Adolphe Adam

The French composer  ADOLPHE ADAM (born 1803) is known for his musical and stage works. His romantic ballets Giselle (1841) and Le Corsaire (1856) are most performed today, as are his comic operas Le postillon de Lonjumeau (The Postman of Longueuil) (1836) and Si j’étais roi (If I Were King) (1852). He was the author of the very popular Christmas carol Cantique de Noël, in English O Holy Night.

Adolphe Adam was the son of a famous composer and pianist, a professor at the Paris Conservatoire, but his father did not want him to pursue a musical career. Nevertheless, he enrolled at the Paris Conservatoire in 1821, where he studied organ and harmonium with the famous opera composer François-Adrien Boieldieu. By the age of 20 he was writing songs for Paris vaudevilles and playing in the orchestra of the Gymnasie Dramatique, where he later became choirmaster. Like many other French composers, Adam initially earned his living primarily as an organist. Thanks to his collaboration with Boieldieu, he turned to the music-stage genres and by 1830 had already completed 28 works. His many operas and ballets provided him with a good living until he lost all his money in an unsuccessful attempt to open a new opera house in Paris in 1847 in competition with the Opéra and Opéra-Comique. The very next year, during the French Revolution of 1848, the opera house was closed and he turned to journalism and teaching. He was appointed professor at the Paris Conservatoire, where he worked until his death in 1856.

Together with his senior contemporary Daniel Auber and his teacher Boieldieu, Adolphe Adam is considered one of the founders of French romantic and comic opera.

He is the author of about 50 musical and stage works, including 14 ballets, 5 of which are still missing. Following last year’s release of Orfa (1852) on the Naxos label, the Sofia Philharmonic and Dario Salvi once again present another gem from the works of Adolphe Adam for the first time in modern history.

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