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Giacomo Meyerbeer ( Yaakov Liebmann Beer ) (Tasdorf, since 1931 Rüderdorf district near Berlin, September 5, 1791 – Paris, May 2, 1864) was a Prussian composer, favorite of the Parisian public for the composition of operas in the Grand Opéra style. His best known work is The Huguenots.
Son of a wealthy sugar merchant in Berlin, he was a prodigy and at 9 he was already a pianist. Disciple of Muzio Clementi, who would be one of his piano teachers, very soon showed his attraction to the theater. However, he found his own style only gradually, after some conventional beginnings under the influence of his friend Carl Maria von Weber.
He is considered the creator of the romantic musical melodrama, usually based on a historical theme and mounted grandiloquently, with theatrical effects that dazzled his contemporaries; the scene of characters was overloaded, there were scenes of strong contrast, from floods to fires. It is the last variant of serious opera: the historical opera of vast breath known as grand opera. It combines with great skill the French and Italian styles with German meticulousness.
He helped Richard Wagner during his stay in Paris, although his failure was evident in a style today considered corseted that had nothing to do with the dramatic complexity of the Wagnerian drama.
Between 1836 and the end of the century, Meyerbeer was a world power in music, being considered as the most important composer of European musical life, with astronomical figures of representations. His greatest successes were Robert le diable, Les Huguenots and Le Prophete. He became Director General of Music in Berlin in 1842.
Meyerbeer died in Paris on May 2, 1864 while working on his last major opera, La Africana, which would become one of the greatest hits in the history of opera.
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