Personalities | Antonio Salieri | Classical Era | Opera

1750–1825, Italian

When he was 16, Antonio Salieri was the protégé of the Bohemian composer Florian Gassmann (1729–74), who brought him to Vienna in 1766. Gassmann was influential at the imperial court and, as well as teaching Salieri composition, introduced him to some very high-ranking contacts. Salieri’s first surviving opera, written when he was 20, was Le donne letterate (‘The Cultured Ladies’, 1770). It was a success, so much so that only four years later, Salieri – still only 24 – was appointed court composer to the Austrian Emperor Joseph II.

In 1784, he succeeded Gluck at the Paris Opéra, where he was regarded as Gluck’s true successor. His exalted, original and rather austere post-Gluckian operas, Les Danaïdes (‘The Danaids’, 1784) and Tarare (1787), were his greatest accomplishments while in Paris. In 1788, he became Kapellmeister to the Austrian court, and in this post Salieri was in charge of Italian opera. Salieri’s life and work was now centred on Vienna, where he wrote some 30 operas, including both opera seria and opera buffa, including La fiera di Venezia (‘The Fair of Venice’, 1772) and Falstaff (1799), although he was interested in combining both elements in a single work. Most Salieri operas were produced in Vienna, but he also scored much success in Milan, Venice and Rome. Salieri’s output observed the musical conventions of his era and show Gluck’s influence, with accompanied recitative, dramatic choral writing and careful declamation. His popularity, considerable in his lifetime, failed to endure once that era was past.

Introduction | Classical Era | Opera
Major Operas | Les Danaïdes by Antonio Salieri | Classical Era
Personalities | Emanuel Schikaneder | Classical Era | Opera
Houses & Companies | Paris Opéra | High Romantic | Opera


An extensive music information resource, bringing together the talents and expertise of a wide range of editors and musicologists, including Stanley Sadie, Charles Wilson, Paul Du Noyer, Tony Byworth, Bob Allen, Howard Mandel, Cliff Douse, William Schafer, John Wilson...


Classical, Rock, Blues, Jazz, Country and more. Flame Tree has been making encyclopaedias and guides about music for over 20 years. Now Flame Tree Pro brings together a huge canon of carefully curated information on genres, styles, artists and instruments. It's a perfect tool for study, and entertaining too, a great companion to our music books.

Rock, A Life Story

Rock, A Life Story

The ultimate story of a life of rock music, from the 1950s to the present day.

David Bowie

David Bowie

Fantastic new, unofficial biography covers his life, music, art and movies, with a sweep of incredible photographs.