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Adolphe Adam

[ad-uhm for 1, 3, 5–6; a-dahn for 2, 4]

Adolphe Charles Adam (July 24, 1803May 3, 1856) was a French composer and music critic. A prolific composer of operas and ballets, he is best known today for his ballets Giselle (1844) and Le Corsaire (1856, his last work), his operas Le postillon de Lonjumeau (1836), Le toréador (1849) and Si j'étais roi (1852, often regarded as his finest work), and his Christmas carol Minuit, chrétiens! (O Holy Night) (1847). Adam was also a noted teacher. Léo Delibes was among his pupils.

Biography

Adolphe Adam was born in Paris to Louis Adam (1758-1848), who was also a 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. He entered the Paris Conservatoire in 1821, where he studied organ and harmonium under the celebrated opera composer François-Adrien Boïeldieu. Adam also played the triangle in the orchestra of the Conservatoire; however, he did not win the Grand Prix de Rome and his father did not encourage him to pursue a music career.

By the age of 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 Boïeldieu prepare parts for La dame blanche and made a piano reduction of the score. He was able to travel through Europe with the money he made, and he met Eugène Scribe, with whom he later collaborates, 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 third opera house in Paris: the Théâtre National. It opened in 1847, but closed because of the Revolution of 1848, leaving Adam with massive debts. 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", often known by its English title "O Holy Night", has become an international favourite and may have been the first music broadcast on radio

Adolphe Adam is buried there in the Cimetière de Montmartre (Montmartre Cemetery).

Compositions

Ballets:

La chatte blanche (1830)
Faust (1833)
La fille du Danube (1836)
Les Mohicans (1837)
L'écumeur des mers (1840)
Les Hamadryades (1840)
Giselle, ou Les willis (1841)
La jolie fille de Gand (1842)
Le Diable à Quatre (1845)
Griseldis, ou Les cinq sens (1848)
La filleule des fées (1849)
Orfa (1852)
Le Corsaire (1856)

Operas:

1824–1829

  • La baiser au porteur, Vaudeville. Libretto: Eugène Scribe, Justin Marie Alexis Gensoul + Charles de Courcy. Premiere: 9. June 1824 Paris, Théâtre Vaudeville
  • Les hussards de Felsheim, Vaudeville 3 acts. Premiere: March 1827 Paris, Théâtre Vaudeville
  • L'exile, Vaudeville. Premiere: Spring 1827 Paris, Théâtre Vaudeville
  • Le dame jaune, Vaudeville. Premiere: Spring 1827 Paris, Théâtre Vaudeville
  • L'héritière et l'orpheline, Vaudeville. Premiere: May 1827 Paris, Théâtre Vaudeville
  • Perkins Warbeck, Vaudeville 3 acts. Premiere: Autumn 1827 Paris, Théâtre Vaudeville
  • Monsieur Botte, Vaudeville 3 acts. Premiere: November 1827 Paris, Théâtre Vaudeville
  • Le caleb de Walter Scott, Vaudeville 1 act. Premiere: December 1827 Paris, Théâtre Vaudeville
  • Le mal du pays ou La bâtelière de Brientz, Operette 1 act. Libretto: Eugène Scribe + Anne-Honoré-Joseph Duveyrier de Mélésville. Premiere: 28. December 1827 Paris, Théâtre Gymnase
  • Valentine, Vaudeville 2 acts. Premiere: Spring 1828 Paris, Théâtre des Nouveautés
  • Le barbier châtelain, Vaudeville 3 acts. Premiere: Spring 1828 Paris, Théâtre des Nouveautés
  • Guillaume Tell, incidental music, Drama 5 acts. Libretto: Joseph Xavier Boniface Saintine, Charles Désiré Dupeuty + Villeneuve, after Friedrich Schiller. Premiere: 16. June 1828 Paris, Théâtre Vaudeville
  • Le jeune propriétaire et le vieux fermier, Opéra comique 3 acts. Libretto: Armand d'Artois. Premiere: 6. February 1829 Paris, Théâtre des Nouveautés
  • Pierre et Catherine, Opéra comique, 1 act. Libretto: after Jules-Henri Vernoy de Saint-Georges. Premiere: September 1829 Paris, Opéra-Comique
  • Isaura, incidental music, Drama 3 acts. Libretto: Antier + Nézel. Premiere: 1. October 1829 Paris, Théâtre des Nouveautés

1830–1839

  • Danilowa, Opéra comique 3 acts. Libretto: Jean Baptiste Charles Vial + Paul Duport. 23. April 1830 Paris, Opéra-Comique
  • Les trois Cathérine, Opéra comique 3 acts. Libretto: Guillaume Edouard Monnais + Paul Duport. Premiere: 26. July 1830 Paris, Théâtre des Nouveautés
  • Trois jours en une heure, Opéra comique 1 act. in collaboration with Henri Romagnesi. Libretto: Jules Joseph Gabriel + Auguste Michel Benoît Gaudichot Masson. Premiere: 21. August 1830 Paris, Opéra-Comique
  • Joséphine ou Le retour de Wagram, Opéra comique 1 act. Libretto: Jules Joseph Gabriel + Ferdinand Simon de Laboullaye. Premiere: 2. December 1830 Paris, Opéra-Comique
  • Le morceau d'ensemble, Opéra comique 1 act. Libretto: Frédéric de Courcy + Pierre François Adolphe Carmouche. Premiere: 7. March 1831 Paris, Opéra-Comique
  • Le grand prix ou Le voyage à frais communs, Opéra comique 3 acts. Libretto: Jules Joseph Gabriel + Auguste Michel Benoît Gaudichot Masson. Premiere: 9. July 1831 Paris, Opéra-Comique
  • Casimir ou Le premier tête-à-tête, Opéra comique 3 acts. Libretto: Charles Desnoyers. Premiere: 1. December 1831 Paris, Théâtre des Nouveautés
  • His First Campaign, Military Spectacle 2 acts. Libretto: James Robinson Planché. Premiere: 1. October 1832 London, Theatre Royal, Covent Garden
  • The Dark Diamond, Historical Melodrama 3 acts. Premiere: 5. November 1832 London, Theatre Royal, Covent Garden
  • Le proscrit ou Le tribunal invisible, Drame lyrique 3 acts. Libretto: Joseph Xavier Boniface Saintine + Pierre François Adrien Carmouche. Premiere: 18. September 1833 Paris, Opéra-Comique
  • Une bonne fortune, Opéra comique 1 act. Libretto: A.Fénéol + Edouard Mennechet. Premiere: 23. January 1834 Paris, Opéra-Comique
  • Le chalet, Opéra comique 1 act. Libretto: Augustin Eugène Scribe + Anne Honoré Joseph Mélesville, after Goethe Jery und Bäteli. Premiere: 25. September 1834 Paris, Opéra-Comique.
  • La marquise, Opéra comique 1 act. Libretto: Jules Henri Vernoy de Saint-Georges + Adolphe de Leuven. Premiere: 28. February 1835 Paris, Opéra-Comique
  • Micheline ou L'heure de l'esprit, Opéra comique 1 act. Libretto: Auguste Michel Benoît Gaudichot Masson, Théodore Ferdinand Vallou de Villeneuve + Amable Villain de Saint-Hilaire. Premiere: 29. June 1835 Paris, Opéra-Comique
  • Le postillon de Lonjumeau, Opéra comique 3 acts (120 Min.). Libretto: Adolphe de Leuven + Léon Lévy Brunswick. Premiere: 13. October 1836 Paris, Opéra-Comique.
  • Le fidèle berger, Opéra comique 3 acts. Libretto: Augustin Eugène Scribe + Jules Henri Vernoy de Saint-Georges. Premiere: 6. January 1838 Paris, Opéra-Comique.
  • Le brasseur de Preston, Opéra comique 3 acts. Libretto: Adolphe de Leuven + Léon Lévy Brunswick. Premiere: 31. October 1838 Paris, Opéra-Comique.
  • Régine ou Les deux nuits, Opéra comique 2 acts. Libretto: Eugène Scribe. Premiere: 17. January 1839 Paris, Opéra-Comique.
  • La reine d'un jour, Opéra comique 3 acts. Libretto: Eugène Scribe + Jules Henri Vernoy de Saint-Georges. Premiere: 19. September 1839 Paris, Opéra-Comique.

1840–1849

  • La rose de Péronne, Opéra comique 3 acts. Libretto: Adolphe de Leuven + Adolphe d'Ennery. Premiere: 12. December 1840 Paris, Opéra-Comique
  • La mayn de fer, ou Un mariage secret, Opéra comique 3 acts. Libretto: Eugène Scribe + Adolphe de Leuven. Premiere: 26. October 1841 Paris, Opéra-Comique
  • Le roi d'Yvetôt, Opéra comique 3 acts. Libretto: Adolphe de Leuven + Léon Lévy Brunswick. Premiere: 13. October 1842 Paris, Opéra-Comique.
  • Lambert Simuel, Opéra comique 3 acts. Vollendung der Oper von François Louis H. Monpou. Libretto: Eugène Scribe + Anne Honoré Joseph Mélesville. Premiere: 14. September 1843 Paris, Opéra-Comique
  • Cagliostro, Opéra comique 3 acts. Libretto: Eugène Scribe + Jules Henri Vernoy de Saint-Georges. Premiere: 10. February 1844 Paris, Opéra-Comique
  • Richard en Palestine, Grand Opéra 3 acts. Libretto: Paul Foucher. Premiere: 7. October 1844 Paris, Opéra
  • La bouquetière, Opéra 1 act. Libretto: Hippolyte Julyen Joseph Lucas. Premiere: 31. May 1847 Paris, Opéra
  • Les premiers pas ou Les deux génies ou Les mémoires de la blanchisseuse, Pasticcio 1 act + Prolog. together with Daniel Auber, Michele Carafa + Fromental Halévy. Libretto: Alphonse Royer + Gustave Vaëz. Premiere: 15. November 1847 Paris, Opéra
  • Le toréador, ou L'accord parfait, Opéra comique 2 acts. Libretto: Thomas Marie François Sauvage. Premiere: 18. May 1849 Paris, Opéra-Comique.
  • Le fanal, Opéra 2 acts. Libretto: Jules Henri Vernoy de Saint-Georges. Premiere: 24. December 1849 Paris, Opéra

1850–1856

  • Giralda ou La nouvelle psyché, Opéra comique 3 acts (135 Min.). Libretto: Eugène Scribe. Premiere: 20. July 1850 Paris, Opéra-Comique.
  • La poupée de Nuremberg, Opéra comique 1 act (60 Min.). Libretto: Adolphe de Leuven + Victor Arthur Rousseau de Beauplan. Premiere: 21. February 1852 Paris, Opéra Comique.
  • Le farfadet, Opéra comique 1 act. Libretto: François Antoine Eugène de Planard. Premiere: 19. March 1852 Paris, Opéra-Comique
  • Si j'étais roi, Opéra comique 3 acts. Libretto: Adolphe d'Ennery + Jules Henri Brésil. Premiere: 4. September 1852 Paris, Théatre Lyrique.
  • La faridondaine, incidental music, Drama 5 acts. together with Louis Adolphe de Groot. Premiere: 30. December 1852 Paris, Porte St Martin
  • Le sourd ou L'auberge pleine, Opéra comique 3 acts. Libretto: Adolphe de Leuven + Ferdinand Langlé, after Pierre Jean Baptiste Choudard Desforges. Premiere: 2. February 1853 Paris, Opéra-Comique.
  • Le roi des halles, Opéra comique 3 acts. Libretto: Adolphe de Leuven + Léon Lévy Brunswick. Premiere: 11. April 1853 Paris, Théâtre Lyrique
  • Le bijou perdu, Opéra comique 3 acts. Libretto: Adolphe de Leuven + Philippe Auguste Alfred Pittaud de Forges. Premiere: 6. October 1853 Paris, Théâtre Lyrique
  • Le muletier de Tolède. Opéra comique 3 acts. Libretto: Adolphe Philippe d'Ennery + Charles Clairville. Premiere: 16. December 1854 Paris, Théâtre Lyrique
  • À Clichy, épisode de la vie d'un artiste, Opéra comique 1 act. Libretto: Adolphe Philippe d'Ennery + Eugène Grange. Premiere: 24. December 1854 Paris, Théâtre Lyrique
  • Le housard de Berenchy, Opéra comique 2 acts. Libretto: Joseph Bernhard Rosier. Premiere: 17. October 1855 Paris, Opéra-Comique
  • Falstaff, Opéra comique 1 act. Libretto: Adolphe de Leuven + Jules Henri Vernoy de Saint-Georges. Premiere: 18. January 1856 Paris, Théâtre Lyrique
  • Mam'zelle Geneviève, Opéra comique 2 acts. Libretto: Arthur de Beauplan + Léon Lévy Brunswick. Premiere: 23. March 1856 Paris, Théâtre Lyrique
  • Les pantins de Violette, Opéra comique 1 act. Libretto: Léon Battu. Premiere: 29. April 1856 Paris, Théâtre des Bouffes Parisiens.
  • Le dernier bal, Opéra comique. Libretto: Eugène Scribe. Unstaged.

Media

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