Meyerbeer [Beer], Giacomo [Jakob Liebmann Meyer ]
- Matthias Brzoska
[Jakob Liebmann Meyer ]
(b Vogelsdorf, nr Berlin, Germany, Sept 5, 1791; d Paris, France, May 2, 1864). German composer. The most frequently performed opera composer during the 19th century, linking Mozart and Wagner.
Meyerbeer was descended from distinguished families in the Jewish society of Berlin. His father, Jakob (Juda) Herz Beer (1769–1825), was an industrialist and contractor to the Prussian army, and his mother, Amalia (1767–1854), was the daughter of the banker Liebmann Meyer Wulff, whose family can be traced back to Jost Liebmann, a Jew at the court of the Great Elector. Amalia Beer received the finest minds of Prussia in her salon, including the future King Friedrich Wilhelm IV, the poet A.W. Iffland, and Alexander von Humboldt, with whom Meyerbeer maintained a close lifelong friendship. At an early age he took piano lessons from Franz Lauska, and by the time he was 11 he was a successful prodigy, although he encountered hostile anti-Semitism in his childhood....