Dominique Della-Maria

Born: 14th June 1769

Died: 9th March 1800

Birthplace: Marseilles, France

Dominique Della-Maria was a French composer of Italian origins. Delia Maria, resided in Italy for about ten years, during the latter part of which period he wrote light works for numerous secondary Italian theatres. He produced six operas, three of which were fairly successful, and one of the remainder, Il maestro di capella, exceedingly so; its popularity brought fame to its author. In 1796, Delia Maria returned to Marseilles, and later that year in Paris. He was absolutely unknown, but in a very short time his reputation was such that he found himself the guest and friend of the most renowned in literary and musical circles. The poet, Alexander Duval (1767-1842), wrote a complimentary article in the Decade Philosophique, concerning the young artist, and a few years later the two were most intimately associated. Duval mentions that one of his personal friends, to whom Delia Maria had been introduced, requested him to write some poem for the musician. Duval acting upon the earnest suggestion of his friend, made an appointment with Delia Maria. This interview proved to be the commencement of an intimate friendship; in Duval's words, Delia Maria's classical, soulful countenance and his natural and original demeanour, inspired a confidence in the poet that was found to be entirely justified. Duval had just completed Le prisonnier (The Prisoner), which had been commissioned for the Theatre Francais; however, the desire to gratify the request of Delia Maria convinced him to write an opera. After a few alterations and additions, Duval transformed the work to a lyric comedy. Within eight days after receiving the libretto, Delia Maria composed the music. The artists of the opera were so enthusiastic about the work during its rehearsals that its success was assured. It was performed in January 29, 1798, and the opera was published by Breitkopf & Hartel, Leipzig. It established the name of Delia Maria throughout France as an operatic composer of repute, for he immediately brought out six other operas, his works being now great favourites with Parisians.

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