Personalities | Giacomo Meyerbeer | Early Romantic | Opera

1791–1864, German

Neither Giacomo Meyerbeer’s first oratorio, nor his first opera, written in 1812 and 1813, was successful and his Singspiel Das Brandenburger Tor (1814) came too late to achieve its purpose – to celebrate the return home of the victorious Prussian army. It was a poor start for Meyerbeer but his fortunes changed dramatically after he left his native Germany for Italy, where he wrote six operas. These were so successful that Meyerbeer was touted as the new Rossini. More success awaited in France with his Robert le diable (‘Robert the Devil’, 1831) – a grand opéra set in thirteenth-century Sicily when it was under the rule of the demi-devil Robert, Duke of Normandy. In this and his next, even more successful work – Les Huguenots (‘The Huguenots’, 1836) – Meyerbeer showed keen understanding of how to cope with the vast size and lavish staging of grand opéra. Les Huguenots, based on the history of the massacre suffered by the Protestants of France in the sixteenth century, established Meyerbeer as, arguably, the most important composer of grand opéra. In this context, he deployed many brilliant talents – his inventive orchestration, dazzling vocal music and his unerring ability to match imposing themes to major historical events.

Introduction | Early Romantic | Opera
Major Operas | Les Huguenots by Giacomo Meyerbeer | Early Romantic
Personalities | Pauline Anna Milder-Hauptmann | Early Romantic | Opera
Techniques | Singspiel | Classical Era | Opera


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