The Italian composer Gioachino Rossini was born on February 29, 1792.
Rossini composed The Barber of Seville, which is still one of the most popular operas in the repertoire. He wrote 38 other operas before taking early retirement from the theatre – at the age of 36.
Rossini composed very little in the last 30 years of his life, but he did assemble 14 volumes of little pieces for piano and small ensembles, called Sins of Old Age.
Not all of Rossini’s sins, or at least indulgences, were musical. He was a gourmand, and left his mark on restaurant menus with dishes such as Tournedos Rossini. He also left his mark on Loony Tunes cartoon writer Michael Maltese, who owes a tremendous debt to Rossini.