Composer Tommaso Traetta was instrumental in the development of the classical operatic style of the 18th century.
Traetta was born March 30, 1727, in Bitonto, Italy. He entered the Conservatory of St. Maria di Loreto in Naples at age 11.
After studying with the famous teacher Francesco Durante, Traetta came under the influence of Nicolo Jommelli, whose operas placed more emphasis on the chorus and the orchestra than on individual singers.
Traetta proceeded to compose in this vein, writing more than 40 tragic and comic operas. His best-known pieces, such as Ifigenia and Sonfonisba, were based on classical literature.
Traetta traveled far, working in St. Petersburg, Vienna and Venice. He achieved his greatest success in Mannheim, at the head of the city's orchestra.
When Traetta died on April 6, 1779, the stage was set for Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart, whose work transported opera to its next creative level.