Adolphe Charles Adam (French: [adɔlf adɑ̃] ; 24 July 1803 – 3 May 1856) was a French composer and music critic. A prolific composer of operas and ballets, he is best known today for his ballets Giselle (1841) and Le corsaire (1856, his last work), his operas Le postillon de Lonjumeau (1836), Le toréador (1849) and Si j'étais roi (1852) and his Christmas carol Minuit, chrétiens! (1844), later set to different English lyrics and widely sung as "O Holy Night" (1847). Adam was a noted teacher, who taught Delibes and other influential composers.
Adolphe Adam was born in Paris, to Jean-Louis Adam (1758–1848), who was a prominent Alsatian composer, as well a professor at the Paris Conservatoire. His mother was the daughter of a physician. As a child, Adolphe Adam preferred to improvise music on his own rather than study music seriously and occasionally truanted with writer Eugène Sue who was also something of a dunce in early years. Jean-Louis Adam was a pianist and teacher but was firmly set against the idea of his son's following in his footsteps. Adam was determined, however and studied and composed secretly under the tutelage of his older friend Ferdinand Hérold, a popular composer of the day. When Adam was 17, his father relented and he was permitted to study at the Paris Conservatoire, but only after he promised that he would learn music only as an amusement, not as a career.He entered the Paris Conservatoire in 1821, where he studied organ and harmonium under the celebrated opera composer François-Adrien Boieldieu. Adam also played the timpani in the orchestra of the Conservatoire; however, he did not win the Prix de Rome and his father did not encourage him to pursue a music career, as he won second prize.
By age 20, he was writing songs for Paris vaudeville houses and playing in the orchestra at the Gymnasie Dramatique, where he later became chorus master. Like many other French composers, he made a living largely by playing the organ. In 1825, he helped Boieldieu prepare parts for his opera La dame blanche and made a piano reduction of the score. Adam was able to travel through Europe with the money he made and he met Eugène Scribe, with whom he later collaborated, in Geneva. By 1830, he had completed twenty-eight works for the theatre.
Adam is probably best remembered for the ballet Giselle (1841). He wrote several other ballets and 39 operas, including Le postillon de Lonjumeau (1836) and Si j'étais roi (1852).
After quarreling with the director of the Opéra, Adam invested his money and borrowed heavily to open a fourth opera house in Paris: the Théâtre National (Opéra-National). It opened in 1847, but closed because of the Revolution of 1848, leaving Adam with massive debts (Théâtre National later was resurrected under the name of Théâtre Lyrique at the Boulevard du Temple). His efforts to extricate himself from these debts include a brief turn to journalism.From 1849 to his death in Paris, he taught composition at the Paris Conservatoire.
His Christmas carol "Cantique de Noël", translated to English as "O Holy Night", is an international favorite, and has been widely recorded. "Cantique de Noel" is based on a poem written by Placide Cappeau de Roquemaure. Adam subsequently crafted a melody for the poem that was translated into English by John Sullivan Dwight (1813 - 1893), a Boston music teacher and music journalist, as well as co-founder of The Harvard Music Society.
Adam is buried in Montmartre Cemetery in Paris.
Clément Philibert Léo Delibes was a French composer, best known for his ballets and operas. His works include the ballets Coppélia (1870) and Sylvia (1876) and the opera Lakmé (1883).
Louis Joseph Ferdinand Hérold, better known as Ferdinand Hérold, was a French operatic composer of Alsatian descent who also wrote many pieces for the piano, orchestra, and the ballet. He is best known today for the ballet La fille mal gardée and the overture to the opera Zampa.
Opéra comique is a genre of French opera that contains spoken dialogue and arias. It emerged from the popular opéras comiques en vaudevilles of the Fair Theatres of St Germain and St Laurent, which combined existing popular tunes with spoken sections. Associated with the Paris theatre of the same name, opéra comique is not always comic or light in nature; Carmen, perhaps the most famous opéra comique, is a tragedy.
François-Adrien Boieldieu was a French composer, mainly of operas, often called "the French Mozart".
La source is a ballet in three acts/four scenes with a score composed by Léo Delibes and Ludwig Minkus which was premiered in Paris in 1866 with choreography by Arthur Saint-Léon. In 1878 in Vienna it was called Naïla, die Quellenfee.
Jules-Henri Vernoy de Saint-Georges, French playwright, was born and died in Paris. He was one of the most prolific librettists of the 19th century, often working in collaboration with others.
The Salle Le Peletier or Lepeletier was the home of the Paris Opera from 1821 until the building was destroyed by fire in 1873. The theatre was designed and constructed by the architect François Debret on the site of the garden of the Hôtel de Choiseul on the rue Lepeletier. Due to the many changes in government and management during the theatre's existence, it had a number of different official names, the most important of which were: Théâtre de l'Académie Royale de Musique (1821–1848), Opéra-Théâtre de la Nation (1848–1850), Théâtre de l'Académie Nationale de Musique (1850–1852), Théâtre de l'Académie Impériale de Musique (1852–1854), Théâtre Impérial de l'Opéra (1854–1870), and Théâtre National de l'Opéra (1870–1873).
Le postillon de Lonjumeau is an opéra-comique in three acts by Adolphe Adam to a French libretto by 'Adolphe de Leuven' and 'Brunswick'.
Si j'étais roi is an opéra comique in three acts by Adolphe Adam. The libretto was written by Adolphe d'Ennery and Jules-Henri Brésil. It was first performed in Paris at the Théâtre Lyrique on 4 September 1852, opening with a dual cast to allow performance on successive evenings. The production was considered lavish, with expensive costumes and jewels being worn by the cast.
Louis Adam or Jean-Louis Adam was a French composer, music teacher, and piano virtuoso. His son, Adolphe Adam, was the composer of the score for the ballet Giselle.
Ludwig Minkus, also known as Léon Fyodorovich Minkus, was a Jewish-Austrian composer of ballet music, a violin virtuoso and teacher.
François Benoist was a French organist, composer, and pedagogue.
Adolphe de Leuven was a French theatre director and a librettist. Also known as Grenvallet, and Count Adolph Ribbing.
Norma Fontenla was an Argentine prima ballerina.
Léon Lévy Brunswick was a French playwright. He started as a journalist before turning to theater. He is the author of many comedies with Jean-François Bayard, Louis-Émile Vanderburch, and Arthur de Beauplan such as Boccaccio, or the Prince of Palmero by Franz von Suppé. But it is with Adolphe de Leuven that he is known for his greatest successes, notably booklets of comic operas by Adolphe Adam. He has also published under the pseudonym of Leo Lhérie.
Geneviève-Aimé-Zoë Prévost was a French operatic soprano. She created leading roles in some of the most notable French opéras comiques of the first half of the nineteenth century, including "Fra Diavolo" by Daniel Auber and "Le postillon de Lonjumeau" by Adolphe Adam.
Jean-Baptiste Marie Chollet was a French musician and singer (baritone. He also composed a few surviving romances and nocturnes. He married the opera singer Geneviève-Aimé-Zoë Prévost and their daughter Caroline Chollet also became an opera singer under the stage name Mademoiselle Monrose.
André Mallabrera was a French tenor. Born in Oran,, he was the son of singer José Mallabrera.
René Massis is a French contemporary baritone.
Jean-Alexandre-Ferdinand Poise was a French composer, author of opéra-comiques for which he wrote the librettos or participated in the writing.
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