Distinguished Maltese personalities series - Nicolò Isouard (1775-1818)


 Distinguished Maltese personalities series

Nicolò Isouard (1775-1818)

Nicolò Isouard

In 2002, the Central Bank of Malta issued a silver proof coin, the second commemorative coin in the Distinguished Maltese Personalities Series. This coin commemorates Nicolò Isouard, the renowned Maltese composer who lived between 1775 and 1818. The coat of arms of Malta and the year of issue are shown on the obverse of the coin. The reverse shows a portrait of Nicolò Isouard, the dates of his birth and death (1775-1818) and the words "Nicolò Isouard - Kompożitur" (Nicolò Isouard - Composer).

The composer Nicolò Isouard was one of the Maltese of note who reaped honour for himself and for his native country even beyond Malta's shores. He was born in 1775. His father, Fortunato Isouard Xuereb, sent him, when still in his teens, to study at the Military College in Paris but the turmoil of the French Revolution brought about his return to Malta. Here he dedicated himself to the study of music, one of his teachers being Mro Francesco Azzopardi, the well-known 'Maestro di Cappella' of the Cathedral Church. Subsequently he continued his studies in music, including classical opera, in Palermo and Naples, and his first two operas 'L'Avviso ai Maritati' and 'Artaserse' were successfully performed in Leghorn.

At the behest of Grand Master de Rohan he returned to Malta and was honoured by being admitted as Donat in the Order of St. John and appointed organist, and later, in 1796, Maestro di Cappella of the Conventual Church of St. John. During the French occupation he was appointed Commissaire of the (Manoel) Theatre.

In 1800 he returned to Paris, where he married Claudine Berthault, and there he produced, under the name Nicolò de Malte, a number of lyric operas, with French librettos, including the very successful 'Cendrillon' and 'Joconde' that ensured his fame as composer.

He died in the French capital in March 1818 and was buried in the Père Lachaise cemetery. His bust is conspicuous among other busts of illustrious composers adorning the Opéra of Paris.



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Silver Proof





Noel Galea Bason

Royal Mint, UK