||Giacomo Meyerbeer (Jakob Liebmann Beer) was born on September 5, 1791 in Vogelsdorf, Germany as Jakob Liebmann Beer. His father, Judah Herz Beer was a wealthy sugar refiner in Germany and Italy. His mother, Malka Liebmann Meyer Wulff, also known as Amalia, was the daughter of Liebmann Meyer Wulff, a wealthy Berlin merchant and banker who made a fortune delivering supplies to Prussian troops, and was the director of the Prussian lottery. The family tree traces its roots to Rabbi Moses Isserles and other famous rabbis. Meyerbeer changed his name in homage to his grandfather (Liebmann Meyer), the most influential (and wealthy!) member of the family.
Jacob was first trained at the piano and became known as a child prodigy, one of the finest pianists in all of Berlin. He took training from great masters including Muzio Clementi. Later he studied composition and counterpoint with the Abbe Vogler in Darmstadt for several years; and it was there that he became friends with Carl Maria von Weber. By 1815, Jacob Beer had composed several oratorios and operas in German which showed promise. At the suggestion of Antonio Salieri, he made his way to Italy in order to develop the fine art of composing for the voice.
By 1815, the composer, now calling himself Giacomo Meyerbeer, began to compose Italian operas and other musical works. His first effort was a cantata for solo clarinet, orchestra soprano and chorus entitled Gli Amori de Teolinda, which he composed in Venice specifically for the great clarinettist Heinrich Josef Baermann and his consort, the soprano Helene Harlas. Both were and remained good friends and supporters.
Between 1815 and 1824, Meyerbeer composed six operas in the Rossini style, each more successful than the last, and he became a serious rival to Rossini. The last of these, entitled Il Crociato in Egitto, became an international sensation, and within a few years it was performed in all the major venues. It was the opera that brought Meyerbeer to Paris. Following his father's death, Meyerbeer married his first cousin Minna Mosson in 1826. A son and a daughter born within the next three years each died within a few months of birth.