Reference Entry

Roger-Ducasse, Jean (opera)

David Cox

in Oxford Music Online

Published in print December 1992 |
Published online January 2002 | e-ISBN: 9781561592630 | DOI:

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(Jules Aimable)

(b Bordeaux, April 18, 1873; d Taillan-Médoc, Gironde, July 19, 1954). French composer. He studied composition with Fauré at the Paris Conservatoire and later succeeded Dukas as professor of composition there. As a composer Roger- Ducasse began in the tradition of Fauré but soon developed a more elaborate and individual style. Romantic excesses were avoided, but an exploratory spirit often led him into abstract and complex writing, strongly disciplined but always sensitive.

The ‘mimodrame lyrique’ Orphée (1913) is an ingenious combination of miming, choreography and ‘pure’ music in three acts or tableaux devised by the composer. Besides the orchestra, four soloists and a chorus are used in parts of Acts 2 and 3. It was first staged at the Opéra on 11 June 1926, with Ida Rubinstein dancing the part of Orpheus. Unlike Gluck’s opera, the legend of Orpheus and Eurydice here takes a tragic ending: no god of love appears to bring Eurydice back to life and Orpheus is torn to pieces by the Maenads. Very different is Roger-Ducasse’s other stage work, the four-act ...

Reference Entry.  272 words. 

Subjects: Opera

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