Suppé, Franz


Franz von Suppé was the founder of the Austrian operetta. In his work, he combined some of the achievements of the French operetta (Offenbach) with the traditions of purely Viennese folk art - the Singspiel, the magic farcical play. Suppe music unites a generous melody of the Italian character, Viennese dance and the waltz rhythms. His operettas are notable for their wonderfully developed musical dramaturgy, vivid depiction of all characters, variety of forms, verging towards the operatic ones.

Franz von Suppe (name at birth - Francesco Suppe-Demelli) was born on April 18, 1819 in the Dalmatian city of Spalato (now Split, Croatia). His father's ancestors were immigrants from Belgium, who settled in the Italian city of Cremona. His father served as a district commissar in Spalato and in 1817 married the native of Vienna, Katharina Landowska. Francesco was their second son. Already in his early childhood, the boy demonstrated an outstanding musical talent. He played the flute; from the age of ten, he composed simple pieces. The seventeen-year-old young boy wrote the Mass, and a year later, he wrote his first opera Virginia. At this time, he lived in Vienna, where he moved with his mother after the death of his father in 1835. There he worked with Simon Sechter and Ignaz von Seyfried, later he met with the famous Italian composer Gaetano Donizetti and used his advice.

Since 1840, Suppé worked as a conductor and theater composer in Vienna, Pressburg (now Bratislava), Ödenburg (now Sopron, Hungary), and Baden (near Vienna). He wrote countless music for various performances, but from time to time turned to large musical and theatrical forms. Thus, in 1847, he composed the opera "The Country Girl" appears, in 1858 – “The Third Paragraph". Two years later, Suppé debuted as the creator of the one-act operetta "Das Pensionat". It was only a test of the pen, like The Queen of Spades (1852) that followed it. Hence the third one-act operetta "Ten Brides and No Groom" (1862) brought European fame to the composer. The next operetta, “Merry Schoolchildren” (1863), was based entirely on Viennese student songs and is thus was a kind of manifesto of the Viennese operetta school.

Then the operetta “Die schöne Galathee” (Beautiful Galatea) (1865), “Light Cavalry” (1866), “Fatinitza” (1876), “Boccaccio” (1879), “Dona Juanita” (1880), “The Gascon” (1881), “A Hearty friend ”(1882),“The Sailors in the Motherland” (1885),“A Handsome Man” (1887),“The Pursuit of Happiness” (1888).

The best works of Suppé created during a five-year period are “Fatinitza”, “Boccaccio” and “Dona Juanita”. Although the composer always worked thoughtfully, carefully, he could no longer reach the level of these three operettas in future.

Working as a conductor almost until the last days of his life, Suppé almost never wrote music at the set of life. He died on May 21, 1895 in Vienna.

Altogether, he wrote thirty-one operettas, a Mass, a Requiem, several cantatas, a symphony, overtures, quartets, romances and choirs.

L. Mikheeva, A. Orelovich