FRANÇOIS-ADRIEN BOIELDIEU (1775 - 1834)
The principal composer of French opera in the first quarter of the 19th century, Boieldieu was born in Rouen in 1775 and had his first theatrical success in 1793. Success in Paris was followed by failure in marriage and a period as director of French opera at the Russian court in St. Petersburg, whence he returned to Paris in 1811, after some eight years of absence. By the time of his death in 1834 he had gone some way towards upholding French comic opera traditions against the inroads of the more popular Italian comedy of Rossini.
The overture to the opera Le calife de Bagdad (The Calif of Baghdad) remains a popular concert item, with La dame blanche (The White Lady), based on Sir Walter Scott.