Gaetano Donizetti (gītä´nō dōnēdzĕt´tē), 1797–1848, Italian composer. He studied music in Bergamo and Bologna and achieved success with his first opera, Enrico di Borgogna (1818). His early work was influenced by Rossini, but he later developed his own pleasantly melodic, often sentimental, style. Most popular of his more than 60 operas are Lucrezia Borgia (1833), Lucia di Lammermoor (1835), and Linda di Chamounix (1842), all serious operas; La Fille du régiment (The Daughter of the Regiment, 1840), a French opéra comique; and L'Elisir d'amore (The Elixir of Love, 1832) and Don Pasquale (1843), outstanding examples of opéra buffa. He also wrote songs, several symphonies, chamber music, oratorios, cantatas, and church music. In 1845 he became paralyzed, and he never composed again.
See studies by A. Weinstock (1964) and W. Ashbrooke (1965).