(b Roccaforzata, nr. Taranto, 1740; d Naples, 1816).
It. composer. In youth wrote mainly church mus., but discovered flair for opera buffa and wrote his first comic operas for Bologna 1764. Settled in Naples as rival of Piccinni, then of Cimarosa. Went to St Petersburg 1776 as court cond. and master of It. opera to Catherine the Great, while there composing his Il barbiere di Siviglia (1782) which had such great success in It. that Rossini's later setting (1816) encountered resentment. Returned to Naples 1784 as court cond. to Ferdinand IV. Sided with Napoleon in 1799 and went to Paris 1802 to organize and direct the mus. of his chapel. On return to Naples, remained out of favour with Bourbons and died in relative poverty. Wrote over 100 operas, many of them accomplished and pleasant, 12 syms., kbd. concs., comic cantatas, and other works. Prin. operas were: Don Chisciotte (1769); Achille in Sciro (1778); La serva padrona (1781); Il barbiere di Siviglia (1782); Il re Teodoro in Venezia (1784); La Molinara (1789); Nina (1789); Didone abbandonata (1794); Proserpina (1803).