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Composers

Mayr, Giovanni Simone

Born in 1763, Mayr was German by nationality but Italian by adoption. Raised in Bavaria, he later moved to Venice to pursue his musical career, where he was urged by the composer Niccolò Piccini to try his hand at opera. The result was Saffo...

Mercadante, Saverio

Born in 1795, Mercadante studied in Naples, attracting the attention of Rossini. His first opera, L’apoteosi d’Ercole, was well received in 1819 at the Teatro San Carlo. Others quickly followed. His first notable hit was Elisa e Claudio...

Meyerbeer, Jakob Liebmann

Meyerbeer came from a family of wealthy Jewish bankers. Born in 1791 in Berlin, he studied under Abbe Vogler (Weber was a fellow student), developing into an accomplished pianist. Meyerbeer’s first attempts at writing opera met with failure...

Offenbach, Jacques

Born in Cologne in 1819, Offenbach was the seventh of ten children. His family moved to Paris in 1833 where he studied cello at the Conservatoire. He joined the orchestra of the Opéra-Comique in 1837, surviving as a virtuoso performer throughout...

Pacini, Giovanni

Pacini was hugely prolific. Born in the Sicilian town of Catania in 1796, he wrote his first opera, Don Pomponio, while a teenager. A spate of works followed. He produced a dozen comedies in four years, then won recognition with Adelaide e Comingio...

Paer, Ferdinando

Born in Parma in 1771 Paer received his first musical instruction from his father Giulio and later studied with the court maestro di cappella Gian Francesco Fortunati. He was a prolific composer, producing at least 55 operas, most of them during...