The French composer Daniel François Esprit Auber (1782-1871) was a successful composer and director of the Paris Conservatory. Emperor Napoleon III appointed him Imperial Court Kapellmeister in 1857. His music is lively, melodic and pleasing. He is also generally regarded as the master of the French opéra comique. His opera "The Mute of Portici" ("Masaniello") is also considered a milestone in French grand opera, apart from its historical significance, which ultimately led to Belgium's independence.
His most famous work is "Fra Diavolo" (or "L'hôtellerie de Teracine"), which premiered with great success in Paris in January 1830. Due to the success of earlier operas, the composer also used comic elements from military life in "Fra Diavolo". The plot revolves around a historical figure, the robber Michele Pezza, who, disguised as a marquis, attacked and robbed travellers in the Neapolitan area. He is the "Fra Diavolo" in Auber's opera. The warlike sounds at the beginning of the overture characterize Lorenzo, a destitute dragoon officer whose task it is to catch the robber-chief "Fra Diavolo". In the opera, "Fra Diavolo" is betrayed by his gang and finally shot. The work is still one of the most popular pieces in the repertoire.