September 5, 1791: Jakob Liebmann Meyer Beer (later Giacomo Meyerbeer) is born in Vogelsdorf, Kingdom of Prussia, just east of Berlin, the son of Jakob Herz Beer, owner of a sugar refinery, and Amalia Malka Liebmann Meyer Wulff, daughter of Liebmann Meyer Wulff who made his fortune delivering supplies to Prussian troops and directing the Prussian lottery.
June 17, 1812: Georg Joseph Vogler (63) and Meyer Beer (Giacomo Meyerbeer) (20) travel to Nymphenburg to see the Queen of Bavaria. Vogler intercedes on behalf of his protégé to have his opera Jephtas Gelübde performed at the Court Theatre, and that the Queen may allow Meyerbeer to play in the Court Concert. The Queen says she will have to consult the King. Later, Meyerbeer is summoned to play in the evening. He is last in a line of performers and plays his Rondo in g minor at the piano. The Queen compliments him and asks about his compositions.
December 23, 1812: Jephtas Gelübde, an opera by Meyer Beer (Giacomo Meyerbeer) (21) to words of Schreiber, is performed for the first time, in the Court Theatre, Munich. Although nervous and troubled leading up to today, the composer is greatly pleased by the outcome. However, it is not well received.
January 6, 1813: Wirth und Gast, oder Aus Scherz Ernst, a Lustspiel by Meyer Beer (Giacomo Meyerbeer) (21) to words of Wohlbrück, is performed for the first time, in the Court Theatre, Stuttgart. The presence of the composer doesn’t help the poor preparations and the opera does not fare well with the audience.
December 8, 1813: A benefit for wounded Austrian and Bavarian soldiers at the University of Vienna features the first performance of two works by Ludwig van Beethoven (42): the Symphony no.7 and Wellington’s Victory. The works cause ecstatic applause and critical raves. The concert is so successful it will be repeated 12 December. Wellingtons’s Victory is directed by Beethoven with the assistance of Ignaz Moscheles, and Antonio Salieri (63). The violins include Louis Spohr (29), Ignaz Schuppanzigh, and Joseph Mayseder. Playing bass drum are Meyer Beer (Giacomo Meyerbeer) (22) and Johann Nepomuk Hummel (35). Besides the Beethoven works, the concerts also include two marches, one by Jan Ladislav Dussek (†0), one by Ignace Joseph Pleyel (56), performed by Mälzel’s Mechanical Trumpeter with orchestral accompaniment.
March 18, 1816: Gli amori di Teolinda, a dramatic cantata for soprano, clarinet, chorus and orchestra by Giacomo Meyerbeer (24) to words of Rossi is performed for the first time, in Verona.
June 20, 1816: An Aria per mezzosoprano by Giacomo Meyerbeer (24) is performed for the first time, in Naples.
October 3, 1816: Perchè muni tiranni, a rondo for soprano, chorus, and orchestra by Giacomo Meyerbeer (25) is performed for the first time, in Genoa.
July 19, 1817: Romilda e Costanza, a melodramma semiserio by Giacomo Meyerbeer (25) to words of Rossi, is performed for the first time, in Teatro Nuovo, Padua.
February 3, 1819: Semiramide riconosciuta, a dramma per musica by Giacomo Meyerbeer (27) to words of Rossi after Metastasio, is performed for the first time, in Teatro Regio, Turin before the King and Queen of Sardinia. It is well received today, but will not last.
June 26, 1819: Emma di Resburgo, a melodramma eroico by Giacomo Meyerbeer (27) to words of Rossi after Tottola, is performed for the first time, in Teatro San Benedetto, Venice. It will eventually receive 74 performances.
November 14, 1820: Margherita d’Anjou, a melodramma semiserio by Giacomo Meyerbeer (29) to words of Romani after Pixérécourt, is performed for the first time, in Teatro alla Scala, Milan. It receives great popular and critical success.
December 15, 1820: Giacomo Meyerbeer (29) signs a contract with Giovanni Paterni of the Teatro Argentina, Rome, to compose an opera entitled Almanzore to be performed next February. It will never be performed.
March 12, 1822: L’esule di Granata, a melodramma semiserio by Giacomo Meyerbeer (30) to words of Romani, is performed for the first time, in Teatro alla Scala, Milan. The response is mixed.
March 7, 1824: Il crociato in Egitto, a melodramma eroico by Giacomo Meyerbeer (32) to words of Rossi, is performed for the first time, in Teatro La Fenice, Venice. The composer receives his most overwhelming success to date. It is the last Italian opera he will write.
February 23, 1825: Giacomo Meyerbeer (33) returns to Paris from his Italian sojourn. He is there to produce his first opera in the city, Il Crociato in Egitto. See 7 March 1824.
September 25, 1825: Giacomo Meyerbeer’s (34) Il Crociato in Egitto opens in Paris to spectacular success. King Friedrich Wilhelm III of Prussia arrives in the city today and will see the second performance. It was the idea of Gioacchino Rossini (32) to stage this opera and he invites Meyerbeer to direct the last rehearsals. This reaffirms their friendship, in existence since 1819. See 7 March 1824.
October 9, 1825: After seeing Il Crociato in Egitto in Paris, King Friedrich Wilhelm III of Prussia formally invites Giacomo Meyerbeer (34) to compose an opera for Berlin. He will decline.
May 25, 1826: Giacomo Meyerbeer (34) marries his cousin Minna Mosson in Berlin. They immediately leave for Paris where he will work on a new opera.
July 4, 1826: Giacomo Meyerbeer (34) and Eugène Scribe meet in Paris to discuss Robert le diable for perhaps the first time.
April 12, 1827: Giacomo Meyerbeer (35) and Eugène Scribe submit the libretto of Robert le diable to the French censors. It will take four days to pass them.
January 15, 1829: Giacomo Meyerbeer (37) meets with Alexander von Humboldt in Paris. The composer wants Humboldt to bring a message to King Friedrich Wilhelm III of Prussia when he travels to Berlin. His message is to apologize that Robert le diable has not yet been produced in Berlin because it has taken two years to get it produced in Paris. Meyerbeer promised it to the king as the first production after Paris.
February 5, 1830: Giacomo Meyerbeer (38) is awarded the Imperial Order of the Southern Cross by Emperor Pedro I of Brazil in Paris.
April 22, 1830: Giacomo Meyerbeer (38) is elected a corresponding member to the Académie Royale des Beaux Arts de l’Institut de France.
October 28, 1830: Hector Berlioz (26) petitions the French Minister of the Interior for “authorization to enjoy in Paris the grant which the government in its munificence accords to laureates of the Academy.” He includes support from four eminent musicians including Gaspare Spontini (55) and Giacomo Meyerbeer (39).
December 5, 1830: Afternoon. Episode de la vie d’un artiste: Symphonie fantastique en cinq parties by Hector Berlioz (26) is performed for the first time, at the Paris Conservatoire. Also on the program is the premiere of Berlioz’ Chant guerrier for voice and piano to words of Moore, translated by Gounet. Giacomo Meyerbeer (39) and Gaspare Spontini (56) are among the admirers. Berlioz later remembers that Liszt (19) “forcibly led me off to dinner at his house and praised me with the most energetic enthusiasm.” Tonight Harriet Smithson appears at the Opéra in the title role of Auber’s (48) La Muette de Portici. Her performance is a failure. Berlioz does not attend as he is having dinner with Liszt.
January 21, 1831: Giacomo Meyerbeer (39) is appointed a member of the Commission d’Enseignement du Conservatoire de Paris.
February 1, 1831: Giacomo Meyerbeer (39) enters into a contract with the librettist Eugène Scribe to produce an opéra comque entitled Le Portefaix. The composer will be unhappy with the libretto and back out.
March 9, 1831: Nicolò Paganini (48) performs in Paris for the first time, at the Opéra to wild enthusiasm. Present are Luigi Cherubini (70), Friedrich Kalkbrenner (45), Giacomo Meyerbeer (39), Fromental Halévy (31), Adolphe Adam (27), Heinrich Heine, George Sand, and Victor Hugo, in short, most of artistic Paris.
March 18, 1831: Der Bayerische Schützen-Marsch, a cantata for four singers and brass by Giacomo Meyerbeer (39) to words of King Ludwig I of Bavaria, is performed for the first time, in Munich.
November 21, 1831: Robert le Diable, a grand opera by Giacomo Meyerbeer (40) to words of Scribe and Delavigne, is performed for the first time, at the Paris Opéra. It enjoys enormous critical and popular success and secures the fame of the composer. The work will be performed thousands of times over the next hundred years throughout the world.
January 19, 1832: Giacomo Meyerbeer (40) is created a Chevalier of the Legion of Honor by King Louis Philippe.
April 16, 1832: Giacomo Meyerbeer (40) departs Paris to aid in the production of Robert le diable in London.
April 19, 1832: Giacomo Meyerbeer (40) arrives in London to aid in the production of Robert le diable.
May 26, 1832: Giacomo Meyerbeer (40) departs London for Berlin, two weeks before the production there of Robert le diable.
August 11, 1832: King Friedrich Wilhelm III of Prussia grants Giacomo Meyerbeer (40) the title of court conductor (Hofkapellmeister).
September 7, 1832: Giacomo Meyerbeer (41) and his wife arrive back in Paris after a circuitous journey from Berlin.
May 2, 1833: Giacomo Meyerbeer (41) is made a member of the Senate of the Prussian Academy of Arts. The letter officially informing him of this will not be sent until 18 February 1834.
April 25, 1834: After witnessing a performance of Bellini’s (32) Norma, Giacomo Meyerbeer (42) writes to his wife from Modena. “I tremble and shake at the thought of my new opera (Les Huguenots) being directly compared with this Norma, since it is apparently to be given in Paris at almost the same time as my new opera.”
December 17, 1834: Giacomo Meyerbeer (43) is elected a Membre associé étranger of the Académie Royale des Beaux-Arts de l’Institut de France.
February 29, 1836: Les Huguenots, a grand opera by Giacomo Meyerbeer (44) to words of Scribe and Deschamps, is performed for the first time, at the Paris Opéra. It will be one of the most successful productions ever staged at the Opéra with 1,126 performances in Paris over the next hundred years, and breaking all box office records. In the audience are Hector Berlioz (32) and Harriet Smithson. It will become Meyerbeer’s most performed work, with thousands of performances throughout the world.
November 4, 1836: Giacomo Meyerbeer’s (45) opera Robert le diable is produced in Calcutta, in French.
December 5, 1837: Giacomo Meyerbeer (46) halts work on his opera Cinq Mars. It will never be completed.
August 20, 1839: Richard Wagner (26) meets Giacomo Meyerbeer (47) as the latter takes the cure at Boulogne-sur-Mer. Wagner asks Meyerbeer for assistance and the elder composer freely gives it, both financially and with recommendations. These were eventually withdrawn after Meyerbeer learns that Wagner is speaking ill of him behind his back.
January 18, 1840: Duke Ernst I of Saxe-Coburg-Gotha awards the Ritterkreuz des Sachsen-Ernestinischen Haus-Ordens to Giacomo Meyerbeer (48).
April 16, 1840: Duke Wilhelm of Brunswick awards the Ritterkreuz des Ordens Heinrich des Löwen to Giacomo Meyerbeer (48).
October 28, 1841: Incidental music to Sophocles’ play Antigone by Felix Mendelssohn (32) is performed for the first time, before King Friedrich Wilhelm IV of Prussia and invited guests at the Potsdam Court Theatre, including Giacomo Meyerbeer (50) and Fanny Mendelssohn Hensel (35). See 13 April 1842.
May 10, 1842: After a very successful production of Les Huguenots in Stockholm, Giacomo Meyerbeer (50) is created a Knight of the Order of the North Star by King Oscar I of Sweden.
May 20, 1842: By command of the new King Friedrich Wilhelm IV, Les Huguenots by Giacomo Meyerbeer (50) is given in Berlin.
May 31, 1842: Giacomo Meyerbeer (50) is made a knight of the Order of Merit for the Sciences and Arts, of the Peace Class. It is conferred upon him by King Friedrich Wilhelm IV of Prussia. The King names him Generalmusikdirektor.
June 11, 1842: Giacomo Meyerbeer (50) is installed as the Prussian Generalmusikdirektor, a post he gained through the efforts of Alexander von Humboldt. He will oversee secular music.
December 23, 1842: The artistic elite of Paris gather at the Hôtel L’Empire to bid farewell to Giacomo Meyerbeer (51) the night before he departs for Berlin. Among those present are Frédéric Chopin (32), Gaetano Donizetti (45), Adolphe Adam (39), and Heinrich Heine. Those sending messages include George Sand, Eugéne Scribe and Daniel Auber (60).
December 24, 1842: Giacomo Meyerbeer departs Paris for Berlin to take up duties as Generalmusikdirektor.
February 28, 1843: Das Hoffest von Ferrara, a masque by Giacomo Meyerbeer (51) to words of Raupach after Tasso, is performed for the first time, in Berlin. The production features tableaux vivants by members of the court. In appreciation, King Friedrich Wilhelm IV awards the composer the Prussian Gold Medal for Art and Science.
December 7, 1844: Ein Feldlager in Schlesien, a singspiel by Giacomo Meyerbeer (53) to words of Scribe translated by Rellstab and Birch-Pfeiffer, is performed for the first time, at the opening of the Berlin Court Opera House. It is successful in Berlin but is too specific to have appeal outside Prussia. See 18 February 1847.
August 11, 1845: Today begins three days of celebrations surrounding the unveiling of the Beethoven (†18) monument in Bonn. Attenders include King Friedrich Wilhelm IV and Queen Elisabeth of Prussia, Queen Victoria and Prince Albert. Famous musicians include Louis Spohr (61), Giacomo Meyerbeer (53), Hector Berlioz (41), Franz Liszt (33), Pauline Viardot (24), and Jenny Lind. This evening, during dinner, a small concert is given, directed by Meyerbeer and featuring Jenny Lind.
August 13, 1845: Festkantate zur Enthüllung des Beethovens-Denkmals in Bonn by Franz Liszt (33) to words of Wolff is performed for the first time, in Bonn. This evening, during dinner, a small concert is given, directed by Meyerbeer (53) and featuring Jenny Lind and Franz Liszt. Meyerbeer's Festgruß zum Empfangen Ihrer Majestät Victoria am Rhein for four male voices and chorus is performed for the first time.
October 30, 1845: In a concert organized by the father of the composer, the églogue biblique Ruth for solo voices, chorus and orchestra by César Franck (22) to words of the Bible and Guillemin is performed for the first time, in the Salle Erard, Paris. Present at the invitation of the elder Franck are Gaspare Spontini (70), Giacomo Meyerbeer (54), Fromental Halévy (46), Adolphe Adam (42), Charles-Valentin Alkan (31), Franz Liszt (34) and Ignaz Moscheles. The composers are mildly lauditory except for Liszt who is effusively so.
September 19, 1846: Incidental music to Michael Beer’s play Struensee by Giacomo Meyerbeer (55) is performed for the first time, in the Berlin Schauspielhaus. Meyerbeer reports that the response to the play and the music is “polite.” The playwright is the composer’s brother.
October 17, 1846: A command performance of the play Struensee takes place before King Friedrich Wilhelm IV in Potsdam. The audience response is bland but afterwards the king makes flattering statements about the composer of the incidental music, Giacomo Meyerbeer (55), as the departing audience walks past them.
February 18, 1847: Vielka, a revision of Ein Feldlager in Schlesien by Giacomo Meyerbeer (55), revised by Birch-Pfeiffer, is performed for the first time, in Theater an der Wien, Vienna. The title role is sung by Jenny Lind. It is very successful, though not enough to please the composer. See 7 December 1844.
March 8, 1847: A command performance of Giacomo Meyerbeer’s (55) Vielka before Emperor Ferdinand of Austria, conducted by the composer before an overflow audience, goes very well. See 18 February 1847.
April 2, 1847: Giacomo Meyerbeer (55) departs Vienna after producing Vielka, making for his home in Berlin.
April 6, 1847: Giacomo Meyerbeer (55) arrives home in Berlin from Vienna. Along the way he stopped in Breslau where he oversaw a German-language version of Robert le diable. He is not pleased with the production.
September 25, 1847: Giacomo Meyerbeer (56) is elected an honorary member of the Prague Conservatory.
December 7, 1847: Giacomo Meyerbeer (56) attends a dinner at the residence of the Prussian ambassador in Paris. After dinner, his friend Alexander von Humboldt informs him of a satrirical article about him in Charivari. Meyerbeer experiences a recurrence of his “nervous stomach complaint” and tries to make it to the door but collapses into the arms of his servant. A fellow guest, Dr. Philipps, accompanies the composer home and ministers to him there.
February 23, 1848: After composing in the morning, Giacomo Meyerbeer (56) roams the streets of Paris in search of what is going on.
February 24, 1848: Giacomo Meyerbeer (56) spends most of the day on the streets of Paris watching the show. He is at the Palais-Royal when most of the furniture comes flying out the windows.
February 25, 1848: Giacomo Meyerbeer (56) visits the Prussian embassy in Paris to have his passport renewed. He plans to leave the country soon.
February 27, 1848: Giacomo Meyerbeer (56) contributes 500 francs to a fund for those wounded in the fighting in Paris.
March 22, 1848: Giacomo Meyerbeer (56) receives word of the events in Berlin. He is relieved that his family is safe.
June 12, 1848: On his journey south from Berlin, Giacomo Meyerbeer (56) is warned by travelers that fighting has broken out in Prague. He returns to the last station, Zdiby, and makes arrangements to take a coach around Prague to the first station after the city, Jessnitz (Jesenice).
November 26, 1848: Giacomo Meyerbeer (57) resigns his post as Prussian Generalmusikdirektor in a cloud of controversy and personal animosity. He retains the position of director of Royal Court Music.
November 29, 1848: The festival hymn Du, Du, der über Raum und Zeit for solo voices and chorus by Giacomo Meyerbeer (57) to words of Winkler is performed for the first time, in Berlin for the 25th wedding anniversary of King Friedrich Wilhelm IV and and Queen Elisabeth of Prussia.
January 24, 1849: At a large official dinner in Paris, Giacomo Meyerbeer (57) is introduced to President Louis Bonaparte.
April 16, 1849: Le prophète, a grand opera by Giacomo Meyerbeer (57) to words of Scribe and Deschamps, is performed for the first time, at the Paris Opéra. Pauline Viardot (27) takes the part of Fidès. Among the singers is a young chorister named Léo Delibes (13). It features the first use of electric light at the Opéra, in creating the illusion of a sunrise. In the audience is Hector Berlioz (45) (who calls it “matchless magnificence”) and a very ill Frédéric Chopin (39). Over the first ten days of the production, the Opéra will take in 9,000-10,000 francs per performance, an unprecedented amount. The composer will receive from his publisher the highest amount ever paid for a score.
May 4, 1849: The nomination of Giacomo Meyerbeer (57) as a Commander of the Legion of Honor is made public.
August 4, 1849: Giacomo Meyerbeer (57) arrives back in Berlin from Paris after producing Le prophète. He could have arrived yesterday but did not want to enter the city on a Friday.
October 30, 1849: A funeral in memory of Fryderyk Chopin takes place in the Church of the Madeleine attended by 3,000 people by ticket only. The crush of carriages stretches as far as the Place de la Concorde. A special dispensation is received from the Archbishop to allow women to sing in the Madeleine in order that Mozart’s (†57) Requiem may be performed. The soprano is Pauline Viardot (28). There is no elegy. Pallbearers include Giacomo Meyerbeer (58) and Eugène Delacroix. Chopin’s heart has been removed and transported in a funeral urn to the Church of the Holy Cross, Warsaw, while the rest of his mortal remains are laid to rest in the Père-Lachaise Cemetery, Paris before 4,000 people who walk the five kilometers from the church.
January 29, 1850: Herr von Lüttichau, on behalf of King Friedrich August II of Saxony, presents to Giacomo Meyerbeer (58) the Knight’s Cross of the Royal Saxon Order of Merit, in Dresden.
February 28, 1850: Today is the Vienna premiere of Giacomo Meyerbeer’s (58) opera Le prophète. By noon, so large a crowd has gathered at the box office that troops are called out to keep order. See 16 April 1849.
March 27, 1850: Giacomo Meyerbeer’s (58) brother Wilhelm Beer dies in Berlin. “His death is an irreplaceable loss to me in every aspect of my life, in every matter of the heart.”
July 14, 1850: Giacomo Meyerbeer (58) receives a letter telling him that he has been elected a doctorate of philosophy and the liberal arts from the University of Jena. A diploma accompanies the letter.
November 1, 1850: Giacomo Meyerbeer (59) is appointed a Knight of the Austrian Order of Franz Joseph.
January 21, 1851: Giacomo Meyerbeer (59) is elected a member of the Philharmonic Society of St. Petersburg.
January 24, 1851: The mortal remains of Albert Lortzing are laid to rest in the Evangelische Friedhof der Sophiengemeinde II in Berlin. Among those paying respects is Giacomo Meyerbeer (59).
May 31, 1851: Für solchen König Blut und Leben, a song for chorus and orchestra by Giacomo Meyerbeer (59) to words of Rellstab, inserted into the composer’s opera Ein Feldlager in Schlesien on the day of the unveiling of Christian Daniel Rauch’s monument to Friedrich the Great, is performed for the first time, in Berlin. Meyerbeer and Rauch are called to King Friedrich Wilhelm’s box after the performance and are highly praised by the monarch.
June 9, 1851: Steht auf und empfangt mit Feiergesang for solo voices, chorus and orchestra by Giacomo Meyerbeer (59) to words of Kopisch is performed for the first time, in honor of the sculptor Christian Rauch who created the monument unveiled 31 May 1851. Meyerbeer conducts his composition.
November 24, 1851: In Berlin, Giacomo Meyerbeer (59) is informed that he has been attacked by Richard Wagner (38) in his Das Kunstwerk der Zukunft. He is “deeply demoralized” and finds a manuscript copy of an essay that Wagner gave him ten years ago called Über den Standpunkt der Musik Meyerbeers in which he praises Meyerbeer’s music.
January 25, 1852: Giacomo Meyerbeer (60), in Berlin, receives a letter from Caroline von Weber, widow of Carl Maria von Weber (†25), threatening court action if he does not pay the 2,000 thalers indemnity he owes her. He has not completed Weber’s Die drei Pintos by the agreed deadline. He resolves to travel to Dresden to settle the matter personally.
January 27, 1852: Giacomo Meyerbeer (60) travels to Dresden and meets with Max von Weber, son of Carl Maria von Weber (†25), to settle the Die drei Pintos dispute. He ends up paying them 4,000 thalers for the indemnity and lost royalties, and returns the unfinished opera to them. They part on friendly terms.
March 17, 1852: Giacomo Meyerbeer (60) receives a visit at his Berlin home from a friend who recently spent time in Weimar, “where Liszt (40) is gathering many musicians around him who subscribe to a new direction in music, which defines itself as freedom of musical thought, independent of any specific form: Richard Wagner (38) is their ideal.”
May 26, 1852: Maria und ihr Genius, a cantata for soprano, tenor, chorus, and orchestra by Giacomo Meyerbeer (60) to words of Goldtammer, is performed for the first time, in Schloss Wannsee, Berlin to celebrate the silver wedding anniversary of Prince Karl of Prussia.
July 18, 1852: Giacomo Meyerbeer (60) is appointed as an honorary member of the Akademie der Tonkunst in Vienna.
December 21, 1852: Marco Spada, an opéra comique by Daniel Auber (70) to words of Scribe and Delavigne, is performed for the first time, at the Théâtre Favart, Paris. Mikhail Ivanovich Glinka (48) is in the audience and, except for the beginning of the overture, finds the music “very unsatisfactory.” Giacomo Meyerbeer (61) is also there.
January 30, 1853: French Emperor Napoléon III marries Countess Eugenia de Montijo in Notre Dame Cathedral, Paris. The Empress enters the cathedral to the music of Le Prophéte by Giacomo Meyerbeer (61).
May 8, 1853: A setting of the 91st Psalm for solo voices and chorus by Giacomo Meyerbeer (61) is performed for the first time, in the Friedrichskirche, Potsdam in the presence of King Friedrich Wilhelm IV of Prussia and King Leopold I of Belgium.
June 2, 1853: Giacomo Meyerbeer (61) arrives in Paris from Berlin in hopes of producing his new opera L’étoile du nord.
November 28, 1853: Giacomo Meyerbeer (62) is awarded the Orden der Kunst und Wissenschaft by King Maximilian II of Bavaria.
February 9, 1854: Because of tensions between France and Russia, Giacomo Meyerbeer (62) and Eugène Scribe are forced to make minor changes in the text of their upcoming opera, L’étoile du nord.
February 16, 1854: L’étoile du nord, an opéra comique by Giacomo Meyerbeer (62) to words of Scribe, is performed for the first time, at the Théâtre Favart, Paris, in the presence of the imperial family. It is a fantastic success and the opera will receive 100 performances in its first year at the Opéra-Comique.
September 27, 1854: Giacomo Meyerbeer (62) conducts a gala performance of his opera Der Nordstern (L’Etoile du nord) before the court of Württemberg in Stuttgart.
September 30, 1854: Giacomo Meyerbeer (63) is invested with the Order of the Württemberg Crown in Stuttgart, which allows him nobility. He will not take advantage of this.
February 10, 1855: Giacomo Meyerbeer (63) is awarded the Commander’s Cross of the Albrecht’s Order of Saxony, in Dresden.
April 9, 1855: Giacomo Meyerbeer (63) is awarded the Commander’s Cross of the Order of the Ernestine House (first class with star) by Duke Ernst II of Saxe-Coburg-Gotha personally. He then takes a train for Weimar to see Robert Schumann’s (44) opera Genoveva there. He tries to go to the theatre incognito in order to avoid meeting Franz Liszt (43) but is discovered by Peter Cornelius (30) who tells Liszt. He is obliged by his old nemesis to view the opera in the box of Princess Wittgenstein. He finds Genoveva “totally without melodies, badly written for the voices, unclear and ponderous; and yet with many interesting harmonic and orchestral details, and occasional flashes of genial conception.”
April 29, 1855: Giacomo Meyerbeer (63) sees Richard Wagner’s (41) Tannhäuser for the first time, in Hamburg. “The opera itself is incontestably a musical-artistic manifestation of the highest interest. There is indeed a great dearth of melody, an unclarity and a formlessness, but nonetheless great flashes of genius in conception, in orchestral coloring, and in purely musical respects, particularly in the instrumental passages.”
March 12, 1856: In Milan, Giacomo Meyerbeer (64) is awakened by the chorus and orchestra of Teatro alla Scala serenading him outside his window. They perform selections from Le prophète with each section followed by applause from listeners. Meyerbeer is obliged to acknowledge their tribute.
March 19, 1856: Giacomo Meyerbeer (63) is nominated an honorary member of the Società Filarmonica Apollinea di Venezia.
October 11, 1856: Giacomo Meyerbeer (64) is nominated a foreign member of the Accademia dell’Arte in Florence.
February 18, 1857: The mortal remains of Mikhail Ivanovich Glinka are laid to rest in Berlin, in the presence of nine people, including Giacomo Meyerbeer (65) and an official from the Russian embassy.
November 15, 1857: A setting of the Pater noster for chorus by Giacomo Meyerbeer (66) is published in La maîtrise.
December 26, 1857: Nice à Stephanie, a cantata for soprano and chorus by Giacomo Meyerbeer (66) to words of Pillet, is performed for the first time, in Nice for the birthday of Archduchess Stephanie of Baden.
February 20, 1858: Giacomo Meyerbeer (66) reaches agreement with Mathilde Heine, widow of Heinrich Heine (died 17 February 1856), to prevent publication of four of Heine’s poems which cast the composer in an unfavorable light. He pays her 4,500 francs. They will be published in 1869 after Meyerbeer’s death.
July 17, 1858: The French Minister of the Interior appoints a commission to investigate a universal pitch, what this pitch should be, and how to insure it becomes universal. Much of the investigative work will be done by Hector Berlioz (54). Other members include Daniel-François-Esprit Auber (76), Gioacchino Rossini (66), Giacomo Meyerbeer (66), Fromental Halévy (59), and Ambroise Thomas (46).
April 4, 1859: Le pardon de Ploërmel, an opéra comique by Giacomo Meyerbeer (67) to words of Barbier and Carré, is performed for the first time, at the Théâtre Favart, Paris. Emperor Napoléon III and Empress Eugénie attend. Critics are enthusiastic.
November 10, 1859: Wohl bist du uns geboren, gestorben bist du nicht for solo voices, chorus, and orchestra by Giacomo Meyerbeer (68) to words of Pfau is performed for the first time, in Paris to celebrate the 100th anniversary of the birth of Friedrich Schiller. Also premiered is a Festmarsch by Meyerbeer for the occasion. The march is better received than the cantata. 4,000 people attend the festival in the Cirque de l'Impératrice (Cique d'été).
February 21, 1861: In Berlin, Giacomo Meyerbeer (69) learns of the death of his long time collaborator Eugène Scribe. He will be unable to work for days.
March 15, 1861: In Berlin, Giacomo Meyerbeer (69) learns of the Tannnhäuser fiasco in Paris. “Such an unusual demonstration of dissatisfaction with a work that, in any case, is so admirable and talented would appear to be the result of a cabal, and not a genuine popular verdict.”
October 18, 1861: King Wilhelm I of Prussia is crowned in Königsberg (Kaliningrad). The new king revives the old coronation ceremony used in 1701 when Prussia became a kingdom. Krönungsmarsch for winds by Giacomo Meyerbeer (69) is performed for the first time at the ceremony.
October 24, 1861: Festhymnus for solo voices, chorus, and orchestra by Giacomo Meyerbeer (70) to words of Köster is performed for the first time, in Berlin for celebrations surrounding the coronation of King Wilhelm I of Prussia.
December 11, 1861: The Christmas Song for Auerbach’s play Die Waldkönigin by Giacomo Meyerbeer (70) is performed for the first time, in Viktoria Theater, Berlin.
April 20, 1862: Giacomo Meyerbeer (70) departs Berlin for London where he will produce his occasional work for the exhibition.
May 1, 1862: Fest-Ouvertüre im Marschstyl for orchestra by Giacomo Meyerbeer (70) is performed for the first time, at the opening of the London World Exhibition before Queen Victoria and other royals and notables.
May 21, 1863: Giacomo Meyerbeer (71) receives Richard Nordraak in his Berlin home. Nordraak wants a recommendation from Meyerbeer and plays several works for him. “...these give evidence of a most exceptional sensitive talent, the Nordic coloring of which is highly original.”
July 3, 1863: Giacomo Meyerbeer (71) receives a letter from Cosima von Bülow asking him to become an honorary member of a new music society in Berlin. He accepts.
March 14, 1864: Petite messe solennelle by Gioachino Rossini (72) is performed for the first time, with piano accompaniment, in the Paris home of Countess Louise Pillet-Will. The work was commissioned for the consecration of her private chapel. Although ordered to bed by his doctors, Giacomo Meyerbeer (72) attends, along with Auber (82). See 24 February 1869.
May 2, 1864: 05:40 Giacomo Meyerbeer dies in Paris, French Empire, aged 72 years, seven months, and 27 days.
May 6, 1864: After lying unmoved for four days (by his own command--he was fearful of being buried alive) a funeral ceremony for Giacomo Meyerbeer takes place in the Gare du Nord, Paris. Some of his music is performed. Then his body is placed on a train for Berlin.
May 12, 1864: Before hundreds of mourners, including Prince Georg of Prussia, Oberstkämmerer and intendant-general of theatres Friedrich Wilhelm Graf von Redern, members of the diplomatic corps and representatives of King Wilhelm and Queen Augusta, the mortal remains of Giacomo Meyerbeer are laid to rest in the Jewish Cemetery in the Schönhauser Alle, Berlin.
April 28, 1865: L’africaine, a grand opéra by Giacomo Meyerbeer to words of Scribe and Fétis, is performed for the first time, at the Paris Opéra, four days before the first anniversary of the composer’s death. The glittering audience includes the Emperor Napoléon III and Empress Eugènie. The success is overwhelming and it will be performed thousands of times throughout the world over the next hundred years.
September 5, 1991: Das Brandenburger Tor, a singspiel by Giacomo Meyerbeer (†127) to words of Veith, is performed for the first time, in the Kammermusiksaal of the Berlin Schauspielhaus on the 200th anniversary of the composer’s birth and 177 years after it was composed.