Despite his long life, this native of Pesaro, Italy (who moved to Bologna at the age of 12) pursued a remarkably short career as an operatic composer, for he retired from stage work in 1829 after a remarkable stretch as opera's most spectacular young genius. It seems to have been some kind of nevous condition which impelled him to avoid the pressures of the very iffy world of producing new operas. For the last 40 years of his life, approximately, he lived handsomely off the proceeds of his operas, composing dozens of charming piano miniatures (known collectively under the title Sins of Old Age) and a couple of large church works for soloists, chorus, and orchestra. The style of Rossini's
time was considered old-fashioned for a considerable period of time. Most of his operas were virtually ignored, though his two most popular operas, The Barber of Seville
and L'Italiana in Algeri always retained their popularity. Recently the operatic world has appreciated a major Rossini
He introduced major innovations in the craft of composing operas. He was one of the first to dispense with using a keyboard instrument to accompany the recitatives (the quasi-spoken passages in which most of the story is conveyed). He expanded the color of the orchestra, was one of the first to write out the decorative passages for the singers (before these were largely improvised), and virtually created the standard form of an aria consisting of contrasting "cavatina" (slower) and "caballeto" (faster) passages. In the end he transformed the sound and effect of opera and set the preconditions of the formal innovations of Verdi
And he was remarkably prolific, as the attached list of his compositions will show. If the majority of these titles are unfamiliar, one must remember that Rossini
was one of the legendary fast workers of music history, virtually pouring out music, often to texts which nowadays are pretty inferior.