Donizetti: the most famous bergamasque in the world
The Museo Donizettiano is an evocative place that invites visitors to explore the life and work of the famous composer and Bergamo native, Gaetano Donizetti. Inside the museum, music fans and curious visitors can admire a vast collection of scores, letters, portraits and objects that tell the story of the great composer’s life.
A programme of celebrations in Bergamo for Donizetti
The first thing that visitors see at the museum is a poster-programme of the events organized in honour of what would have been Gaetano Donizetti’s 100th birthday, dated August-September 1897. In Bergamo, local and international committees seized the occasion to remember the composer. Music and Donizetti’s operas were at the heart of the celebrations, but that’s not all: art competitions, charity raffles, and popular entertainment aimed to engage the entire citizenry in the memory of the great local opera composer.
This lithograph is proof of the importance and fame that Donizetti achieved within the European music scene. Among the caricatures of the leading musicians active in Paris in 1843, the one of Donizetti stands out, at the centre of the scene. A very active composer (so much so that he was dubbed ‘Dozzinetti’ by his detractors, a reference in Italian to ‘ordinary’ or ‘second-rate’ work), Donizetti is dressed in the uniform of a maestro of the Habsburg court, busy churning out scores at an industrial pace.
Portrait of Donizetti
In 1815, composer and maestro Simon Mayr, increasingly convinced of Donizetti’s exceptional talent, persuaded several patrons from Bergamo and the local ‘Charity Congregation’ to finance young Gaetano’s studies in Bologna at the city’s Philharmonic Lyceum. The work of painter Biagio Martini, this portrait dates back to the time Donizetti spent in Bologna. It was commissioned by the new student of the music school as an appreciated gift to Mayr, his teacher and benefactor.
The origins of the Museo Donizettiano date back to 1897 when, for the 100th anniversary of the composer’s birth, the large exhibition dedicated to him gave rise to the idea of creating a permanent exhibition about him in the city.
Behind the Church of Santa Maria Maggiore, in the quiet Via Arena is the Domus Magna building, seat of the Misericordia Maggiore Congregation: here, on the first floor, is the Museo Donizettiano. The exhibition sheds light on the life, work and personality of Donizetti, a leading figure in early 19th-century European musical theatre.
Autograph scores, portraits, letters and objects from his private life shape a fascinating journey: the great composer’s words and music are your guide. In 2015, after a brief period of closure for restoration, the museum reopened to the public, with a new display that includes sound and interactive stations to listen to Donizetti’s work.
Discover the museum
From his early musical experiences as a young man with the maestro Simon Mayr, to national and European success, and his difficult last days marked by illness: a five-stage journey through Gaetano Donizetti’s life.
The 1897 celebrations
Prelude to the creation of a permanent museum dedicated to the composer
Early studies (1806-1817)
In Bergamo and Bologna, young Gaetano learns his craft
The composer gets his start (1818-1822)
Upon returning from Bologna, Donizetti began working for theatres in Bergamo and Italy
A long career as a composer (1822-1845)
Building upon his success in Italy, Donizetti gained popularity throughout Europe
Donizetti, the man: in private, at work
Donizetti’s private life emerges from his epistolary and some of his everyday objects
Thusday – Sunday : 10-17
Closed on Christmas and New Year’s Eve
The building has architectural barriers.
Small dogs are allowed but must be kept in a pet carrier. Guide dogs are permitted at all times.
Amici del Museo delle storie di Bergamo, University students up to 26 years old, Groups of 15 people, discounts
Under 18, disabled people, ICOM members, accredited journalists, qualified tour guides,
Abbonamento Musei Lombardia