f von flotow

Friedrich von Flotow

Friedrich von Flotow (27 April 1812 – 24 January 1883) was a German composer. He is chiefly remembered for his opera Martha, which was popular up to the turn of the 20th century.

Flotow was born in Teutendorf, in Mecklenburg, into an aristocratic family. He studied at the Paris Conservatoire and came under the influence of Auber, Rossini, Meyerbeer, Donizetti, Halévy, and later Gounod and Offenbach. These influences are reflected in his operas, where a distinctive French opéra comique flavour exists.

He completed his first opera in 1835, Pierre et Cathérine, but his breakthrough came with Le naufrage de la Méduse (1839). The three-act romantic opera Alessandro Stradella of 1844 is recognized as one of Flotow's finer works. Martha was first staged in Vienna at the Theater am Kärntnertor on 25 November 1847.

In all, Flotow wrote about 30 operas. Many of these works were performed in different versions and under different titles, in German, French and sometimes other languages. Some survive, some are lost. (The table below is a tentative attempt to list them.) All but Martha and Alessandro Stradella have fallen into relative obscurity, though there have been a number of attempts to revive other Flotow works in recent years.

His best known aria is probably "Ach! so fromm, ach! so traut." This was added to Martha eighteen years after the Vienna premiere. It was originally written for a Flotow opera of 1846. It has been much recorded in its Italian version, "M’apparì tutt’amor."

Between 1856 and 1863 Flotow served as Intendant of the court theatre at Schwerin. He spent his last years in Paris and Vienna and had the satisfaction of seeing his operas mounted as far away as Saint Petersburg and Turin. He died in Darmstadt at the age of 70.


Completion Title Length Première Libretto
1830-1831 Pierre et Cathérine 2 acts 1833, Paris Jules-Henri Vernoy de Saint-Georges
1833 Die Bergknappen 2 acts Theodor Körner
1833-1835 Alfred der Große 2 acts Theodor Körner
1836 Rob-Roy (or: Rob le Barbe) 1 act September 1836, Royaumont Abbey Paul Duport and Pierre Jean Baptiste Choudard Desforges, after Walter Scott
1836 Sérafine 2 acts 30 October 1836, Royaumont Desforges, after Frédéric Soulier
1837 Alice 2 acts 8 April 1837, Paris, Hôtel Castellane Comte Honoré de Sussy and Darnay de Laperrière
1837/1868 La lettre du préfet 1 act 1837, Paris, Salon Gressier Edouard Bergounioux
1838 Le comte de Saint-Mégrin; rev. 1840 as Le duc de Guise

3 acts 10 June 1838, Royaumont François de la Bouillerie and Charles de la Bouillerie, after Alexandre Dumas, père, Henri III et sa cour
1838 Lady Melvil 3 acts 15 November 1838, Paris, Théâtre de la Renaissance Jules Henri Vernoy de Saint-Georges and Adolphe de Leuven
1838 L'âme and peine (L'âme jalouse) 2 acts 29 June 1846, Paris, Opéra Garnier Jules Henri Vernoy de Saint Georges
1839 L'eau merveilleuse 2 acts 30 January 1839, Paris, Théâtre de la Renaissance Thomas Marie François Sauvrage
1839 Le naufrage de la Méduse 2 acts 31 May 1839, Paris, Théâtre de la Renaissance Hippolyte Cogniard and Théodore Cogniard
1840 Les pages de Louis XI 1840, Paris, Théâtre de la Renaissance Thédore de Villeneuve and Daniel-Alexandre-François Barrière
1843/1852/1878 L'esclave de Carmoëns; revised in 1852 as: Indra, das Schlangenmädchen; revised in 1878/I as: Zora l'enchanteresse; and in 1878/II as: Alma l'incantatrice

1 act; revised version (1852), 3 scenes; revised version (1878)/II, 4 acts

1 December 1843, Paris, Opéra-Comique; revised version (1852): 18 December 1852, Vienna, Kärntnertortheater; revised version (1878)/I: 1878, Paris; revised version (1878)/II: 9 April 1878, Paris, Théâtre-Italien

Jules Henri Vernoy de Saint-Georges; revised version (1852): Gustav zu Putlitz; revised version (1878)/I: Vernoy de Saint-George; revised version (1878)/II: Achille Lauzières de Thémines
1843-1844 Alessandro Stradella 3 acts 30 December 1844, Hamburg, Stadttheater Friedrich Wilhelm Riese
1847 Martha, oder Der Markt van Richmond 4 acts 25 November 1847, Vienna, Kärntnertortheater Friedrich Wilhelm Riese
1850 Sophie Katharina, oder Die Großfürstin 4 acts 19 November 1850, Berlin, Königliche Oper Charlotte Bich-Pfeiffer
1852 Rübezahl 3 acts 13 August 1852, Retzien near Perleberg Gustav zu Putlitz
1855-1856 Albin, oder Der Pflegesohn 3 acts 12 February 1856, Vienna, Kärntnertortheater Hermann Salomon Mosenthal, after Vaudeville, Les deux Savoyards
1856 Le vannier 3 acts 1856 for Paris, unperformed Jules Henri Vernoy de Saint Georges and Léon Halévy
1857 Herzog Johann Albrecht von Mecklenburg, oder Andreas Mylius;

3 acts 26 May 1857, Schwerin Eduard Hobein
1857 Pianella 1 act 27 December 1857, Schwerin Emil Pohl, after Pergolesi, La serva padrona
1859 La veuve Grapin
Revised in 1861 as: Madame Bonjour
1 act 21 September 1859, Paris, Théâtre des Bouffes Parisiens, second version : 1 June 1861, Vienna, Theater am Franz-Joseph-Kai Philippe Auguste Pittaud de Forges
1861 Zilda, ou La nuit des dupes 2 acts 28 May 1866, Paris, Opéra-Comique Jules Henri Vernoy de Saint-Georges and Henri Charles Chivot
1864 Der Königsschuß 22 May 1864, Schwerin Theodor Schloepke
1865 La châtelaine 2 acts September 1865, Vienna, Carltheater M A Grandjean
1868 Am Runenstein 2 acts 13 April 1868, Prague, Ständetheater Richard Genée
1869 Die Musikanten 3 acts 19 June 1887, Mannheim, Nationaltheater Richard Genée
1869 Sakuntala 3 acts 1869, Schwerin Carlo d'Orneville, after Wolzogen's adaptation of the Abhijñānaśākuntalam of Kālidāsa
1870 L'ombre 3 acts 7 July 1870, Paris, Opéra Comique Jules Henri Vernoy de Saint-Georges and Adolphe Charles de Leuven
1871-1872 La fleur de Harlem 3 acts 1876, Turin as Il fiore d'Arlem Jules Henri Vernoy de Saint-Georges and Adolphe Charles de Leuven, after Alexandre Dumas, père, Le tulipe noir
1877 Rosellana 3 acts Lauzières de Thémines


Some of the information in this article is taken from the Dutch Wikipedia article

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