Friedrich von Flotow (27 April 1812 ? 24 January 1883) was a German composer. He is chiefly remembered for his opera Martha, which was popular at the end of the 19th century and beginning of the 20th, but which is now rarely performed. Flotow was born in Teutendorf, in Mecklenburg, into an aristocratic family. He studied at the Paris Conservatoire and came under the influence of Auber, Rossini, Meyerbeer, Donizetti, Halévy, and later, Gounod and Offenbach. This influence is clearly reflected in his operas where a distinctive French opéra comique flavour exists in his music.
He completed his first opera in 1835, Pierre et Cathérine, but his first major breakthrough was with Le naufrage de la Méduse (1839). Martha, his most successful work, was first staged in Vienna at the Theater am Kärntnertor on 25 November 1847.
In all, he wrote 29 operas which were translated into Italian, French and English to achieve a wider audience, although by the turn of the 20th century, his music had fallen into near obscurity. His most famous aria is probably the 'Ach, so fromm' from Martha in its Italian version, 'M'appari tutt'amor'. The opera Alessandro Stradella, a romantic opera in three acts, also achieved considerable popularity.
Later, between 1856 and 1863, he was also the Intendant of the court theatre at Schwerin; he spent his last years in Paris and in Vienna, but had the satisfaction of seeing his operas being mounted for productions as far away as Saint Petersburg and Turin.
Von Flotow died in Darmstadt at the age of 70.
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