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Culture Forum

Culture Forum

  1. Subscriber sonhouse
    Fast and Curious
    31 Dec '12 14:33
    I just read in a piece about the future of energy a note by one of the scientists interviewed that he would like to see Meyerbeer restored to his previous greatness.

    Looks like Wagner did him in, denouncing his Jewishness in music.

    Funny, since Meyerbeer supported Wagner when he was an unknown, and Richard turned on him, perhaps after Meyerbeer turned down a request for a 1200 thaler loan.

    Anyone here ever see a Meyerbeer opera?
  2. 01 Jan '13 00:13
    Originally posted by sonhouse
    I just read in a piece about the future of energy a note by one of the scientists interviewed that he would like to see Meyerbeer restored to his previous greatness.

    Looks like Wagner did him in, denouncing his Jewishness in music.

    Funny, since Meyerbeer supported Wagner when he was an unknown, and Richard turned on him, perhaps after Meyerbeer turned down a request for a 1200 thaler loan.

    Anyone here ever see a Meyerbeer opera?
    Robert le Diable is a wonderful opera as is Les Huguenots. Jacob Liebmann Beer was his birth name, but changed it to the kitchier Giacomo Meyerbeer after spending time in Italy. Wagner's treatment of Meyerbeer is a definite stain on his character and Meyerbeer did not deserve such after championing Wagner. Meyerbeer was the most prolific opera composer of the 19th century. His operas are generally light hearted, full of wonderful melodies and very nice orchestration. One of his last operas, L'Africaine was awaited with great anticipation. Wagner was so heavily influenced by Meyerbeer that it is said(by Hans von Bulow) his early opera Rienzi was Meyerbeer's best opera! Indeed Wagner's antisemitism was in part to blame for Wagner's turning on Meyerbeer, but indeed the refused loan was also heavily involved. Many consider Wagner a proto-Nazi. No restoration required for Meyerbeer's greatness, which has never been in question, only his popularity declined because of Wagner, Schumann and other antisemitic composers.
  3. 02 Jan '13 13:44
    I have personally seen the following Meyerbeer Operas, beginning 1996

    L'etoile du Nord, Wexford, Ireland
    Le prophete, Vienna, Austria
    Les Huguenots, New York, NY (concert version); Metz, France; Martina Franca, Italy; Bard College, NY; Brussels, Belgium
    L'africaine, Strasbourg, France
    Robert le Diable, Berlin, Germany
    Margherita d'Anjou, London England (concert version)

    In my opinion, Meyerbeer was the finest composer of the 19th century. He was immensely popular in his time and for 50 years thereafter. His Robert le Diable of 1831 marked the beginning of Romantic French Grand Opera and was regularly performed in all major European and American venues until 1900.

    Other operas he composed were Dinorah, L'esule di Granada, Semiramide, Emma di Resburgo, Il Crociato in Egitto, among others. He also composed much instrumental music, chorales etc.
  4. 02 Jan '13 16:03
    Originally posted by scacchipazzo
    Robert le Diable is a wonderful opera as is Les Huguenots. Jacob Liebmann Beer was his birth name, but changed it to the kitchier Giacomo Meyerbeer after spending time in Italy. Wagner's treatment of Meyerbeer is a definite stain on his character and Meyerbeer did not deserve such after championing Wagner. Meyerbeer was the most prolific opera composer ...[text shortened]... only his popularity declined because of Wagner, Schumann and other antisemitic composers.
    The Royal Opera House in London just staged Meyerbeer's Robert le Diable, for the first time since 1890. It was well attended by a curious audience, but the consensus seemed to be that the plot was awkwardly thought out and the music wasn't very memorable - often too light and sugary for the supernatural themes. What Weber could have done with this premise! The ballet of the ghostly sex-obsessed nuns, which seemed to be considered a highlight on first performance, was simply daft.

    Les Huguenots seems, for the basis of merely listening, to be a finer work. Meyerbeer's importance in the evolution of French grand opera is, of course, key.

    Although Wagner's treatment of Meyerbeer was shabby, I think there was a real musical disagreement; Wagner's ideas about opera were moving away from Meyerbeer's. While anti-semitism played its part, the motive was as much aesthetic as personal. Remember, Wagner later became ashamed of his own work in Rienzi, too!
  5. 02 Jan '13 21:27
    Originally posted by Stephen Agus
    I have personally seen the following Meyerbeer Operas, beginning 1996

    L'etoile du Nord, Wexford, Ireland
    Le prophete, Vienna, Austria
    Les Huguenots, New York, NY (concert version); Metz, France; Martina Franca, Italy; Bard College, NY; Brussels, Belgium
    L'africaine, Strasbourg, France
    Robert le Diable, Berlin, Germany
    Margherita d'Anjou, London ...[text shortened]... l Crociato in Egitto, among others. He also composed much instrumental music, chorales etc.
    Excellently well put, although I disagree he was the 19th century's best composer which would leave out Wagner, Brahms, Beethoven, Schubert, Rossini, Schumann, Weber, Wolf, Mahler and Verdi. No doubt Meyerbeer was incredibly gifted, but I agree with Teinosuke that Weber might have done much better with the Robert Le Diable libretto. I have only seen two of his operas live(meyerbeer's) mentioned above, but have heard lots of his work on CD or DVD. None of his operas reaches the sublimeness of Fidelio!
  6. 02 Jan '13 21:32
    Originally posted by Teinosuke
    The Royal Opera House in London just staged Meyerbeer's Robert le Diable, for the first time since 1890. It was well attended by a curious audience, but the consensus seemed to be that the plot was awkwardly thought out and the music wasn't very memorable - often too light and sugary for the supernatural themes. What Weber could have done with this premise ...[text shortened]... sthetic as personal. Remember, Wagner later became ashamed of his own work in Rienzi, too!
    NO argument with anything you posted! Indeed there were disagreements over aesthetics, the direction of opera and all else you reference, but indeed Wagner used these as pretexts for shabby treatment of one who championed him and allowed others to use their anti-semitism against Meyerbeer. That said, however, anti-semitism was more the norm than the exception in those days and Wagner was no greater anti-semite than most and certainly not as rabid as Cosima Wagner, his wife and daughter of Franz Liszt.