5th September 1791
2nd May 1864
Giacomo Meyerbeer (born Jacob Liebmann Beer) was a Prussian opera composer of Jewish birth who has been described as perhaps the most successful stage composer of the nineteenth century. With his 1831 opera Robert le diable and its successors he gave the genre of grand opera 'decisive character'. Meyerbeer's grand opera style was achieved by his merging of German orchestra style with Italian vocal tradition. These were employed in the context of sensational and melodramatic libretti created by Eugène Scribe, and were enhanced by the up-to-date theatre technology of the Paris Opéra. They set a standard which helped to maintain Paris as the opera capital of the nineteenth-century.