That Spontini was admired by both Berlioz and Wagner is probably due to his own inspiration by Gluck, but the fact that he made an indelible impression upon such antithetical natures confirms his importance in the development of grand opera as the century of Romanticism dawned. Early evidence of musical ability delivered him from a career in the priesthood, though his studies at Naples' Conservatorio della Pietá dei Turchini were soon abandoned. Having absorbed sufficient technique to employ the facile formulas of Italian opera, Spontini set out as a freelancer, appearing in 1796 with his first opera, Li Puntigli delle Donne, produced during the Roman Carnival. Its success enabled him to compose comic operas for Venice, Florence, and Naples. Association with Cimarosa in the latter city in 1798 seems to have been a turning point toward ...
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