Friedrich Flotow

Friedrich Flotow Biography

Friedrich von Flotow (27 April 1812 – 24 January 1883) was a German composer. He is chiefly remembered for his opera Martha, which was popular at the end of the 19th century and beginning of the 20th, but now rarely performed.

Flotow was born in Teutendorf into an aristocratic family. He studied the at the Paris Conservatoire and came under the influence of Auber, Rossini, Meyerbeer, Donizetti, HalÚvy, later Gounod and Offenbach. This influence clearly reflects in his operas which have a distinctive French opÚra comique flavor in most of his music.

He completed his first opera in 1835, Pierre et CathÚrine but his first major breakthrough was with Le naufrage de la MÚdeuse (1839). Martha, his most successful work, was first staged in Vienna at the Theater am Kńrntnertor Wien on 25 November 1847. In all, he wrote 29 operas which were translated into Italian, French and English versions to achieve wider audience although at the turn of the 20th century, his music eventually fell into near obscurity. His most famous aria is probably the 'Ach, so fromm' which was from Martha as well although its Italian version is more widely heard today which is 'M'appari' or known in English as 'She appeared to me' or in other words, 'Return to me' if the direct translation of the lyrics are considered. The opera Alessandro Stradella which is a romantic opera in 3 Acts also achieved considerable popularity.

Later, in 1856 to 1863 he was also the intendant of the court theatre at Schwerin and later spent his last years in Paris and in Vienna although he probably enjoyed the satisfaction of seeing his operas being mounted for production as afar as St. Petersburg and Turin.

Flotow also wrote instrumental music and songs.

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