Barbaja, Domenico


A famous Italian impresario. Under his direction many of Rossini's operas and several of Bellini's and Donizetti's were presented. He was* opera manager in the cities of Vienna, Milan and Naples. Barbaja rose to a place of much importance in the world of music, and to great popularity, from a very humble beginning. He came of a poor family in Milan, in his youth serving as a waiter in a coffee-house in that city. Later he is heard of as manager of a riding-circus in England, and then as lessee and director of theatres in Naples. From 1821 to 1828 he had direction of two theatres at the Austrian capital, and while impresario in Vienna there appeared under his management the very best talent of the time. He introduced Rossini to the Viennese; Bellini's first opera was brought out by Barbaja in Naples, and his second opera produced in Milan under Barbaja's management. In Milan, the city where once he served as waiter in a coffee-house, he found himself manager of the wellknown theatre, La Scala. He was also manager of the famous San Carlo at Naples. His association with the brilliant composer, Rossini, is thus spoken of by Emil Naumann in his History of Music: "In the year 1815 Rossini had entered into an agreement with Barbaja, an enterprising impresario at Naples, who had perceived what a source of wealth would be open to him through the talent of the gifted composer. By this contract, Barbaja had the sole right of producing the master's operas, supplying him with libretti and performers, an agreement which suited the taste of the indolent maestro." The famous impresario died at Posilipo, Oct. 16, 1841.