Suppe, Franz von



Austrian conductor and composer, of Belgian descent; born at Spalato, Dalmatia. His full name was Francesco Ezechiele Ermenegildo Cavaliere Suppe Demelli. When only nine years old he composed two pieces for the flute, which he had taught himself to play, and later was placed under Ferrari to study that instrument. He was flutist and singer under Cigala at the Cathedral in Zara, where he then lived, and where he produced a mass and his first opera, Der Apfel, in 1834. When his father died he joined his mother at Vienna, where he entered the Conservatory and studied harmony under Salzmann, and counterpoint and instrumentation under Sechter and Seyfried. Suppe's first position, conductor of the Josephstadt Theatre, was an unpaid one, and from there he was called to conduct at the Presburg Theatre, and then at Baden. Not long after he returned to Vienna he was conductor of the Theatre an der Wien till 1862; at the Carl Theatre for the next three years, and from 1865 till his death at the Leopoldstadt Theatre. He was a very prolific composer, his works numbering about two hundred comic operas, operettas, vaudevilles, and farces, for which he has been dubbed the German Offenbach; Missa dalmatica; a requiem; symphony; overtures, notably Poet and Peasant (Dichter und Bauer), which is probably his best known work; male quartets; O thou, mine Austria, and other songs; airs; romances; melodies; and innumerable vocal pieces. Among his operas the best known are Fatinitza. and Boccaccio. Donna Juanita, Die Afrikareise, Bellman, and Die Jagd nach dem Glück have been given in English in America.