Meyerbeer, Giacomo jä´kōmō mī´yərbĕr [key], 1791–1864, German operatic composer. He traveled in Italy and experimented in various styles of composition, but his real success came only with his spectacular French grand operas—Robert le Diable (1831) and his masterpiece, Les Huguenots (1836), a tragic study of religious violence that was long popular with audiences. For these and two other grand operas, Le Prophète (1849) and L'Africaine (1865), Scribe was the librettist. Two opéras comiques are noteworthy, L'Étoile du nord (1854) and Dinorah (1859). He calculated the taste of his public with tremendous success and was much imitated, notably by Wagner in Rienzi. Later Wagner condemned Meyerbeer in anti-Semitic screeds.
The Columbia Electronic Encyclopedia, 6th ed. Copyright © 2012, Columbia University Press. All rights reserved.
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