Operavore Celebrates Rossini's Leap Year Birthday

Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Today, our Operavore special stream is celebrating the 53rd leap-year birthday of Gioachino Rossini, born Feb. 29, 1792.

Throughout the day, Operavore will feature Rossini’s well-known and beloved overtures from the operas William Tell, Barber of Seville, La Cenerentola, La gazza ladra and Semiramide, among others, as well as the arias “No piu mesta,” “Una voce poco fa,” and, of course, “Largo al factotum,” plus many more.

Now, as the Gregorian calendar sticklers out there will remind you, this is, in fact, Rossini’s 53rd and not 55th birthday. A leap year occurs every year that is exactly divisible by four, except that years ending in ’00 are leap years only if they are exactly divisible by 400. So, there were no Rossini birthday candles to blow out in 1800 or 1900.

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Comments [4]

Bruce from NJ

... and to properly edit my prior post, the correct ending should be

"those born on Feb 29 complete that trip on March 1 - in NON-LEAP years"

Feb. 29 2012 01:36 PM
Bruce from NJ

As one of those Gregorian calendar "sticklers", well not really - I just happen to know the math and science and wrote computer software for day-of-week calculations before they were routine parts of computer software, I'd point out that while the writer is correct that a year is a leap year when the year is divisibly by 4 but not by 100 unless it's divisible by 400 (written exactly that way in software), we must thank Pope Gregory for realizing it was easier to do it that way than (I think) 3 extra days per 128 years based on earth's planetary motion.

But all that beautiful math aside, the missing point is that Rossini would still be 220 today, not 53 or 55, because a birthday is still the number of times the person makes one trip around the sun since birth (i.e. one trip = 1 year), and those born on Feb 29 complete that trip on March 1.

Feb. 29 2012 01:32 PM
George Jochnowitz from New York

Rossini wrote 38 operas in his first 38 years. He then lived another 38 years and wrote nothing.
One could also say that he wrote 38 operas in his first 37 years and then lived 39 more years and wrote nothing. This does not contradict the preceding sentence, but it is less poetic, although equally true.
It's sad that such a brilliant, gifted, exciting composer stopped writing. But then, some of his wonderful works are unknown today even though he wrote no more operas after #38.

Feb. 29 2012 11:20 AM
concetta nardone from Nassau county

What beautiful,graceful music he wrote. He was also a racconteur, bon vivant AND great cook.A perfect man. His salon was the envy of Paris. I would have loved to have met him and enjoyed a cup of espresso with him.

Feb. 29 2012 10:52 AM

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