|Engelbert Humperdinck |
A German composer, best known for his opera, Hänsel and Gretel, 1891.
Humperdinck was born at Siegburg, in the Rhine Province.
After receiving piano lessons, Humperdinck produced his first composition at the age of seven.
His first attempts at works for the stage were two Singspiele when he was 13.
His parents did not approve of his becoming a musician, but despite them encouraging him to study architecture, he took music classes at the Cologne Conservatory, which he entered in 1872 under Ferdinand Hiller.
He went to Italy, and became acquainted with Richard Wagner in Naples.
By this time he had composed several works for chorus and a Humoreske for orchestra, which enjoyed a vogue in Germany. His opera Hänsel und Gretel was written in Frankfurt, ca. 1891.
Humperdinck was greatly influenced by Richard Wagner, and worked as his assistant. In his melodrama Die Königskinder 1897.
In 1914 Humperdinck seems to have applied for the post of director of the New South Wales Conservatorium of Music in Sydney.
This was terminated with the outbreak of World War I, it became unthinkable for a German to hold this position, and the job went instead to Belgium's Henri Verbrugghen.
Hänsel und Gretel was an instant and overwhelming success.
It was such a success that in 1923 it became the first complete opera ever to be broadcast on radio from Covent Garden, London, and eight years later it was the first to be transmitted live from the Metropolitan Opera.
On January 5, 1912, Humperdinck suffered a severe stroke. Although he was eventually able to recover, his left hand remained permanently paralyzed.
On September 26, 1921, Humperdinck attended a performance. During the performance he had a heart attack.
He died the next day from a second heart attack.
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