September 5, 1791
Tasdorf, near Berlin
May 2, 1864 in Paris, France
Also known as:
His real name was Jakob Liebmann Meyer Beer; composer of the Romantic period known for his "grand operas." He was born into an affluent Jewish family and became one of the richest men in Europe. He became general music director of the King of Prussia in 1842.
Type of Compositions:
He is known for his French grand operas. A grand opera refers to the type of opera which emerged in Paris during the 19th century. It's an opera of a larger scale, from the flamboyant costumes to the choruses; it also includes ballet. An example of this type is "Robert le Diable" (Robert the Devil) by Giacomo Meyerbeer.
Meyerbeer began writing operas in his teens and pursued his music studies in Berlin and Darmstadt. In 1816 he went to Italy where he wrote several operas based on Rossini's style. His compositions influenced other composers such as Hector Berlioz.
His works include "Il crociato in Egitto" (The Crusader in Egypt), "Robert le Diable" (libretti by Eugène Scribe), "Les Huguenots," "Ein Feldlager in Schlesien" (with soprano Jenny lind as the main character), "Le Prophète," "L’Etoile du nord" and "Le Pardon de Ploërmel."
His opera "L’Africaine" opened in 1865 after Meyerbeer's death and was revived in the 20th century. Carl Maria von Weber was one of Meyerbeer's friends.
Listen to Giacomo Meyerbeer's "L' Africaine" courtesy of YouTube.