1911 Encyclopædia Britannica/Paër, Ferdinando

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PAËR, FERDINANDO (1771–1830), Italian musical composer, was born at Parma on the 1st of June 1771. He studied the theory of music under the violinist Ghiretti, a pupil of the Conservatoire della Pieta de’ Turchini at Naples. His first opera, La Locanda de’ vagebondi. was published when he was only sixteen; others rapidly foUowed, and his name was soon famous throughout Italy. In 1707 he went to Vienna, where his wife, the singer Riccardi, had obtained an engagement at the opera; here he produced a series of operas, including his La Camilla ossia il Sotteraneo (1790) and his Achille (1801). In 1803 he was appointed composer to the court theatre at Dresden, where his wife was also engaged as a singer, and in 1804 the life appointment of Hofkapelmeister was bestowed upon him by the elector. At Dresden he produced, inter alia, Il Sargino (1803), an opera which obtained a wide popularity, and Leonora (1804), based on the same story as Beethoven’s Fidelio. In 1807 Napoleon while in Dresden took a fancy to him, and took him with him to Warsaw and Paris at a salary ot 28,000 francs. In 1812 he succeeded Spontini as conductor of the Italian opera in Paris. This post he retained at the Restoration, receiving also the posts of chamber composer to the king and conductor of the private orchestra of the duke of Orleans. In 1823 he retired from the Italian opera in favour of Rossini. In 1831 he was elected a member of the Academy, and in 1832 was appointed conductor of his orchestra by King Louis Philippe. He died on the 3rd of May 1839.

Paer wrote in all 43 operas, in the Italian style of Paesiello and Cimarosa. His other works, which include nine religious compositions, thirteen cantatas, and a short list of orchestral and chamber pieces, are of little importance; in any case the superficial quality of his compositions was such as to secure him popularity while he lived and after his death oblivion.

See R. Eitner, Quellen-Lexikon (Leipzig, 1902), vii. 277, sqq., where a list of his works is given.

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