Frank, Ernst


Dramatic and vocal composer and excellent conductor, who was born in Munich and became a pupil of Mortier de Fontaine in piano and of Franz Lachner in composition at the Munich Conservatory. He became Court organist and chapelmaster at the Royal Opera and, in 1858, chapelmaster at Würzburg. Later he held many important posts in various European cities, was made chorusmaster at the opera, Vienna and afterward conducted the singing society there. He was Court chapelmaster at Mannheim from 1872 to 1877, then was appointed first chapelmaster at the theatre at Frankfort and in 1879 was called to Hanover as von Bülow's successor. Frank became insane in 1887 and was sent to an asylum, where he died two years later. While at Mannheim, as chapelmaster, Frank befriended Hermann Goetz, then an unknown composer, who timidly brought Frank his opera, based on Shakespeare's Taming of the Shrew, for criticism.   Frank had it produced under his direction in 1874 and thereby earned the gratitude of the musical world. Goetz's second work, Francesca di Rimini, was finished by Frank and produced at Mannheim, in 1877, after the death of Goetz. Frank wrote several operas of more than usual merit, among them Adam de la Halle; Hero; and Der Sturm, in three acts after Shakespeare's Tempest. He translated into German, the two operas. Veiled Prophet and Savonarola, and also wrote songs and choruses. His songs are especially charming. Frank worked all his life unceasingly, produced and revived many operas of note, but as a composer failed to reach a very great height.