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To Borrow From Google … and Rossini … and the Cosmos

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What do leaping frogs and composer Gioachino Rossini have in common? Well, thanks to today’s Google doodle the two are brought together rather comically – not only does today mark the cosmic anomaly of leap day but it’s also the 220th birthday of Rossini … or his 53rd, depending upon which way you roll.

After some Googling of my own, it would appear the frogs – who have made previous leaping appearances in the search engine’s doodle – are paying tribute to “The Barber of Seville,” Rossini’s famous 1816 comic opera and also one of the most-performed on stage.

The Library’s own National Jukebox has pulled together more than 50 selections of Rossini’s compositions, including several from the noted opera. In addition, the Library’s collections include several pieces of sheet music, including this one for piano, titled “Barbier de Seville,” op. 36.

Prints and Photographs Division/Library of Congress

Rossini was born on Feb. 29, 1792, in Pesaro, Italy. He has works listed as early as 1801. At 12, he delivered a set of six sonatas for strings, which scholars actually discovered the original scores in the Library of Congress following World War II. Rossini’s other famous operas include “William Tell” (1829), “Semiramide” (1823) and “Cinderella” (1817). He died Nov. 13, 1868.

According to statistics, the probability of a birthday falling on leap day is 1 in 1461. To put another number on it, that means nearly 5 million people worldwide are “leapers.” Now, whether they celebrate on Feb. 28 or March 1 on non-leap years is a matter of personal preference. Personally, I’d celebrate both days for double the gifts and fun! Of course, I’d likely only officially mark the event in accordance with the leap calendar … you know, to stay younger longer.


  1. Wonderful title, wonderful post and nice Pirates of Penzance tie-in at the end!

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