include The Red and the Black and The Charterhouse of Parma.