Ferdinand Hérold —
Louis Joseph Ferdinand Hérold, French musician, was born in Paris, January 28, 1791, the son of François Joseph Hérold, an accomplished pianist. His father did not wish him to pursue a musical profession, and it wasn’t until the death of François in 1806 that Hérold entered the Paris Conservatoire, where he studied under Catel and Méhul.
In 1812 he gained the grand prix de Rome (a travelling scholarship awarded by the French Government to the best pupils of the conservatoire), and accordingly started for Italy, where he remained till 1815, and composed a symphony, a cantata, and several pieces of chamber music. It was also during his stay in Italy that Hérold for the first time ventured on to the stage with the opera La Gioventù di Enrico V., first performed at Naples in 1815 with moderate success. Returning to Paris he had the good fortune to be invited by Boieldieu to participate in the composition of an opera called Charles de France, performed in 1816, and soon followed by Hérold’s first French opera, Les Rosières (1817), which was received very favourably.
Hérold produced numerous dramatic works for the next fifteen years, some of the more important including La Clochette (1817), L’Auteur mort et vivant (1820), Marie (1826), and the ballets La Fille mal gardée (1828) and La Belle au bois dormant (1829). Hérold also wrote a vast quantity of pianoforte music, in spite of his time being much occupied by his duties as accompanist at the Italian Opera in Paris.
In 1832 he produced his most famous work, the romantic opera Zampa, which was met with immense success not only in France but also in Germany, where it is still on stage in the present day, and is considered Hérold’s masterpiece. He died from lung disease shortly after in 1833.