CIMAROSA, DOMENICO (1749 IS01). An Italian composer of operas, born as the son of a poor mason, at Aversa, near Naples. He studied music at the Conservatory of Santa Maria di Loreto, under Manna, Sacciiini, Fena roli, and Piceinni. His first opera, Le straraganzc det recite (1772), achieved fair success, and he two years he had a reputation in all the leading theatres of Italy, having composed half a dozen operas, and surpassing in popularity all com posers then living, Paisiello and Mozart among them. In 1779 his L'Italiana in Londra was given in Rome, and other operas followed in rapid succession. He accepted a call to go to Saint Petersburg as composer, and conductor of the Italian opera, but the severe climate compelled him to leave this lucrative post after three years (17S9-92). Vienna received him with distin guished honors, and II inatrimonio scgreto, pro duced there, had remarkable success. In Naples it had an unprecedented run of sixty-seven nights in 1793. Of the operas written subsequently, the
most famous was Le astuzie feminili (1794). In 1799 he joined a secret revolutionary society in Naples; the plot was discovered, and Cimarosa was sentenced to death, but this decree was com muted to exile. He died suddenly in Venice, and his friends accused the Government of poisoning him. However, an autopsy proved the allegation unfounded. In all. he wrote about eighty operas, of which number II mat rimonio still holds the stage. The greater number are comic operas, which picture the light-heartedness and gayety of life of the last quarter of the eighteenth eentury. In his serious operas. such as Gli Grazi e Curia:4 and ArtaRorNe. Cimarosa displays some power of characterization. coupled with original orchestral effects, masterly handling of (Lamatie situations, and tragic force, fully equal to his rich vein of comedy.