Sunday, January 29, 2017

Born Today January 29: Daniel-François Auber


French operatic composer Daniel François Esprit Auber was born on this day in Caen, Normandy.  He was the son of a Parisian print-seller.  His father expected him to continue in the family business, but while he was young, he was permitted to learn several instruments.  He eventually studied music under composer Josef Alois Ladurner.  By the time he turned 20, he had already taken up musical composition.  He produced a concerto for violin that was well received, and he was encouraged by a conductor at the Paris Conservatoire to refresh, if you will, an old comic opera.  That work was complete in 1811, around the time that he began to study with the famed Italian composer Luigi Cherubini, who was living in France.  By the early 1820's he found success, after years of penning operatic works that weren't so well received.  Though he also composed works for the church and even a few ballets, he is best remembered for his opera's. He became one the most successful and prolific comic opera composers of his time and would go on to work with the likes of Donizetti.  In 1842, he succeeded his old teacher Cherubini as the director of the Conservatoire; and in 1857 Napoleon III made him his Imperial Maître de Chapelle.  One of his most famous earlier works is Fra Diavolo, and it is this work that was first to serve as an inspiration for films in the early 1920's. A short film of the same name premiered in 1922; it is the eleventh release in the British series "Tense Moments From Opera" (the IMDb page for the film can be found here).  In the silent era, two of his other opera's served as inspiration for films.  The first was from Italy, based on his work La muta di Portici, and was released in 1924.  The second was a film from Germany, Der schwarze Domino, and was released in 1929.  The first time that his work was used in a sound film came in 1931 with Dantes mysterier, as Swedish film.  It wouldn't be until 1962 that his work was used again in a movie.  Over the decades, his comedic operas have shown up in the variety of films, with the most recent coming in 2011 in Jane Eyre.  Details of his death are sketchy; many reports have him dying of a heart attack on the 12th of May, but that cannot be confirmed.  What is known, is that he lived through the 1870-71 siege of Paris by the Prussians/Germans and that he died (somehow) on the 12th or 13th of May, during the Paris Commune.  He was 89 years of age.  Today the Rue Auber in Paris leads up to the Paris Opera House.  He buried in the wonderfully famous Pére Lachaise Cemetery (Plot Division 4, #2).

Wikipedia Spain (more detail & list of his works, can be translated by Google)

Leave Virtual Flower @ Find A Grave

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