Gioachino Rossini
Public DomainGioachino Rossini

Gioachino Antonio Rossini (1792-1868) was an Italian composer known mostly for his 39 operas, especially “The Barber of Seville,” “The Thieving Magpie,” and “William Tell.” The song-like melodies of his scores led to the nickname “The Italian Mozart.”

The opening baritone aria from “The Barber of Seville” has been featured and parodied in Bugs Bunny, Woody Woodpecker, Tom and Jerry, and other cartoons, in an episode of Seinfeld, and in many movies. The finale of the “William Tell Overture” became even more famous as the theme from the Lone Ranger radio and television shows, and thereafter used and parodied by everyone from Victor Borge and Bill Cosby’s go-karts routine to Spike Jones and “The Flintstones.”