Reyer [Rey], (Louis-Etienne-)Ernest (opera)
- Hugh Macdonald
(b Marseilles, Dec 1, 1823; d Le Lavandou, Var, Jan 15, 1909). French composer and critic. He received his musical education from his cousin, the pianist Louise Farrenc, in Paris. His ‘oriental symphony’, Le sélam, was successfully performed in 1850, and his ballet Sacountalâ was played at the Opéra in 1858. Both these works had texts by Gautier, the most prominent of Reyer’s many literary friends. He also won the admiration of Berlioz and became one of the older composer’s few close friends in his last years.
Reyer’s first opera was Maître Wolfram, again with a text by Gautier, staged at the Théâtre Lyrique in 1854. Wolfram, an organist, decides to devote himself to music when he discovers his beloved does not love him. La statue, given at the same theatre in 1861, has a story derived from The Thousand and One Nights. The setting – the ruins of Baalbek – was much admired, and the opera was successful for many years. Its kinship with Weber, whom Reyer greatly admired, was widely observed. ...