Jules Émile Frédéric Massenet

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Massenet, Jules Émile Frédéric


Born May 12, 1842, in Montaud, near the city of St. Etienne; died Aug. 13, 1912, in Paris. French composer. Member of the Academic des Beaux- Arts (1878).

In 1863, Massenet graduated from the Paris Conservatory, where he had studied composition under A. Thomas. In that same year he received the Prix de Rome for the cantata David Rizzio. In 1864 and 1865 he studied in Rome on a stipend. From 1878 to 1896, Massenet was a professor at the Paris Conservatory, where his pupils included A. Bruneau, P. Vidal, C. Koechlin, J. Tiersot, G. Charpentier, E. Chausson, and G. Enesco. In 1910 he was the president of the Academic des Beaux-Arts.

One of the most outstanding representatives of French lyrical operas and romances, Massenet wrote more than 30 operas, including La Grand’ Tante (1867), Don Cesar de Bazan (1872), Le Roi de Lahore (1877), Le Cid (1885), Thais (1894), Sapho (1897), and Don Quichotte (1910, Monte Carlo, with F. I. Chaliapin in the leading role). The composer’s masterpieces were Manon (1884) and Werther (1886), which have been firmly established in world opera repertoire. It is in these works that his lyrical gift is most completely revealed. Bright, heartfelt melodies play a major role in his music. Declamatory passages are marked by a certain melodiousness. Massenet also wrote three ballets, oratorios, symphonies, piano works, nearly 200 romances and songs, and other compositions.


Mes souvenirs (1848-1912). Paris [1912].


Kremlev, Iu. Zhiul’ Massne. Moscow, 1969.
Bruneau, A. Massenet. Paris, 1935.
Coquis, A. J. Massenet. [Paris, 1965.]