Overview

Jules Massenet

(1842—1912)


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(b Montaud, St Étienne, 1842; d Paris, 1912).

Fr. composer. Won Grand Prix de Rome and spent 3 years in Rome; returned to Paris 1866, his first (1‐act) opera being prod. at Opéra‐Comique 1867. His oratorios est. his name until the opera Hérodiade (a version of the Salome story) in 1881, but his greatest success came in 1884 with Manon. He was prof. of advanced comp. at Paris Cons. 1878–96. Among his later successes was Don Quichotte, prod. Monte Carlo 1910, with Chaliapin in the title‐role. Massenet used Wagner's leitmotiv device, but translated it into his melodious and agreeable style, a style considered by some to be saccharine but which has won admiration in the later 20th cent. for its stylishness, craftsmanship, sense of th., and understanding of the human v. Prin. works:

operas:

La Grand' Tante

(1867);

Don César de Bazan

(1872);

Le Roi de Lahore

(1875–6);

Hérodiade

(1878–81, rev. 1883);

Manon

(1882–3, rev. 1884);

Le Cid

(1884–5);

Werther

(1885–7);

Esclarmonde

(1888);

Le Mage

(1889–90);

Amadis

(1889–90, 1910–11);

Thaïs

(1892–3, rev. 1897);

Le Portrait de Manon

(1893);

La Navarraise

(1893);

Grisélidis

(1894, rev. 1898);

Cendrillon

(1895);

Sapho

(1896, rev. 1909);

Le Jongleur de Notre‐Dame

(1900);

Roma

(1902, 1909);

Chérubin

(1902–3);

Ariane

(1904–5);

Thérèse

(1905–6);

Bacchus

(1907–8);

Don Quichotte

(1908–9);

Panurge

(1911);

Cléopâtre

(1911–12).

ballets:

Le Carillon

(1892);

Cigale

(1904);

Espada

(1908).

oratorios & cantatas:

David Rizzio

(1863);

Marie‐Magdeleine

(1873, rev. as opera 1906);

Eve

(1875);

Narcisse

(1877);

La Vierge

(1880);

Biblis

(1886);

La Terre Promise

(1900).

orch.:

Scènes hongroises

(1871);

Scènes pittoresques

(1874);

Scènes napolitaines

(1876);

Scènes alsaciennes

(1881);

Marche solennelle

(1897);

Fantaisie

, vc. and orch. (1897); pf. conc. (1903).

Also about 200 songs, some with orch.

Subjects: Music.


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