Vatroslav Lisinski

One of the most famous Croatian composers and the creator of the first Croatian opera was born in 1819 in Zagreb under the name Ignatius Fuchs. He croatized his name in 1840 to Vatroslav Lisinski under the influence of the Illyrian movement - the Croatian national revival. He was highly educated and certainly belonged to the intellectual strain of the time. In Zagreb in 1840 he graduated in philosophy and in 1842 in law. During his high school days, at the urging of his parents, he began his musical education through private tuition. Despite his father's death and the financial problems he found himself in at the beginning of his studies and during his studies, Lisinski continued his musical education. Among the most important teachers were the organist and pianist Juraj Sojka, who was one of his first teachers, and Georg Karl Wisner von Morgenstern, who later orchestrated his opera "Love and Malice".

At the urging of the Illyrian Albert Štriga, in 1841 he began composing. He soon began writing the opera "Love and Malice" in the Croatian language, which became the first Croatian national opera. The opera was staged on March 28, 1846 and was a great success. This is evidenced by the fact that it was performed seven times in just one month. The newspaper Danica the Illyrian completely dedicated two issues to the opera, which they did not do for any other event in the period of the national revival. With Štriga's help, he went to Prague in 1847 for further musical training, but due to exceeding the age limit for the Prague Conservatory, he was forced to take private lessons with the director of the conservatory, Jan Bedřich Kittl. There he composed several songs and orchestral works - overtures to “Jugoslavenka” and “Bellona” and solo songs “Ribar” and “Osamljen”. He also wrote the first part of his second opera "Porin" in Prague.

In 1850, despite the efforts of Ban Josip Jelačić, his request to take the final exam at the conservatory was denied. Disappointed, he returns to Zagreb. During his absence in Zagreb, political circumstances changed and Lisinski barely survived due to financial troubles. His situation at the time is also evidenced by a letter in which he asks the Theater Committee to lend him100 forints, for which he offers the score of his opera "Love and Malice" as a pledge. He was employed as a clerk at the Tabula Banalis in Zagreb and remained there until his death. In 1852, his health began to deteriorate, and he soon died at the age of 34.

Today, the main concert hall in Zagreb, built in 1973, is named after him - the Vatroslav Lisinski Concert Hall.

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