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19 August 2002
Christopj Willibald Gluck was born in 1714 in Erasbach, Bavaria. At a young, he was already determined to become a professional musician, but his father, a forester, was against this. So much even that Gluck decided to run away from home to move to Prague. There, he immersed himself into the local music scene and advanced as a self-educated chamber musician to work for the nobility.
His first opera Artaserse (1741) was a major success, which allowed Gluck to travel throughout Europe to work as an independent musician and composer of Italian opera seria. He married to the daughter of a well-established salesman en settled in Vienna in 1752 where he foumd himself in a circle of poets, composers and choreographers led by Count Giacomo Durazzo.
During this period, Gluck started to focus on French opéra comique and ballet. He wrote the music for the revolutionary Don Juan and in 1762, he composed his Orfeo ed Euridice, the first of three operas in which he broke with the conventions of Italian opera seria: the music had to be in the service of the drama, and not of the vain singers. Finally, Gluck was able to give a new impulse to the French tragédie lyrique in Paris (with operas such as his Iphigénie and Tauride). Gluck died in 1787 in Vienna of a stroke. He wasn't a great revolutionary composer, but he surely influenced Mozart, and later even Berlioz and Wagner.