Franz von Suppé

Franz von Suppè (Francesco Ezechiele Ermenegildo de Suppè) (1819–1895) was an Austrian composer of light operas and other theatre music. He he was born on 18 April 1819 in Spalato, now Split, Dalmatia, Croatia. His father was a civil servant in the service of the Austrian Empire, as was his father before him; Suppè’s mother was Viennese by birth. He spent his childhood in Zara, now Zadar, where he had his first music lessons and began to compose at an early age. As a boy he had encouragement in music from a local bandmaster and by the Zara cathedral choirmaster. His Missa dalmatica dates from this early period. As a teenager in Zara, Suppè studied flute and harmony. His first extant composition is a Roman Catholic mass, which premiered at a Franciscan church in Zara in 1835.
From 1840 on he worked as a composer and conductor for Franz Pokorny, the director of several theaters in Vienna, Pressburg (now Bratislava), Ödenburg (now Sopron) and Baden bei Wien. In Vienna, after studying with Ignaz von Seyfried, he conducted in the theatre, with the opportunity to present his own operas there. Eventually, Suppè wrote music for over a hundred productions at the Theater in der Josefstadt as well as the Carltheater in Leopoldstadt, at the Theater an der Wien. He also put on some landmark opera productions, such as the 1846 production of Meyerbeer’s Les Huguenots with Jenny Lind.
Suppé composed about 30 operettas and 180 farces, ballets, and other stage works. Although the bulk of his operettas have sunk into relative obscurity, the overtures – particularly Dichter und Bauer (Poet and Peasant, 1846) and Leichte Kavallerie (Light Cavalry, 1866) – remain popular, many of them having been used in soundtracks for films, cartoons, advertisements, etc.

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