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Giacomo Meyerbeer

Giacomo Meyerbeer (born Jacob Liebmann Beer; 5 September 1791 – 2 May 1864) was a German opera composer of Jewish birth who has been described as perhaps the most successful stage composer of the nineteenth century. With his 1831 opera Robert le diable and its successors, he gave the genre of grand opera 'decisive character'. Meyerbeer's grand opera style was achieved by his merging of German orchestra style with Italian vocal tradition. These were employed in the context of sensational and melodramatic libretti created by Eugène Scribe and were enhanced by the up-to-date theatre technology of the Paris Opéra. They set a standard which helped to maintain Paris as the opera capital of the nineteenth century.

Born to a very wealthy Berlin family, Meyerbeer began his musical career as a pianist but soon decided to devote himself to opera, spending several years in Italy studying and composing. His 1824 opera Il crociato in Egitto was the first to bring him Europe-wide reputation, but it was Robert le diable (1831) which raised his status to great celebrity. His public career, lasting from then until his death, during which he remained a dominating figure in the world of opera, was summarized by his contemporary Hector Berlioz, who claimed that he 'has not only the luck to be talented, but the talent to be lucky.' He was at his peak with his operas Les Huguenots (1836) and Le prophète (1849); his last opera (L'Africaine) was performed posthumously. His operas made him the most frequently performed composer at the world's leading opera houses in the nineteenth century.

At the same time as his successes in Paris, Meyerbeer, as a Prussian Court Kapellmeister (Director of Music) from 1832, and from 1843 as Prussian General Music Director, was also influential in opera in Berlin and throughout Germany. He was an early supporter of Richard Wagner, enabling the first production of the latter's opera Rienzi. He was commissioned to write the patriotic opera Ein Feldlager in Schlesien to celebrate the reopening of the Berlin Royal Opera House in 1844, and he wrote music for certain Prussian state occasions.

Apart from around 50 songs, Meyerbeer wrote little except for the stage. The critical assaults of Wagner and his supporters, especially after Meyerbeer’s death, led to a decline in the popularity of his works; his operas were suppressed by the Nazi regime in Germany, and were neglected by opera houses through most of the twentieth century. In the 21st century, however, the composer's major French grand operas have begun to reappear in the repertory of numerous European opera houses.

Birth and Death Data: Born September 5th, 1791 (Tasdorf), Died Paris

Date Range of DAHR Recordings: 1897 - 1936

Roles Represented in DAHR: composer

Recordings (Results 1-25 of 303 records)

Company Matrix No. Size First Recording Date Title Primary Performer Description Role Audio
Berliner 1108 7-in. 8/13/1897 Romanza Alberto Del Campo Baritone vocal solo composer  
Berliner 1113 7-in. 6/6/1898 All’erta marinar Alberto Del Campo Baritone vocal solo composer  
Berliner 0495 7-in. 9/16/1899 Les Huguenots Bernard Bégué Male vocal solo composer  
Berliner 01077 7-in. 3/12/1900 Coronation march Royal Italian Band Band composer  
Berliner 01084 7-in. 3/14/1900 Les Huguenots : Selection Royal Italian Band Band composer  
Berliner 01196 7-in. Apr. 1900 Bénédiction of the poignards Sousa's Band Band composer  
Victor [Pre-matrix A-]327 7-in. 10/4/1900 Bénédiction des poignards Sousa's Band Band, with brass trio composer  
Victor [Pre-matrix B-]327 10-in. 4/3/1901 Bénédiction des poignards Sousa's Band Band, with brass trio composer  
Victor [Pre-matrix A-]478 7-in. 10/30/1900 Stella del norte : Barcarolla Rosalia Chalia Soprano vocal solo, with piano composer  
Victor [Pre-matrix A-]1446 7-in. 6/24/1902 Fackeltanz Sousa's Band Band, with tuba solo composer  
Victor [Pre-matrix B-]1446 10-in. 6/24/1902 Fackeltanz Sousa's Band Band, with tuba solo composer  
Victor [Pre-matrix C-]1446 12-in. 6/24/1902 Fackeltanz Sousa's Band Band, with tuba solo composer  
Victor [Pre-matrix A-]1741 7-in. 11/11/1902 Coronation march Clarke's Band of Providence Band composer  
Victor [Pre-matrix B-]1741 10-in. 11/11/1902 Coronation march Clarke's Band of Providence Band composer  
Victor [Pre-matrix D-]2015 14-in. 1903 Robert le diable selection Victor Grand Concert Band Band, with cornet solo composer  
Victor [Pre-matrix D-]2024 14-in. 1903 Star of the north Victor Symphony Orchestra Orchestra composer  
Victor [Pre-matrix C-]2028 12-in. 1901-1903 Huguenots selections Victor Grand Concert Band Band composer  
Victor [Pre-matrix B-]3231 10-in. 4/3/1901 Les Benediction des Poignard Sousa's Band Band composer  
Victor A-196 7-in. 7/27/1903 Coronation march Clarke's Band of Providence Band composer  
Victor B-196 10-in. 7/27/1903 Coronation march Clarke's Band of Providence Band composer  
Victor B-448 10-in. 9/24/1903 Sei vendicata assai Sig. Carlos Francisco Baritone vocal solo, with piano composer  
Victor B-450 10-in. 9/24/1903 Adamastor, re dell'onde Sig. Carlos Francisco Baritone vocal solo, with piano composer  
Victor C-490 12-in. 10/5/1903 Nobil signori, salute! Louise Homer Contralto vocal solo, with piano composer  
Victor C-491 12-in. 10/5/1903 O toi qui m'abandonnes Louise Homer Contralto vocal solo, with piano composer  
Victor C-742 12-in. 11/23/1903 Recitative and ballad Giuseppe Campanari Baritone vocal solo, with piano composer  
(Results 1-25 of 303 records)

Citation

Discography of American Historical Recordings, s.v. "Meyerbeer, Giacomo," accessed August 11, 2020, https://adp.library.ucsb.edu/names/102619.

Meyerbeer, Giacomo. (2020). In Discography of American Historical Recordings. Retrieved August 11, 2020, from https://adp.library.ucsb.edu/names/102619.

"Meyerbeer, Giacomo." Discography of American Historical Recordings. UC Santa Barbara Library, 2020. Web. 11 August 2020.

DAHR Persistent Identifier

URI: https://adp.library.ucsb.edu/names/102619

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