daniel auber

Daniel-Francois-Esprit Auber

Daniel-Francois-Esprit Auber was one of the premier opera composers of his day. His 1828 opera La Muette de Portici pioneered an entirely new style of grand opera featuring historical themes and spectacular stage spectacle.

He enjoyed a successful partnership with librettist Eugene Scribe and wrote numerous acclaimed operas. Auber also played an essential part in shaping Romantic ballet through his lengthy danced interludes and divertissements.

Early Life and Education

Daniel-Francois Esprit Auber was a French composer and church musician. Additionally, he taught at the Paris Conservatoire.

Auber’s career was catalyzed after joining forces with librettist Eugene Scribe for 41 years and creating 38 stage works together, including La Muette de Portici and Fra Diavolo which went on to influence Giacomo Meyerbeer’s large-scale operas.

His operas may no longer be performed, yet several of his overtures remain popular concert pieces. They typically follow sonata form without an extended Development section – instead they build to an impressive coda with sequential passagework leading up to an excellent finale. He was an influence on Charles Gounod, Jules Massenet, and Richard Strauss among many others.

Professional Career

Auber’s collaboration with dramatist and librettist Eugene Scribe (1791-1861) is considered to be a keystone in the development of 19th century French opera. They first achieved great success together with Le Macon (1825), an opera about Neapolitan revolt from 1777; this success was followed by La muette de Portici (also known as Masaniello) in 1828 and Fra Diavolo in 1830 – all three dealing with topical subjects that resonated deeply within French audiences.

These operas, typically three acts with spoken dialogue, quickly made Auber a highly sought-after composer. Unfortunately, changing musical tastes caused his popularity to decline after 1910; most of his operas practically vanished from stage performances with only Fra Diavolo still making appearances; his overtures continued as concert repertoire items.

Achievement and Honors

Auber was honored with numerous distinctions during his life, from membership in the Institut (in 1825) to serving as Director of Concerts at Court (in 1839) and replacing Cherubini as Conservatoire Director (1842). Additionally, Auber earned membership into Legion of Honour as well as becoming Imperial Maitre de Chapelle (1857).

At one time, his overtures were instantly recognizable; their elegant melodies and dance rhythms left an indelible mark upon Romantic comic opera. But as tastes and fashions changed, so too did his works fade from the repertoire; with only Fra Diavolo remaining today as one of its operas remaining in performance.

His 1835 Piano Concerto remains an elegant piece, full of charm. In particular, its second movement stands out as an outstanding piece with its lively ensemble writing and occasional counterpoint flourishes.

Personal Life

Daniel-Francois-Esprit Auber was one of France’s most esteemed 19th-century composers, particularly in opera comique. Working alongside librettist Eugene Scribe for over thirty years and creating 38 stage works. Masaniello or La muette de Portici (1828) helped set off an era of French grand opera.

Remarkably, his operas predated those of Massenet and Puccini by at least one generation while inspiring composers such as Giuseppe Verdi; in particular his 1833 opera Gustave III served as a basis for Verdi’s Un ballo in maschera (1859).

Though Auber’s operas no longer appear regularly in standard repertories, his fantastic overtures continue to receive performances. Auber was highly esteemed by both Rossini and Wagner and enjoyed royal and imperial patronage; five biographies about him were written during his lifetime.

Net Worth

Daniel Francois Esprit Auber’s net worth has steadily been growing over time. A leading composer during his lifetime, Auber collaborated closely with Eugene Scribe as librettist over many years to compose opera comique works such as Masaniello and La muette de portici.

In 1828, he scored his breakthrough success with La Muette de Portici (The Dumb Girl of Portici), better known in English as Masaniello and marking the beginning of French grand opera. It featured private drama based around major historical events; dramatic chorus; varied and piquant musical textures; grandiloquent marches and spectacular scenic effects.

Auber was appointed a member of the Institut in 1829, served as director of the Paris Conservatoire from 1842 onwards, was chapelmaster for Napoleon III from 1857 onwards and composed an extensive number of religious cantatas and motets.

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