Composer Profile: Saverio Mercadante, One of Italy’s Overlooked Masters

By David Salazar

In his time, Saverio Mercadante, baptized on Sept. 17, 1795, was a well-known and well-liked composer.

We don’t live in his time.

The Italian maestro, born in Altamura, was even given the approval of Rossini and it was under the guidance of the Italian genius that Mercadante really started dedicating himself to writing operas. Rossini even invited him to Paris in the mid-1830s.

Mercadante did quite well for himself, writing over 60 works in his lifetime, shaping his own style to reflect something that would eventually be perfected and mastered by Verdi.

He worked in Austria, Spain, and Portugal throughout his career, though his greatest successes came in his native country.

Mercadante’s first opera, “L’apoteosi d’Ercole” premiered in 1819, with his final completed work, “Virginia,” appearing on stage for the first time in 1866.

Major Works

Today, few people know Mercadante’s operas at all, though “Il Giuramento” has been championed by a number of famed artists. Plácido Domingo, Agnes Baltsa, and Mara Zampieri recorded the opera in 1979.

Read More on Mercadante

5 Works That Could Lead To a Revival

Watch and Listen

Here is Il Giuramento from the Wexford Festival in 2002.


Opera Wiki