Massenet, Jules

Massenet, Jules

▪ French composer
born , May 12, 1842, Montaud, near Saint-Étienne, France
died Aug. 13, 1912, Paris
 leading French opera composer of his generation, whose music is admired for its lyricism, sensuality, occasional sentimentality, and theatrical aptness.

      The son of an ironmaster, Massenet entered the Paris Conservatory at the age of 11, subsequently studying composition under the noted opera composer Ambroise Thomas. In 1863 he won the Prix de Rome with his cantata David Rizzio. With the production in 1867 of his opera La Grand' Tante (The Great Aunt), he embarked on a career as a composer of operas and incidental music. His 24 operas are characterized by a graceful, thoroughly French, melodic style. Manon (1884; after Antoine François Prévost) is considered by many his masterpiece. The opera, marked by sensuous melody and skilled personification, uses leading themes and motifs to identify and characterize the protagonists and their emotions. In the recitatives (dialogue) it employs the unusual device of spoken words over a light orchestral accompaniment. Also among his finest and most successful operas are Le Jongleur de Notre-Dame (1902), Werther (1892; after J.W. von Goethe), and Thaïs (1894). The famous “Méditation” for violin and orchestra from Thaïs remains part of the standard violin repertory.

      Several of Massenet's operas reflect the succession of contemporary operatic fashions. Thus, Le Cid (1885) has the characteristics of French grand opera; Le Roi de Lahore (1877; The King of Lahore) reflects the taste for Oriental exoticism; Esclarmonde (1889) shows the influence of Wagner; and La Navarraise (1894; The Woman of Navarre) is influenced by the end-of-the-century style of verismo, or realism. Also prominent among Massenet's operas are Hérodiade (1881) and Don Quichotte (1910).

      Of Massenet's incidental music, particularly notable is that for Leconte de Lisle's play Les Érinnyes (1873; The Furies), which contains the widely performed song “Élégie.” In 1873 he also produced his oratorio, Marie-Magdeleine, later performed as an opera. This work exemplifies the mingling of religious feeling and eroticism often found in Massenet's music. Massenet also composed more than 200 songs, a piano concerto, and several orchestral suites.

      As a teacher of composition at the Paris Conservatory from 1878, Massenet was highly influential. His autobiography was entitled Mes Souvenirs (1912; My Recollections).

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Universalium. 2010.

Look at other dictionaries:

  • Massenet, Jules — ► (1842 1912) Compositor francés. En 1863 obtuvo el primer premio de Roma y después se dedicó a viajar por Europa recogiendo apuntes e impresiones. Estrenó dos fantasías para orquesta y una Suite para orquesta. Su gran éxito lo alcanzó con sus… …   Enciclopedia Universal

  • Massenet, Jules Émile Frédéric — Mas·se·net (măs ə nāʹ, mäs nāʹ), Jules Émile Frédéric. 1842 1912. French composer whose works include more than 20 operas, including Manon (1884) and Thaïs (1894). * * * …   Universalium

  • Massenet, Jules (-Émile-Frédéric) — born May 12, 1842, Montaud, near Saint Étienne, France died Aug. 13, 1912, Paris French composer. He attended the Paris Conservatoire from 1851. When his family left Paris in 1854, he ran away to continue his studies, playing piano and drums and… …   Universalium

  • Massenet, Jules (-Émile-Frédéric) — (12 may. 1842, Montaud, cerca de Saint Étienne, Francia–13 ago. 1912, París). Compositor francés. Desde 1851 estudió en el conservatorio de París. Cuando su familia abandonó París en 1854, se escapó para seguir sus estudios y trabajó como… …   Enciclopedia Universal

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  • Jules Massenet — Jules Émile Frédéric Massenet (French pronunciation: [ʒyl emil fʁedeʁik masnɛ]) (May 12, 1842 – August 13, 1912) was a French composer best known for his operas. His compositions were very popular in the late 19th and early 20th… …   Wikipedia

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  • Jules Bordier — Jules Bordier, né Jules Auguste Bordier en 1846 à Angers, où il est est mort en 1896, est un pianiste, compositeur et chef d orchestre. Jules Bordier naquit dans une famille de banquiers. En 1877, Jules Bordier fut le cofondateur de l Association …   Wikipédia en Français

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