A. H. B. J. Chelard (1789-1861)

Andre Hippolyte Jean Baptiste Chelard

The French composer was born on 1st February 1789 in Paris In 1803 he entered the Conservatory there and studied violin and composition under the supervision of Gosse. In 1811, already crowned with the “Roman Prize”, he went to Rome, where he continued his studies by Baini and Zingarelli. In Naples he wrote the comic opera “La casa da vendere” (The House for Sale), his first attempt at a musical drama in 1815. His opera was much applauded. After returning to Paris in 1816, he became violinist in the opera. After a period of abstinence, his tragic opera “Macbeth was performed in the Grand Opera in 1827. Intrigue drove him to Germany, where he rewrote parts of “Macbeth”. In 1828 the revised version was performed in Munich and Chelard was appointed Master of the Royal Orchestra. Once again Chelard found himself on the way back to Paris and there he composed the comic opera “La table et le logement”. In1830 he returned to Munich and presented the comic operas “Minuit and “L’étudiant” in the German version on the stage. In the years 1832 and 1833 he was conductor at the German Opera and at the theatres in Drury Lane and at Covent Garden in London. Once again he returned to Germany and in 1835 the grand opera “Die Hermannsschlacht” (Hermann’s Battle) was performed in the Bavarian Capital. In 1836 he was appointed Musical Director of the Grand Duke’s Orchestra in Weimar, where he presented the operas “Die Seekadetten” (The Sea Cadets) and “Scheibentoni” to the public. He died on 12th February 1861.

Chelard did not only write operas. He also composed Masses, cantatas and songs. The French-national element in his works cannot be overseen, although he attempted to approach the German sagas, as evident in the “Hermannsschlacht”..