Adolphe Adam Composer

Biography

The son of an Alsatian composer and pianist, himself piano teacher at the Paris Conservatoire, Adolphe Charles Adam was born on July 24, 1803. He defied his father and started to study music in secret. He then entered the Paris Conservatoire in 1817 and became a pupil of François-Adrien Boieldieu, who quickly directed him to comic opera, a genre that was undergoing a major transformation at the time. In 1825, he won the Prix de Rome’s second prize. In 1834, Adam had one of his greatest popular successes with Le Chalet, an opera comic which has since been considered the starting point of French operetta and which influenced Offenbach in his early years. Above all, his successful, lively and brilliant “operas bouffes”, such as Le Postillon de Longjumeau in 1836, made him famous. In 1840, he composed a funeral march for the return of the mortal remains of Napoleon I and the burial in Hôtel des Invalides.

From 1847 to 1848, he tried to found his own theater house, the Opéra‑National, but the experience failed and left him financially ruined. He worked as music critic and taught composition at the Conservatoire, where Léo Delibes was his student. After the success of Giselle (1841), he composed the score of several ballets: La Jolie fille de Gand for Albert Decombe (1842), Le Diable à quatre (1845), Griseldis ou les cinq sens (1848) and Le Corsaire (1856) for Joseph Mazilier, as well as La Filleule des fées for Jules Perrot (1849). 

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