Personalities | Victor Hugo | High Romantic | Opera

1802–85, French

Like the Scots novelist Sir Walter Scott, the French writer Victor Hugo had the happy facility for writing fiction that naturally lent itself to opera. Apart from his genius as a story-teller, Hugo’s secret lay in his vigorous attachment to Romantic principles, which exercised profound influence over librettists and composers of Romantic opera. Hugo himself made one attempt at writing a libretto, Esmeralda (1836). This text, written for the French composer Louise-Angélique Bertin (1805–77) was an adaptation of his own famous novel, Notre-Dame de Paris. This was the first of at least 21 operas subsequently based on this novel. Many more Hugo stories were turned into operas, notably by Verdi, who used Hugo’s Hernani (1830) for his opera Ernani, which he composed in 1844, and his Le roi s’amuse for Rigoletto.

Introduction | High Romantic | Opera
Personalities | Amalie Materna | High Romantic | Opera


An extensive music information resource, bringing together the talents and expertise of a wide range of editors and musicologists, including Stanley Sadie, Charles Wilson, Paul Du Noyer, Tony Byworth, Bob Allen, Howard Mandel, Cliff Douse, William Schafer, John Wilson...


Classical, Rock, Blues, Jazz, Country and more. Flame Tree has been making encyclopaedias and guides about music for over 20 years. Now Flame Tree Pro brings together a huge canon of carefully curated information on genres, styles, artists and instruments. It's a perfect tool for study, and entertaining too, a great companion to our music books.

Rock, A Life Story

Rock, A Life Story

The ultimate story of a life of rock music, from the 1950s to the present day.

David Bowie

David Bowie

Fantastic new, unofficial biography covers his life, music, art and movies, with a sweep of incredible photographs.