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Suppé, Franz von (1819 - 1895)

Franz von Suppé or Francesco Suppé Demelli was an Austrian composer and conductor of the Romantic period, notable for his four dozen operettas.

Franz von Suppé’s original name was Francesco Ezechiele Ermenegildo Cavaliere Suppè Demelli. He was born on 18th April 1819 in Split on the Dalmatian coast. He grew up in Zadar, another town on the coast, where at the age of seven he began to sing in the church choir.

The musical director of the cathedral, Giovanni Cigalla, introduced him to the basic principles of music. The military bandmaster, Giuseppe Ferrari, taught Suppé to play the flute, which was to remain his favourite instrument. The two musicians also instructed Suppé in musical composition, and he soon began to produce compositions of his own.

After his father died in 1835, Suppé and his mother moved to Vienna, where his maternal grandfather lived. Suppé began to study medicine, but soon gave it up in favor of music. He financed his musical education in part by giving Italian lessons. After completing his studies he won the post of musical director at the Theater in der Josefstadt in Vienna. Later, he frequently conducted in Bratislava and Sopron. Franz von Suppé, together with Johann Strauss and Karl Millöcker, was one of the principal exponents of classical Viennese operetta. In addition to operettas - "The Beautiful Galatea", "Banditenstreiche", "Boccaccio" - he also composed symphonies, music for the stage, a mass, requiem and operas. Franz von Suppé died in Vienna on 21st May 1895.

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