A child to parents of noble extraction in the town of Teutendorf, Flotow received music lessons from his mother before singing as a choirboy at Gustrow. He entered the Paris Conservatory at the age of 16 and studied piano and composition. Leaving after the 1830 revolution, he composed his first opera, Pierre et Catherine, back in Germany. Flotow was not averse to collaboration; even after his first opera had been staged he was prepared to write joint works, first with Albert Grisar (Lady Melvil, 1838) and Auguste Pilati (Le Naufrage de al Meduse, 1839).
Flotow’s greatest success was his opera Martha (1847), which is still very much in the repertory. The romanticism of the music, themes and characerisations made it very much of its time. Between 1855 and 1863 he held the post of Intendant at the grand ducal courth theatre in Schwerin, before moving to Austria then back to Germany. Also among his works were several ballets, two piano concerti, songs and chamber works.Show more