In 1780, he was awarded a scholarship by the Grand Duke of Tuscany to study music in Bologna and Milan. Cherubini's early opera serias used libretti by Apostolo Zeno, Metastasio (Pietro Trapassi), and others that adhered closely to standard dramatic conventions. His music was strongly influenced by Niccolò Jommelli, Tommaso Traetta, and Antonio Sacchini, who were the leading composers of the day. The first of his two comic works, Lo sposo di tre e marito di nessuna, premiered at a Venetian theater in November 1783.
Feeling constrained by Italian traditions and eager to experiment, Cherubini traveled to London in 1785 where he produced two opere serie and an opera buffa for the King's Theater. In the same year, he made an excursion to Paris with his friend Giovanni Battista Viotti, who presented him to Marie Antoinette and Parisian society. Cherubini received an important commission to write Démophon to a French libretto by Jean-François Marmontel that would be his first tragédie en musique. Except for a brief return trip to London and to Turin for an opera seria commissioned by the King of the House of Savoy, Cherubini spent the rest of his life in France where he was initiated into Grand Orient de France "Saint-Jean de Palestine" Masonic Lodge in 1784.