Boieldieu – Harfenkonzert C-dur


François-Adrien Boieldieu is a name that is probably best known by harpists. If I google him, I find operas though. That is quite a difference, is this even the same person? What is going on here?

Boieldieu was born in 1775, and had his first performing experience during the infamous Reign of Terror after the French Revolution. He left Rouen for Paris soon after, and started there at the Opéra-Comique with operas in their signatory style. Apart from a seven years stint in Russia, he wrote most of his works for that institute.

When he died in 1834, Boieldieu was given a state funeral, and he is interred in Père Lachaise, though his heart was put in a tomb in Rouen. He was so famous by that time that he was called the French Mozart. Yet somehow his works are barely performed nowadays, and his name mostly forgotten. Of the 38 operas on his name, I could only find his biggest success La dame blanche. It might have to do with the type of opera: as popular as it was at the time, opéra-comique didn’t last.

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