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MEYERBEER, Giacomo (1791.9.5-1864.5.2)

Born Jakob Liebmann Meyer Beer into a wealthy Berlin family, the future composer of LesHuguenots decided to contract his surname, and later Italianise his first name. He began his studies with Zelter and Abbé Vogler and continued his training in Italy with Salieri. He made a name for himself with his Italian operas, particularly Romilda e Constanza (1817), Emma di Resburgo (1819), Margherita d’Anjou (1820) and Il Crociato in Egitto (1824). The latter received a triumphant premiere at the Teatro La Fenice in Venice and was staged again in Paris the following year. Meyerbeer was a past master at giving French audiences what they wanted. Robert le Diable, which started life as a comic opera and was transformed into a grand opera, enjoyed huge success in 1831. Another triumph followed with Les Huguenots (1836), followed by Le Prophète (1849) and L’Africaine (which was premiered after his death in 1865). Regarded as the main exponent of grand opera (in collaboration with his librettist Scribe), Meyerbeer also composed the opéras comiques L’Étoile du Nord and Dinorah ou Le Pardon de Ploërmel, as well as the singspiel Ein Feldlager in Schlesien for Berlin (the King of Prussia, Friedrich Wilhelm IV, appointed him Director of Music in 1842). Few musicians have won such renown in their lifetime. This success was the result of long hard work, as can be seen by Meyerbeer’s limited number of finished operas. He succeeded in combining Italian vocal techniques with French declamation and German symphonic writing. The influence of his use of sound effects and contrasts can be seen in the work of many composers, including Berlioz, Gounod, Verdi and Wagner.

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  • Giacomo Meyerbeer
  • Giacomo Meyerbeer
  • Giacomo Meyerbeer
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  • Giacomo Meyerbeer
  • Giacomo Meyerbeer (charge de Dantan)
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    Works - 6
  • Africaine, L’ (Scribe / Meyerbeer)
  • Étoile du Nord, L’ (Scribe / Meyerbeer)
  • Huguenots, Les (Scribe / Meyerbeer)
  • Pardon de Ploërmel, Le (Barbier & Carré / Meyerbeer)
  • Prophète, Le (Scribe / Meyerbeer)
  • Robert le Diable (Scribe & Delavigne / Meyerbeer)
  • Themes - 2
  • Opera – Opera in France in the nineteenth century
  • Opéra – Le grand opéra français
  • Symposia - 1
  • French Modernity in the time of Berlioz (2010)
  • Studies - 4
  • Bordry, Guillaume – Modernité à vendre. Meyerbeer et l’art du puff
  • Candoni, Jean-François – Richard Wagner et le Grand Opéra français
  • Hervé, Emmanuel – La restriction des parties réelles de l’orchestre : une spécificité d’écriture chez Meyerbeer au service de la puissance orchest...
  • Thorel, Sylvie – The Romantics and the St Bartholomew’s Day Massacre
  • Press articles -  20
  • Journal des débats politiques et littéraires, 16 décembre 1831 [Robert le Diable de Meyerbeer]
  • Journal des débats politiques et littéraires, 23 novembre 1831 [Robert le Diable de Meyerbeer]
  • Journal des débats politiques et littéraires, 26 décembre 1831 [Robert le Diable de Meyerbeer]
  • Journal des débats politiques et littéraires, 28 novembre 1831 [Robert le Diable de Meyerbeer]
  • Journal des débats politiques et littéraires, 4 décembre 1831 [Robert le Diable de Meyerbeer]
  • L’Opinion, 12 décembre 1831 [Robert le Diable de Meyerbeer]
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