Thanks to the remarkable efforts of the Italian musicologist Sergio Ragni, over the past six decades, a wealth of knowledge about the life of the celebrated Italian composer Gioachino Rossini has been collected, analysed and made accessible to the public, through various mediums such as books, exhibitions, films, lectures and an impressive private collection of objects related to Rossini’s life. Ragni’s tireless work illuminates the true magnitude of Rossini’s cultural significance, firmly establishing him as one of the greatest European cultural figures of the 19th century, whose influence transcended the realm of music.
Gioachino Rossini played a pivotal role in shaping the identity of a changing noble and bourgeois society in the 19th century in Europe, with his influence also extending to the Americas. Recognised as one of the most important opera composers in history, Rossini’s enduring impact is felt in the performances of his works even today.
Within Sergio Ragni’s private apartment in Naples, one can discover one of the world’s premier collections of artefacts from Rossini’s era. This remarkable collection, encompassing a wide array of items and capturing the essence of the European cultural and social milieu, warmly welcomes visitors by appointment, free-of-charge. Ragni’s comprehensive collection stands out not only for its size and content but also for its representation of the significant figures surrounding Rossini, including singers, conductors, theatre managers, politicians, writers and painters. It provides a multidimensional glimpse into the vibrant cultural tapestry of the time and remains accessible to all, a testament to Sergio Ragni’s unwavering passion and knowledge. All of the collector’s work has been self-financed over the past six decades.
Sergio Ragni’s ongoing publication of Rossini’s complete letters and documents, meticulously co-edited by the collector himself, serves as an invaluable resource for scholars, providing previously inaccessible insights. With seven volumes already published, containing around 700 pages each, this monumental undertaking continues to expand our understanding of Rossini’s life and legacy. Ragni also shares his extensive knowledge with the general public through frequent articles published and lectures given in Italy, Switzerland, Austria, France and Spain. Notably, his two-volume book on Rossini’s wife, Isabella Colbran, a renowned opera singer from Spain, offers a unique perspective on European cultural life during that period.
“Sergio Ragni’s dedication and expertise have earned him widespread respect and renown among Europe’s leading music professionals. His focus on opera, specifically the work of Gioachino Rossini, has played an important role in preserving this intangible heritage of great significance for Europe. Through his contributions, he has influenced a transformative shift in the way opera performances are approached, marking a paradigmatic change in the field”, the Awards’ Jury stated.
“With a lifelong commitment to collecting and researching Rossini’s works, Sergio Ragni has invested not only his time but also personal resources into this endeavour. His extensive body of work has established him as a vital point of reference in the study and dissemination of knowledge of this period”, the Jury added.
Contact: Sergio Ragni | sergio.ragni.napoli (at) gmail.com