Tag: Giacomo Meyerbeer (page 1 of 2)

Newly Digitized: Meyerbeer Scores

The Loeb Music Library recently digitized several scores by Giacomo Meyerbeer (Jacob Liebermann Meyer Beer, 1791-1864), a German-born musician who became one of the most successful stage composers of the 19th century. Nine complete operas are now available, several in multiple editions, which document Meyerbeer’s compositional development though a legendary partnership with French dramatist and librettist Eugène Scribe, culminating in iconic works which led to the establishment of French grand opera as a distinct genre.

Giacomo Meyerbeer, Title page, Robert le Diable. Mus 743.3.601.5

Giacomo Meyerbeer, Title page, Robert le Diable. Mus 743.3.601.5 (click to enlarge)

In his mature scores — Robert le Diable (1831), Les Huguenots (1836), Le Prophète (1849), L’étoile du Nord (1854), L’Africaine (1865, posth.), all to libretti by Scribe and first performed at the Paris Opéra, and Le Pardon de Ploërmel (Dinorah) (1859), first given at the Opéra comique (Salle Favart) to a libretto by Jules Barbier and Michel Carré (librettists also for Gounod’s Faust and Roméo et Juliette, Thomas’ Mignon and Hamlet, and Offenbach’s Les Contes d’Hoffmann) — the composer established a highly popular genre in which musical numbers combined pomp, ritual, and highly inventive orchestration evoking local color, in works where large choruses and intimate arias and duets are interspersed with balletic divertissements within the context of a sweeping historical canvas.

  • [Robert le diable. Vocal score]
    Robert le Diable : opéra en 5 actes / paroles de MM. E. Scribe & G. Delavigne ; musique de Giacomo Meyerbeer ; partition de piano, arrangée par J.P. Pixis. [1st ed.]. Paris: M. Schlesinger, [1831]. Mus 743.3.601.5
  • [Huguenots. Vocal score]
    Les Huguenots : opéra en cinq actes / paroles de Scribe ; musique de G. Meyerbeer ; partition chant et piano. Ed. définitive et complète. Paris : Ph. Maquet, [1888?]. Mus 743.3.624
  • [Prophète. Vocal score]
    Le prophète : opéra en 5 actes / paroles de M.E. Scribe ; musique de G. Meyerbeer ; partition pour piano et chant ; arrangée par Garaudé. Paris : Brandus & Cie., [1849?]. Mus 743.3.661.1
  • [Étoile du Nord. Vocal score]
    L’étoile du nord : opéra comique en trois actes / paroles de Mr. E. Scribe ; musique de G. Meyerbeer ; partition piano et chant par A. de Garandé. Paris : Brandus, [1854?]. Mus 743.3.642
  • [Étoile du Nord. Vocal score. Italian]
    La stella del Nord : opera semiseria in tre atti / di Eugenio Scribe ; traduzione di E. Picchi ; musica di G. Meyerbeer ; riduzione con accompagnamento di pianoforte. Milano : F. Lucca, [1868?]. Mus 743.3.640.5
  • [Africaine. Vocal score. Selections]
    L’Africaine : deuxième partie de l’opéra en 5 actes / paroles de E. Scribe ; musique de G. Meyerbeer ; partition chant et piano [par E. Vauthrot] précédée d’une préface de J. Fétis et contenant 22 morceaux et fragments inédits … qui n’ont pas été exécutés à la représentation de l’Opéra à Paris. Paris : G. Brandus & S. Dufour, [1865?]. Mus 743.3.666
  • [Africaine. Vocal score]
    L’Africaine : opéra en cinq actes / paroles de E. Scribe ; musique de Giacomo Meyerbeer ; partition chant & piano arrangée par E. Vauthrot. Paris : G. Brandus & S. Dufour, [1865?]. Mus 743.3.666.3
  • [Africaine. Vocal score]
    L’Africaine : opéra en 5 actes / paroles de E. Scribe ; musique de G. Meyerbeer ; partition chant & piano arrangée par E. Vauthrot. Paris : G. Brandus & S. Dufour, [1865?] . Mus 743.3.666.5
  • [Le Pardon de Ploërmel (Dinorah)]
    Le pardon de Ploërmel : opéra comique en trois actes / paroles de J. Barbieret M. Carré ; musique de Giacomo Meyerbeer ; partition chant et piano. Paris : G. Brandus et S. Dufour, [1859?]. Mus 743.3.692.5

Also available are three early Italian works. Margarita d’Anjou premiered at La Scala in 1820, to a text by Felice Romani, librettist for many operas of Bellini (including La Sonnambula and Norma), Donizetti (L’elisir d’amore, Lucrezia Borgia, Anna Bolena), Rossini (Il Turco in Italia) and Verdi (Un giorno di regno).

Emma di Resburgo and Il Crociato in Egitto are both Venetian operas, the former first given at the Teatro San Benedetto in 1819, and Il Crociato in Egitto at Teatro La Fenice in 1824, to libretti by Gaetano Rossi, librettist of Rossini’s Tancredi and Semiramide, as well as to many operas by Johann Simon Mayr, Saverio Mercadante, and Donizetti (Linda di Chamounix, Maria Padilla). Il Crociato in Egitto was the first work to bring Meyerbeer recognition throughout Europe, and the last operatic work by a major composer to contain a major role for castrato (1824).

  • [Margarita d’Anjou. Vocal score]
    Margherita d’Anjou : opera semiseria in due atti / Composto e ridotto per il cembalo da G. Meyerbeer. Paris : M. Schlesinger, [1827?]. Mus 743.3.610 B
  • [Emma di Resburgo. Vocal score. German & Italian]
    Emma von Roxburgh : grosse Oper in zwei Aufzügen / componirt von J. Meyerbeer ; vollständiger Klavier-Auszug mit deutschem und italienischem text von J.P. Schmidt. Berlin : in der Schlesingerschen Buch- und Musikhandlung ; Schlesinger, [1820?]. Mus 743.3.676
  • [Crociato in Egitto. Vocal score]
    Il crociato in Egitto : opera seria. Ridotto con accompagniamento de pianoforte. Paris, Chez Pacini, [18–]. Mus 743.3.650

Find these scores in our collection of Digital Scores and Libretti, or browse the list in HOLLIS.

Finally, from library’s general collections is a digitized volume of arias with several selections from Meyerbeer’s works, published in 1909, testimony to his long-standing popularity. He was, after all, the operatic composer who filled the “gap” between the death of Mozart (1791) and the birth of Richard Strauss (1864)!

-Robert Dennis

Newly Digitized: 19th-century Opera

Happy New Year! In this group of digital scores, you’ll find operas from the first half of the 19th century, by Cherubini, Meyerbeer, and Spontini (as well as one early Donizetti libretto). Get these, and nearly 600 other scores, in our collection of Digital Scores and Libretti.

Luigi Cherubini, 1760-1842.
[Deux journées]
Les deux journées: opéra en trois actes / par le c.en Bouilly …; mis en musique par le c.en Chérubini. Paris: Gaveaux, rue St. Marc N. 10, [181-?].
Merritt Room Mus 637.1.675.2

A full score of Cherubini’s popular rescue opera (see our earlier post for a digitized copy of the vocal score).

Guillaume Gaveaux (Gaveaux ainé) was one of a family of music publishers and merchants active in Paris between 1794 and 1832; the full imprint in this copy is covered by a label reading “Chez Mme. Duhan & Cie. … Boulvard Poissoniere No. 10.” One of a number of women in the Parisian music business, Jeanne-Elisabeth Duhan was also associated with manufacture and sale of early lithographed music printed by Louise-Gabrielle Vernay’s Imprimerie Lithographique.1

Gaspare Spontini, 1774-1851.

[Vestale. Vocal score]
La vestale : tragédie lyrique en trois actes / de mr. de Jouy; mise en musique par Gaspard Spontini; réduite pour piano. Paris: Melles. Erard, [1822?].
Mus 813.2.608

A vocal score, with some instrumental cues, of Spontini’s first grand opera and greatest success, premiered – with the Empress Josephine’s patronage – at the Théâtre de l’Académie Royale de Musique on December 15, 1807.

Soon after, Jouy wrote a parody of his own work for the Théatre du Vaudeville. Read the libretto, and his account of its creation, in his collected works: La Marchande de Modes: parodie de La Vestale (full text online).

[Fernand Cortez. Vocal score]
Fernand Cortez: opéra / par G. Spontini; arrangé pour le piano. Paris: Imbault; Melles. Érard, [1809?].
Mus 813.2.623

A vocal score of the first version of Spontini’s second grand opera, premiered November 28, 1809. Napoleon had commissioned the libretto, loosely based on Cortez’s 1520 invasion of Mexico, as a propaganda piece in support of his Spanish campaigns during the Pennisular War. While the first version was withdrawn after 13 performances, a second opened in 1817 with a revised libretto to suit the political climate of the Bourbon Restoration – and with greater success.

Giacomo Meyerbeer, 1791-1864.
[Emma di Resburgo. Vocal score. German & Italian]
Emma von Roxburgh: grosse Oper in zwei Aufzügen / componirt von J. Meyerbeer; vollständiger Klavier-Auszug mit deutschem und italienischem text von J.P. Schmidt. Berlin: in der Schlesingerschen Buch- und Musikhandlung; Schlesinger, [1820?].
Mus 743.3.676

Meyerbeer’s first Venetian commission (premiered at San Benedetto, June 26, 1819), and his first international success. A German-language production opened in Berlin in February of 1820.2

Gaetano Donizetti, 1797-1848.
[Elisir d’amore. Libretto]
L’elisir d’amore: melodramma giocoso in due atti: da rappresentarsi nel Teatro Carlo Felice, l’autunno dell’anno 1833. Genova: Stamperia Arcivesovile, [1833].
Merritt Room ML51.D683 E42 1833

A libretto from one of the earliest performances of L’elisir d’amore, performed at Genoa’s Teatro Carlo Felice. Donizetti’s popular melodrama had opened the year before at Milan’s Teatro alla Canobbiana and was quickly produced at opera houses throughout Europe.

-Kerry Masteller


1. On 18th and 19th century music publishing in Paris, see Anik Devriès and François Lesure, Dictionnaire des èditeurs de musique français (Genève: Éditions Minkoff, 1979-1988); Cecil Hopkinson, A Dictionary of Parisian Music Publishers, 1700-1950 (London: 1954). On the Imprimerie lithographique, see Michael Twyman, Early lithographed music: a study based on the H. Baron Collection (London: Farrand, 1996): 247-254.

2. On production histories, see Alfred Loewenberg, Annals of Opera: 1597-1940, 3rd rev. ed. (Totowa, N.J.: Rowman and Littlefield, 1978).

Older posts

© 2017 Loeb Music Library

Theme by Anders NorenUp ↑