Personalities | François-Adrien Boieldieu | Early Romantic | Classical
(Fran’-swa A-dre-an’ Bwald-yö) 1775–1834
Boieldieu was one of the leading opera composers of the early nineteenth century, concentrating on the opéra comique tradition. He studied with Charles Broche in his home town of Rouen, and was influenced by late eighteenth-century opéra comique, especially the works of André-Ernest-Modeste Grétry (1741–1813) and Méhul. His earliest operas were encouragingly received and in 1796 he moved to Paris, where he quickly became established as a prominent figure in musical life. After a brief, ill-fated marriage he went to St Petersburg in 1803 and was made director of the French Opéra. He returned to Paris in 1811 and the following year won great acclaim with Jean de Paris, an opera full of warmth and vigour. His next major triumph was with La dame blanche (‘The White Lady’, 1825), his most enduring work. Les deux nuits (‘The Two Nights’, 1829) signalled a more adventurous approach, but it did not achieve the same lasting success. Harmonically, Boieldieu was more restricted than Méhul or Cherubini, but the freshness and elegance of his melodic invention greatly impressed his contemporaries.
La dame blanche, soloists, Ensemble Orchestral de Paris (cond) Marc Minkowski (EMI/Erato)
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