Adolphe Adam

French composer (1803–1856) / From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

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Adolphe Charles Adam (French: [adɔlf adɑ̃]; 24 July 1803 – 3 May 1856) was a French composer, teacher and music critic. A prolific composer for the theatre, he is best known today for his ballets Giselle (1841) and Le corsaire (1856), his operas Le postillon de Lonjumeau (1836) and Si j'étais roi (1852) and his Christmas carol "Minuit, chrétiens!" (Midnight, Christians, 1844, known in English as "O Holy Night").

Adam in 1840

Adam was the son of a well-known composer and pianist, but his father did not wish him to pursue a musical career. Adam defied his father, and his many operas and ballets earned him a good living until he lost all his money in 1848 in a disastrous bid to open a new opera house in Paris in competition with the Opéra and Opéra-Comique. He recovered, and extended his activities to journalism and teaching. He was appointed as a professor at the Paris Conservatoire, France's principal music academy.

Together with his older contemporary Daniel Auber and his teacher Adrien Boieldieu, Adam is credited with creating the French form of opera.