Composer Profile: Fredrich Von Flotow & His Famous Aria

By David Salazar

Friedrich von Flotow, born on April 27, 1812, was a German composer of about 30 operas.

He was French-trained, learning from such composers as Auber, Rossini, Meyerbeer, Donizetti, Halévy, Gounod, and Offenbach.

He completed his first opera in 1835, entitled “Pierre et Cathérine,” and would go on to create operas all the way through 1876. He was popular throughout his lifetime and his works were mounted all over Europe, even Saint Petersburg, and Turin.

Per his musical influences, his style hues closely to that of French opéra comique; most of his works reside in this genre. Upon his death, he left one incomplete opera, “Sakuntala.”

Major Operas

Sadly, the only reason most people in the opera world talk about Flotow comes down to not even one opera, but one aria – Lyonel’s “Ach! so fromm, ach! so traut” from “Martha.” This aria has been recorded extensively by many great tenors in the world since the early 20th century when Enrico Caruso made it famous.

But “Martha” offers a number of other musical numbers and famously included “The Last Rose of Summer” in Act two of the work.

“Martha” would be the most beloved opera of Flotow’s entire career and would garner productions all around the world throughout his lifetime. Caruso famously championed the work at the Metropolitan Opera, though the opera’s fame and prestige has waned in recent years.

Unfortunately, Flotow’s other 29 or so operas have not stood the test of time.

Watch and Listen

Since “Martha” doesn’t get much attention these days, here is a full-length recording of the opera featuring such talents as Lucia Popp and Siegfried Jerusalem as Lady Harriet Durham and Lyonel respectively.


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