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George Frederick Bristow

America's second opera composer

Born December 19, 1825, Brooklyn, New York
Died December 13, 1898, New York, New York
About G. F. Bristow

Rip Van Winkle, Bristow's only completed opera, was the second opera by an American performed by a professional company; it was also the first on an American subject, Washington Irving's short story of the same title. The opera was well recieved by the public despite some criticism of Wainwright's libretto. Bristow was a contemporary of William Henry Fry [cf.], and, like him, relied heavily on European models in his composition. Different sources give two different titles for the opera he was working on at the time of his death: Columbus and King of the Mountains. It is not clear whether this refers to one or two works, but an overture to Columbus certainly exists.

  • Rip Van Winkle
    Libretto by Jonathan Howard Wainwright after the the story by Washington Irving.
    September 27, 1855, Niblo's Garden, New York, New York
  • Columbus [incomplete]
  • King of the Mountain [incomplete]

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Last update: January 1, 2009