Sue Young Histories

John Barnett 1802 – 1890

September 06, 2009

John Barnett 1802 – 1890John Barnett 1802 – 1890 was an English composer and writer on music.

John Barnett was the godson of Domenico Carlo Maria Dragonetti, a cousin of Giacomo Meyerbeer, and an advocate of homeopathy,

John Barnett was the eldest son of a Prussian Jew named Bernhard Beer, who changed his surname on settling in England as a jeweller. According to some he was a cousin of the composer Giacomo Meyerbeer

In 1834 he published a collection of Lyrical Illustrations of the Modern Poets. His opera The Mountain Sylph - with which his name is nowadays most associated - received a warm welcome when produced at the Lyceum on 25 August 1834, as the first modern English opera, and was given over 100 performances, which was an unusual success… Although The Mountain Sylph is all but forgotten, it inspired parts of Gilbert and Sullivan’s 1882 Savoy Opera, Iolanthe.