FRANCESCO MORLACCHI (1784 - 1841)
Morlacchi was born in Perugia on 14 June 1784 and received his first musical tuition from his uncle, who was employed as cathedral organist in Perugia. In 1803–04 he studied with Nicola Zingarelli, who was chief conductor in Loreto at the time, later becoming director of the conservatory in Naples. He went on to pursue his further studies in 1805–07 with Padre Mattei in Bologna, whose school Rossini also attended from 1806.
He made a prompt debut as an operatic composer with the one-act farce Il poeta disperato (Florence, 1807), which seemed to suggest the beginning of a typical operatic career. Nine further operas followed in rapid succession until 1810, which took Morlacchi via provincial theatres as far as La Scala in Milan and Rome’s Teatro Argentina.
His personal associations with a female opera singer and close friend then led him somewhat surprisingly to Dresden, where he was initially engaged as deputy music director in 1810. Following the success of his Raoul de Crequi in 1811, he was appointed music director for life. This meant that he found himself in the well-nigh ideal position for an Italian composer of operas of being excused the obligation of mass production and having largely free rein to compose as he chose. It is therefore understandable that he remained in the post for the rest of his life, even though he had the opportunity to succeed Rossini in Naples in 1822.