Jacques Halévy

Biography

Born: May 27, 1799; Paris, France   Died: March 17, 1862; Nice, France  
Jacques Fromental Halévy was an accomplished composer, teacher and essayist on music. A pupil of Cherubini, Halévy also studied in Italy. His best known opera, La juive, is a primary example of French grand opera. He composed over 30 operas, as well as cantatas, ballets, and songs.

In 1807, Elias Levy and his wife, Julie Meyer, changed the family name from Levy to Halévy. The next year, their precocious son,
Read more Jacques-François-Fromental, entered the Paris Conservatoire. By 1811, the young Halévy had become a composition student of Luigi Cherubini (1760-1842), who would champion his young pupil's work. Halévy also studied with H.M. Berton (1767-1844) and Étienne Méhul (1763-1817), but it was his contact with Cherubini that would have the most profound affect on his life and music.

Halévy won the Prix de Rome in 1819, allowing him to study in Rome for a year. While in Italy, Halévy experimented with Italian genres, including opera; in 1822 he traveled to Vienna, where he conversed with Beethoven on a number of occasions. After his return to Paris, Halévy was primarily concerned with achieving success in the theater. He did, however, channel his energy into other activities, such as teaching: in 1827 he was appointed professor of harmony at the Conservatoire, and later of counterpoint and composition. Among his students were Gounod, Massé, Bizet, and Saint-Saëns. Halévy became chef du chant at the Théâtre-Italien in 1826 and held the same position at the Opéra in 1829-1845.

By 1825, Halévy had completed four operas, plus the finale of a fifth -- none of which would ever be performed. L'artisan was his first work to reach the stage, receiving its premiere on January 30, 1827, at the Opéra-Comique; reviews were mixed, but it was not a total failure. In 1829 Halévy achieved significant success at the Opéra-Comique with Le dilettante d'Avignon, which remained in the house's repertory for several years. After becoming chef du chant at the Opéra, Halévy composed two ballets for that venue; in the meantime, he continued writing comic operas and garnering moderate praise.

Halévy's first attempt at grand opera, the five-act La juive (The Jewish Woman) of 1835, was a huge popular success. Eugène Scribe (1791-1861), who -- along with Giacomo Meyerbeer (1791-1864) -- invented the spectacular genre, supplied the libretto. La juive provided exactly the kind of grandeur sought by Louis Véron, director of the Paris Opéra, and became as much a central part of the French opera repertory as the works of Meyerbeer. In the same year, Halévy achieved another success, this time at the Opéra-Comique with L'éclair. Throughout the rest of his career, Halévy alternated between comic and grand opera composition.

Although not as popular as La juive, Halévy's Le reine di Chypre (1841) and Charles VI (1843) are equally great musical achievements, if not greater. Halévy's versatility comes to the fore in Le reine di Chypre, for which Saint-Georges' libretto required music befitting numerous exotic locales and strange characters; Wagner praised the work, writing of Halévy's work in general, "I have never heard dramatic music that has transported me so completely to a particular historical epoch." Read less
Browse 1-25 of 74 Available Recordings
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  • 1.
    Opera-Comique Overtures / Halasz, ORF Vienna Radio Symphony
    Label: Naxos   Catalog: 8574122 Release Date: 05/08/2020   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Charles Gounod,  Jacques Halévy,  Léo Delibes,  Louis Ferdinand Herold  ... 
    Conductor:  Michael Halász
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Vienna Radio Symphony Orchestra
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  • 2.
    Family Connections / Rothschild, Marineau
    Label: Nimbus   Catalog: NI6395 Release Date: 11/01/2019   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Felix Mendelssohn,  Giacomo Meyerbeer,  Reynaldo Hahn,  Louis Spohr  ... 
    Performer:  Charlotte de Rothschild,  Malcolm Martineau
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  • 3.
    Der schwarzeste Bass: Gottlob Frick Portrait
    Label: Profil   Catalog: 18047 Release Date: 05/17/2019   Number of Discs: 4
    Composer:  Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart,  Gioachino Rossini,  Albert Lortzing,  Otto Nicolai  ... 
    Performer:  Gottlob Frick
    CD: $29.99
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  • 4.
    Tenore di forza / Benedikt, Pitrenas, Lithuanian National Symphony
    Label: Delos   Catalog: 3571 Release Date: 05/17/2019   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Giuseppe Verdi,  Camille Saint-Saëns,  Umberto Giordano,  Jacques Halévy  ... 
    Performer:  Kristian Benedikt
    Conductor:  Modestas Pitrėnas
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Lithuanian National Symphony Orchestra,  Lithuanian National Opera Chorus
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  • 5.
    Halevy: La reine de Chypre / Niquet, Flemish Radio Choir, Paris Chamber Orchestra
    Label: Ediciones Singulares   Catalog: 1032 Release Date: 05/11/2018   Number of Discs: 2
    Composer:  Jacques Halévy
    Performer:  Etienne Dupuis,  Cyrille Dubois,  Véronique Gens,  Eric Huchet  ... 
    Conductor:  Hervé Niquet
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Flemish Radio Choir,  Paris Chamber Orchestra
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    CD: $37.49
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  • 6.
    Belcanto - The Tenors of the 78 Era
    Label: Naxos   Catalog: 2110389 Release Date: 03/09/2018   Number of Discs: 4
    Composer:  Giacomo Meyerbeer,  Charles Gounod,  Giuseppe Verdi,  Gaetano Donizetti  ... 
    Performer:  Enrico Caruso,  Alessandro Moreschi,  Fernando de Lucia,  Bessie Abott  ... 
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  • 7.
    Belcanto - The Tenors of the 78 Era [Blu-ray]
    Label: Naxos   Catalog: 63 Release Date: 03/09/2018   Number of Discs: 5
    Composer:  Giacomo Meyerbeer,  Charles Gounod,  Giuseppe Verdi,  Gaetano Donizetti  ... 
    Performer:  Enrico Caruso,  Alessandro Moreschi,  Fernando de Lucia,  Bessie Abott  ... 
    Blu-ray Video: $58.99
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  • 8.
    L'Opera (Deluxe) / Kaufmann, Billy, Bavarian State Orchestra
    Label: Sony   Catalog: 539083 Release Date: 09/29/2017   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Charles Gounod,  Jules Massenet,  Ambroise Thomas,  Georges Bizet  ... 
    Performer:  Jonas Kaufmann
    Conductor:  Bertrand De Billy
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Bavarian State Orchestra
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  • 9.
    L'Opera / Kaufmann, Billy, Bavarian State Orchestra
    Label: Sony   Catalog: 539076 Release Date: 09/15/2017   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Charles Gounod,  Jules Massenet,  Ambroise Thomas,  Georges Bizet  ... 
    Performer:  Jonas Kaufmann
    Conductor:  Bertrand De Billy
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Bavarian State Orchestra
    CD: $14.99
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  • 10.
    Visions / Gens, Niquet, Munich Radio Orchestra
    Label: Alpha Classics   Catalog: 279 Release Date: 06/09/2017   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Alfred Bruneau,  César Franck,  Louis Niedermeyer,  Benjamin Godard  ... 
    Performer:  Véronique Gens
    Conductor:  Hervé Niquet
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Munich Radio Orchestra
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  • 11.
    Halevy: La Juive (Highlights) / Almeida, Arroyo, Moffo, Tucker, New Philharmonia
    Label: Rca   Catalog: 88985397782 Release Date: 02/17/2017   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Jacques Halévy
    Performer:  Martina Arroyo,  Anna Moffo,  Richard Tucker,  Bonaldo Giaiotti
    Conductor:  Antonio de Almeida
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  New Philharmonia Orchestra,  Ambrosian Opera Chorus
    CD: $11.99
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  • 12.
    Crescendo / Secco, Orbelian, Kaunas City Symphony
    Label: Delos   Catalog: 3482 Release Date: 07/08/2016   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Giacomo Puccini,  Giuseppe Verdi,  Georges Bizet,  Jacques Halévy  ... 
    Performer:  Stefano Secco
    Conductor:  Constantine Orbelian
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Kaunas City Symphony Orchestra,  Kaunas State Choir
    CD: $17.99
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  • 13.
    Decca Sound: 55 Great Vocal Recitals
    Label: Decca   Catalog: 002495002 Release Date: 05/20/2016   Number of Discs: 55
    Composer:  Gustave Charpentier,  Giuseppe Verdi,  Jules Massenet,  Georges Bizet  ... 
    Performer:  Suzanne Danco,  Pierre Mollet,  Guido Agosti,  Gervase de Peyer  ... 
    Conductor:  Alberto Erede,  Ernest Ansermet,  Karl Böhm,  Rudolf Moralt  ... 
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Suisse Romande Orchestra,  Vienna Philharmonic Orchestra,  Zurich Tonhalle Orchestra  ... 
    CD: $165.49
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  • 14.
    Marcelo Alvarez: 20 Years on the Opera Stage
    Label: Delos   Catalog: 3472 Release Date: 11/11/2014   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Umberto Giordano,  Ruggero Leoncavallo,  Pietro Mascagni,  Giacomo Puccini  ... 
    Performer:  Marcelo [Tenor Vocals] Alvarez
    Conductor:  Constantine Orbelian
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  • 15.
    The Early Domingo
    Label: Sony   Catalog: 975792 Release Date: 08/26/2014   Number of Discs: 5
    Composer:  George Frideric Handel,  Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart,  Gaetano Donizetti,  Jacques Halévy  ... 
    Performer:  Placido Domingo,  Georgetta Psaros,  John McCaw,  Franklyn Whiteley  ... 
    Conductor:  Edward Downes,  Nello Santi,  Sherrill Milnes,  James Levine  ... 
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Royal Philharmonic Orchestra,  London Symphony Orchestra,  John Alldis Choir  ... 
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  • 16.
    Most Wanted Recitals! The Romantic Voice Of Cesare Siepi: Songs Of Italy
    Label: Decca   Catalog: 002109402 Release Date: 08/05/2014   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Ernesto De Curtis,  Cesare Cesarini,  Ernesto Tagliaferri,  Renato Brogi  ... 
    Performer:  Cesare Siepi
    Conductor:  Dino DiStefano,  Alberto Erede
    CD: $15.99
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  • 17.
    The Romantic Hero / Vittorio Grigolo
    Label: Sony   Catalog: 375658 Release Date: 05/19/2014   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Jules Massenet,  Georges Bizet,  Giacomo Meyerbeer,  Jacques Halévy  ... 
    Performer:  Vittorio Grigolo,  Sonya Yoncheva,  Alessandra Martines
    Conductor:  Evelino Pidň
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Italian Radio Symphony Orchestra Milan
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  • 18.
    Richard Tucker - The Opera Recital Album Collection
    Label: Sony   Catalog: 543283 Release Date: 08/06/2013   Number of Discs: 10
    Composer:  Gaetano Donizetti,  Giuseppe Verdi,  Charles Gounod,  Georges Bizet  ... 
    Performer:  Richard Tucker,  Dorothy Kirsten,  Eileen Farrell,  Daniza Ilitsch
    Conductor:  Fausto Cleva,  Nello Santi,  Franz Allers,  Wilfrid Pelletier  ... 
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Metropolitan Opera Orchestra,  Fausto Cleva,  Columbia Symphony Orchestra  ... 
    CD: $39.99
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  • 19.
    Voices of French Opera
    Label: Emi Classics   Catalog: 280462 Release Date: 07/16/2013   Number of Discs: 5
    Composer:  Jean-Baptiste Lully,  Jean-Philippe Rameau,  Christoph W. Gluck,  André Modeste Grétry  ... 
    Performer:  Véronique Gens,  Miguel Villabella,  Solange Petit-Renaux,  Patricia Petibon  ... 
    Conductor:  Christophe Rousset,  Maurice Cauchie,  John Eliot Gardiner,  Henri Tomasi  ... 
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Les Talens Lyriques,  Les Folies Françoises,  Monteverdi Choir  ... 
    On sale! $24.99
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  • 20.
    Placido Domingo Sings Caruso
    Label: Rca   Catalog: 195442 Release Date: 07/31/2012   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Gaetano Donizetti,  Jules Massenet,  Francesco Cilča,  Friedrich von Flotow  ... 
    Performer:  Placido Domingo,  Georgetta Psaros
    Conductor:  Nello Santi,  Erich Leinsdorf,  Sir Georg Solti,  Edward Downes
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  London Symphony Orchestra,  London Philharmonic Orchestra,  Royal Philharmonic Orchestra  ... 
    CD: $6.99
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  • 21.
    Patrie! Duets From French Romantic Operas / Talpain, Kosice Philharmonic
    Label: Brilliant Classics   Catalog: 94321 Release Date: 04/24/2012   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Jacques Halévy,  Camille Saint-Saëns,  Jules Massenet,  Charles Gounod  ... 
    Performer:  Hjördis Thébault,  Pierre-Yves Pruvot
    Conductor:  Didier Talpain
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Kosice Philharmonic Orchestra
    CD: $8.99
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  • 22.
    Best Of José Carreras
    Label: Emi Classics   Catalog: 7317012 Release Date: 02/14/2012   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Giuseppe Verdi,  Charles Gounod,  Georges Bizet,  Jacques Halévy  ... 
    Performer:  José Carreras,  Teresa Berganza
    Conductor:  Herbert von Karajan,  Jacques Delacôte,  Michel Plasson,  Riccardo Muti  ... 
    CD: $7.99
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  • 23.
    Adamo Didur Vol 1 - Recordings 1901-1916
    Label: Hafg   Catalog: 10073 Release Date: 12/03/2010   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Leopoldo Mugnone,  Peter Ilyich Tchaikovsky,  Stanislaw Moniuszko,  Arrigo Boito  ... 
    Performer:  Adamo Didur,  Giovanni Zenatello
    ArkivCD $16.99
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  • 24.
    Paul Payan - Recordings 1908-1926
    Label: Hafg   Catalog: 10182 Release Date: 12/03/2010   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Hippolyte Monpou,  Gustave Charpentier,  Jules Massenet,  André Messager  ... 
    Performer:  Paul Payan,  Suzanne Brohly,  Rose Heilbronner,  Georges Régis  ... 
    ArkivCD $16.99
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  • 25.
    Jean Noté - Recordings 1899-1917
    Label: Hafg   Catalog: 10170 Release Date: 11/23/2010   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Giuseppe Verdi,  Gaetano Donizetti,  Jacques Halévy,  Eugeno Diaz de la Peńa  ... 
    Performer:  Jean Noté,  Yvonne Gall,  Charles Fontaine,  Agustarello Affre  ... 
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