Meyerbeer, Giacomo

BORN 5 Sep 1791, Vogelsdorf (near Berlin) - DIED 2 May 1864, Paris
BIRTH NAME Beer, Yaakov Liebmann
GRAVE LOCATION Berlin: Jüdischer Friedhof in Prenzlauer Berg, Schönhauser Allee 23-25 (Feld W1 (Ehrengrab))

Giacomo Meyerbeer was the son of the rich sugar refiner Judah Herz Beer and the daughter of a banker from Berlin. The family lived in Berlin and as a child he was already recognized as one the best pianists in the city. He was taught by Muzio Clementi and Abbe Vogler and made friends with Carl Maria von Weber. In 1815 Salieri adviced him to learn voice composition in Italy and using the name Giacomo Meyerbeer he started composing Italian opera's.

Until 1824 he composed six opera's that rivalled even Rossini's and found himself famous. "Il Crociato in Egitto" attracted attention abroad and made him move to Paris. In 1826 he married his first cousin Minna Mosson.

In 1831 his opera "Robert le Diable" was produced. It was very influencial in France. Other French opera's were "Les Huguenots" (1836), "Le Prophète" (1849) and "L'africaine" (1865). In 1842 he became Director of Music in Berlin and there he created the opera "Ein Feldlager de Schliessen".

Meyerbeer was attacked by Wagner in the latter's "Jewry in Music" (1850), who accused him of commercialism in his work. In earlier years he had supported Wagner during the production of his "Rienzi" in Dresden as well as financially, and he never responded to in public to Wagner's attack.

Meyerbeer held on to Jewish religion all his life and was buried at the Jewish Cemetery at the Schönhauser Allee in Berlin after his death in 1864. His operas were popular for another 50 years.

• Mother: Beer, Amalie
• Daughter: Richter-Meyerbeer, Cornelie
• Brother: Beer, Wilhelm

Related persons
• is brother/sister of Beer, Wilhelm
• was drawn by Kriehuber, Josef
• attended funeral of Lortzing, Albert
• was teacher of Lucca, Pauline
• was pupil of Salieri, Antonio
• cooperated with Scribe, Eugène
• influenced Wagner, Richard
• was a friend of Weber, Carl Maria von

12/3/1822Premiere of Meyerbeer's "L'esule di Granata" at La Scala in Milan. The libretto was written by Felice Romani. Meyerbeer himself was the conductor. Performers were Benedetta Rosmunda Pisaroni, Adelaide Tosi and Luigi Lablache. [Romani, Felice]
21/11/1831Premiere of Meyerbeer's "Robert le Diable" at the Opéra in Paris. It included a ballet in the third act with Marie Taglioni as the ballerina. François Habeneck was the conductor and singers included Adolphe Nourrit as Robert and Laure Cinti-Damoreau as Isabelle. [Levasseur, Nicolas-Prosper][Nourrit, Adolphe][Taglioni, Marie]
29/2/1836Premiere of Meyerbeer's opera "Les Huguenots" at the Salle Le Peletier in Paris [Falcon, Cornélie][Levasseur, Nicolas-Prosper][Nourrit, Adolphe]
20/8/1839Richard Wagner meets Giacomo Meyerbeer at a spa in Boulogne sur Mer. They met by coincidence at a Spa, where Meyerbeer was with Ignaz Moscheles. Wagner read him from the libretto of "Rienzi" and asked him for help. Meyerbeer promised to do his best for Wagner in Paris. [Wagner, Richard]
5/9/1841Caroline Unger leaves the stage in Dresden. She played the part of Antonia in Donizetti's "Belisario". Meyerbeer was in the audience and words were spoken by Wilhelmine Schröder-Devrient and Karoline Bauer. [Schröder-Devrient, Wilhelmine][Unger, Caroline]
12/8/1845Beethoven statue in Bonn unveiled. It was created by Ernst Hähnel and unveiled in honour of the 75th anniversary of Beethoven's birth. Franz Liszt was actively involved in the project and donated over 10,000 francs. Schlegel had been the head of the organising committee but he died in May, 1845. Professor Heinrich Breidenstein, who had first expressed the idea, took over his position. The ceremony was attended by King Friedrich Wilhelm IV of Prussia, Queen Victoria, Prince Albert, Hector Berlioz, Giacomo Meyerbeer, Ignaz Moscheles, Charles Hallé, Jenny Lind, Pauline Viardot, Lola Montez, Robert Schumann, Felix Mendelssohn and Maria Kalergis. [Berlioz, Hector][Hallé, Charles][Lind, Jenny][Liszt, Franz][Mendelssohn-Bartholdy, Felix][Montez, Lola][Schumann, Robert][Viardot-Garcia, Pauline]
16/4/1849Premiere of Meyerbeer's "Le prophète" with Pauline Viardot as Fidès. It was performed by the Opera of Paris at the Salle Le Peletier. Jeanne-Anaïs Castellan was Berthe and Gustave-Hippolyte Roger was Jean. Narcisse Girard was the conductor. In the audience were Chopin, Verdi, Théophile Gautier, Delacroix, Ivan Turgenev and Berlioz. It was a great succes and in July it was performed at Covent Garden in London. [Berlioz, Hector][Chopin, Frédéric][Delacroix, Eugène][Gautier, Théophile][Girard, Narcisse][Verdi, Giuseppe][Viardot-Garcia, Pauline]
25/1/1860Richard Wagner conducts a series of concerts at the Salle Ventadour of the Opéra italien in Paris. The concerts included extracts from his operas "Lohengrin", "Tannhäuser" and "Tristan und Isolde". The first concert was visited by Daniel Auber, Hector Berlioz, Charles Gounod, Giacomo Meyerbeer, Ernest Reyer, François-Auguste Gevaert and Jules Champfleury. The second concert took place on 1 Febraury 1860 and the third concert on 8 February 1860. During the series he met Charles Baudelaire, who was much impressed by Wagner's music. [Auber, Daniel][Baudelaire, Charles][Berlioz, Hector][Gounod, Charles][Wagner, Richard]
28/4/1865Premiere of Meyerbeer's opera "L'Afrcaine" at the Salle Pelletier in Paris. The libretto was written by Eugène Scribe and its working title was "Vasco de Game". The full score score was copied on the day before Meyerbeer died in 1864. It was staged by François-Joseph Fétis. The conductor was François George-Hainl. The singers included Marie Sasse, Emilio Laudin, Marie Battu, Jean-Baptiste Faure. Emperor Napoleon III and empress Eugénie were attended the premire. [Napoleon III Bonaparte][Scribe, Eugène]


The grave of Giacomo Meyerbeer at the Jewish Cemetery, Schönhauser Allee, Berlin.
Picture by Androom (22 Jan 2004)


The grave of Giacomo Meyerbeer at the Jüdischer Friedhof in Prenzlauer Berg, Berlin.
Picture by Androom (11 Aug 2020)


Encyclopedie van de Muziek, Elsevier, Amsterdam, 1959
Caroline Unger – Wikipedia
Beethoven Monument - Wikipedia
Giacomo Meyerbeer - Wikipedia
L'Africaine - Wikipedia
L'esule di Granata - Wikipedia
Le prophète - Wikipedia
Robert le diable - Wikipedia
Les Huguenots — Wikipédia

Meyerheim, Paul

Published: 01 Jan 2006
Last update: 25 Dec 2021