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Franz von Suppé (1819-1895)


Franz von Suppé (April 18, 1819 – May 21, 1895) was a composer and conductor of the Romantic period notable for his four dozen operettas.

Suppé was born in 1819 in Split, Dalmatia, descended from a Belgian family that probably emigrated there in the 18th century. A distant relative of Gaetano Donizetti, his original name was Francesco Ezechiele Ermenegildo, Cavaliere Suppé-Demelli. The "Cavaliere" in his name is a signifier of knighthood. He simplified and Germanized his name when in Vienna, and changed "cavaliere" to "von." Outside Germanic circles his name may appear on programs as Francesco Suppé-Demelli.

He spent his childhood in Zadar, where he had his first music lessons and began to compose at an early age. As a teenager in Cremona, Suppé studied flute and harmony. His first extant composition is a Roman Catholic Mass, which premiered at a Franciscan church in Zadar in 1832. He moved to Padua to study law, a field of study not chosen by him, but continued to study music. Suppé was also a singer, making his debut in the role of Dulcamara in Donizetti's L'Elisir d'Amore at the Sopron Theater in 1842.

He was invited to Vienna by Franz Pokorny, the director of Josephstädter Theater. In Vienna, after studying with Ignaz von Seyfried and Simon Sechter, he conducted in the theater, without pay at first, but with the opportunity to present his own operas there. Eventually, Suppé wrote music for over a hundred productions at the theater in Josephstadt as well as the one in Leopoldstadt, at the Theater an der Wien, and a theater at Baden. He also put on some landmark opera productions, such as the 1846 production of Meyerbeer's Les Huguenots with Jenny Lind. He died in Vienna in 1895.

Two of Suppé's comic operas have been performed at the Metropolitan Opera in New York, Boccaccio and Donna Juanita, but they failed to become repertoire works. He composed about 30 operettas and 180 farces, ballets, and other stage works. Though the bulk of Suppé's operas have nearly sunken to oblivion, the overtures, particularly Light Cavalry and Poet & Peasant, have survived and some of them have been used in all sorts of soundtracks for movies, cartoons, advertisements, and so on, in addition to being frequently played at symphonic "pops" concerts. Some of Suppé's operas are still regularly performed in Europe; Peter Branscombe, writing in the New Grove Dictionary of Music and Musicians, characterizes Suppé's song Des ist mein Österreich as "Austria'ssecond national song".

Suppé retained links with his native Dalmatia, occasionally visiting Split, Zadar, and Šibenik. Some of his works are linked with Dalmatia, in particular his operetta The Mariner's Return, the action of which
takes place in Hvar. After retiring from conducting, Suppé continued to write operas, but shifted his focus to sacred music. He also wrote a Requiem for theater director Franz Pokorny, three Masses, songs, symphonies, and concert overtures.

Some of Suppé's more well-known works are listed here. All operettas (listed with date of first performance) unless indicated:

* Das Pensionat - November 24, 1860, Vienna
* Die Kartenschlägerin - April 26, 1862, Kai-Theatre Vienna
* Zehn Mädchen und kein Mann - October 25, 1862, Kai-Theatre Vienna
* Flotte Burschen - April 18, 1863, Kai-Theater Vienna
* The Beautiful Galatea - September 9, 1865, Carl-Theatre Vienna
* Light Cavalry (opera) - March 21, 1866, Carl-Theatre Vienna
* Banditenstreiche - April 27, 1867, Carl-Theatre, Vienna
* Die Frau Meisterin - January 20, 1868, Carl-Theatre Vienna
* Fatinitza - January 5, 1876, Carl-Theatre Vienna
* Boccaccio - Opera - February 1, 1879, Carl-Theatre Vienna
* Donna Juanita - February 21, 1880, Carl-Theatre Vienna
* Der Gascogner - March 22, 1881, Carl-Theatre Vienna
* Pique Dame - Opera - June 22, 1884, Graz (Revision of Die Kartenschlägerin)
* Bellmann - February 26, 1887, Vienna Theatre
* Die Jagd nach dem Glück - October 27, 1888, Carl-Theatre Vienna
* March Oh Du mein Österreich
* Overture Morning, Noon, and Night in Vienna
* Overture Poet and Peasant

Text Source: Wikipedia


Suppés Grave



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