Giacomo Meyerbeer

German opera composer Giacomo Meyerbeer was born in Tasdorf, near Berlin, on 5 September 1791, into a wealthy Jewish family, as Jacob Liebmann Beer. He began his career as a pianist, but decided to switch to opera, studying in Italy for several years with Salieri and Carl Friedrich Zelter. He gained recognition with the 1824 Il crociato in Egitto in Venice, but with Robert le diable, produced in Paris in 1831, he gained superstar status. He was possibly the nineteenth century's most successful opera composer. Le prophète of 1849 is probably his best-known opera.

He lived a dual life in Paris and Berlin, immensely wealthy and successful, and the subject of much jealosy from other composers.

He died in Paris on 2 May 1864, aged seventy-two.


A selection of articles about Giacomo Meyerbeer

CD Spotlight. Star of the North - Gerald Fenech strongly recommends Meyerbeer's 'L'Étoile du Nord' on Naxos. 'Vladimir Jurowski conducts the piece with natural gusto and sparkling flair ...'

CD Spotlight. A Double Rescue - Meyerbeer's little-known opera 'Romilda e Costanza', reviewed by Giuseppe Pennisi. '... a rescue opera which is worth saving from oblivion.'

Ensemble. Bring Back the Blue and the Light - Maria Nockin was impressed by Jonas Kaufmann's recital with Helmut Deutsch in New York Metropolitan Opera's new 'Met Stars Live in Concert' series

Opera Phantoms - George Colerick takes a light-hearted look at Ken Hill's influence on the old tale of 'The Phantom of the Opera'

Profile. No Vulgar Commercialiser - George Colerick tells the story of Louis Jullien, a French impressario, composer and conductor famous in London in the nineteenth century

CD Spotlight. Imaginative Vigour - Meyerbeer's opera 'Margherita d'Anjou', heard by Gerald Fenech. 'Fabio Luisi marshalls his forces with aplomb, and his commitment to the work keeps the music moving along with verve and enthusiasm ...'

CD Spotlight. Well Realized - Varda Kotler and Israel Kastoriano, recommended by Geoff Pearce. '... partnership and sensitivity ...'

Bold Eccentricities - Meyerbeer and the Development of Parisian Grand Opera, by George Colerick

An Affectionate Eye - George Bernard Shaw as London Music Critic, by George Colerick

CD Spotlight. Mastery of Adaptation - Opera transcriptions for piano, heard by Howard Smith. '... illuminating performances ...'

CD Spotlight. Pure Gain - Ballet music from Meyerbeer operas, heard by Robert Anderson. '... very stylish playing ...'

Ensemble. Feminism and Anti-colonialism - Meyerbeer's L'Africaine, reviewed by Giuseppe Pennisi

CD Spotlight. Nostalgic and Enthralling - A Joan Sutherland portrait, heard by Gerald Fenech. '... a fitting tribute to the singing legend from Australia ...'

CD Spotlight. A Fine Collection - Operatic bass arias sung by William Powers, heard by Paul Sarcich. '... a formidable mixture of operatic styles ...'

Ensemble. Beautifully Wrought - Wagner's 'Tannhäuser' at Covent Garden, by Robert Hugill

Ensemble. An Epic Opera - Rossini's 'William Tell', from Rome to the BBC Proms, by Giuseppe Pennisi

Ensemble. Liszt at lunchtime - Eri Niiyama gives a recital in Tokyo's Suntory Hall, and Keith Bramich listens