Opera composer Carlo Coccia was born in Naples on 14 April 1782. He studied in his native city with Pietro Casella and Giovanni Paisiello, who introduced him to Joseph Bonaparte, King of Naples and Sicily, for whom he became the private musician. Coccia developed the popular genre of melodramma semiserio (semi-serious opera) containing elements of both comedy and pathos. Having settled in Venice, he composed Clotilde which premiered on 8 June 1815 at the Teatro San Benedetto. When accused of imitating other composers, he left for Lisbon in 1820, writing four operas and a National Anthem, before settling in London in 1823.
Coccia was one of a number of creative refugees from the dominating presence of Rossini in Italy. As musical director of the King’s Theatre, Haymarket, he stirred an interest in Italian opera. He was made Professor of Singing at the brand-new Royal Academy of Music. In 1827, he wrote Maria Stuarda for the legendary soprano Giuditta Pasta which, despite her and the celebrated bass Luigi Lablache being in the cast, achieved only four performances. He returned to Italy in 1828. He died in Novare in April 1873.