Gaspare Angiolini directed the ballet at the Imperial Theatre in Vienna,taking over the post in 1758, working closely with Christoph Willibald von Gluck on such works as Don Juan ou le Festin de Pierre (1761), and the opera Orpheus and Eurydice. The dancing in both Don Juan and Orpheus were said to have insisted on the "primacy of drama". In addition to collaborating with Gluck, he also composed music for many of his ballets.
He later succeeded Franz Hilverding as director of the Imperial Theatre in St. Petersburg, Russiain 1766. Both Hilverding and Angiolini are credited with bringing the European ballet d'action to Russia. Likewise, Angiolini also attempted to introduce elements of Russian culture into his own work through use of songs, folk dances, and Russian themes. In 1778 he came to Milan to direct the theatre of La Scala.
Angiolini was a choreographer interested in the dramatic possibilities of dance. He was also an early spokesman for a sense of Italian nationalism and spoke of the sad state where Germany and Russia were supporting better cultural institutions than was Italy.