Pierre-Alexandre Monsigny


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(b Fauquembergues, nr Saint-Omer, 17 Oct. 1729; d Paris, 14 Jan. 1817). French composer. Born into a noble family, he held several official positions in Paris before his connection with the Duke of Orléans allowed him to take up composing. In association with the librettist Michel-Jean Sedaine he enjoyed success in Paris, c.1760–77, as a composer of comic operas at about the time when Philidor and Grétry were achieving great popularity. Although he never attained their facility in composition, or a comparable originality, he took pains to match his music to the text and had a gift for attractive melody. The social and political implications of Le Roy et le fermier (1762)—based, unusually, on an English subject—added a new, extra-musical element to the traditions of opéra comique. In his late 40s Monsigny suddenly stopped composing, probably because of eye problems; from then on he lived in modest retirement. His works enjoyed continued success into the early 19th century.

From The Oxford Companion to Music in Oxford Reference.

Subjects: Music.

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