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Jules Massenet

Biography

Born: May 12, 1842; France   Died: Aug 13, 1912; France   Period: Romantic
Today Jules Massenet is best known for the operas Manon and Werther and the solo violin Méditation, from Thaïs. During his lifetime, however, Massenet was one of the most prolific and celebrated operatic composers on earth. The public anxiously awaited his output, and Massenet became both wealthy and famous practicing his craft. His legacy endures because of his ability to create music which portrays the intimacy of human relationships and the Read more emotions and conflicts that arise from them. His gift for melody is reflected in a variety of arias that are among the most beautiful in the French operatic repertoire. He was also a brilliant orchestrator, a skill which allowed him to capture the moods and colors of a wide variety of places and eras. In addition to opera, Massenet composed songs, oratorios, ballets and orchestral works, as well as chamber music and works for solo piano.
Massenet was born in Montaud, France, to the family of a struggling metal worker. At the tender age of 10, he was admitted to the Paris Conservatory, where he studied with famed operatic composer Ambroise Thomas. In 1863, Massenet won the Prix de Rome, a prize which allowed him to travel and study in Italy. There the young man experienced the sounds and textures of the region and began to compose in earnest. While in Italy, Massenet met Liszt, who introduced him to his future wife, Mademoiselle Sainte-Marie.
Massenet's first opera, a one-act entitled La Grand' Tante (The Great Aunt), was produced (with only moderate success) at the Opéra-Comique in 1867. In 1877 Massenet's exotic opera Le Roi de Lahore (The King of Lahore) had a highly successful premiere at the Paris Opera, marking the beginning of his ascendancy as France's most prolific and celebrated operatic composer.
In 1878, his former teacher, Thomas, invited him to become a professor at the Paris Conservatory. Massenet achieved considerable success as a teacher, influencing an entire generation of French composers, including Gustav Charpentier and the song composer Reynaldo Hahn.
A highly prolific composer, Massenet worked continuously throughout his life, completing a great deal of music in addition to his 25 published operas. His approximately 250 songs often reflect the same melodic ingenuity and expressiveness that define his operatic works. Massenet composed several song cycles, including Poéme d'Avril (April Poem), which is often identified as the first French song cycle. Among the most famous of his solo songs are "Ouvre tes yeux bleus" (Open your blue eyes) and "Si tu veux, Mignonne" (If you wish it, sweetheart). The composer's First Orchestral Suite (originally entitled Symphony in F) premiered in 1867. This was the first of seven suites by Massenet, with programmatic subjects ranging from Alsace (Scènes alsaciennes, 1882) to Hungary (Scènes hongroises, 1871), and from Shakespeare (Scénes dramatiques, 1875) to Fairyland (Scènes de féerie, 1881). The most famous of his orchestral suites, Scénes pittoresques (Picturesque Scenes), was first performed in Paris during March of 1874. Massenet also composed several ballets, including La Cigale, Espada, and Les Rosati. In addition to Marie-Magdeleine, his oratorios include Ève (1875) and La Terre promise (The promised land, 1900). He wrote a considerable amount of incidental music for plays, including Sardou's Le Crocodile (1886) and Racine's Phèdre (1900). His only piano concerto was first performed in 1903 and receives occasional modern performances. Read less
Massenet: Ballet Music / Gallois, Barcelona
Release Date: 11/19/2013   Label: Naxos  
Catalog: 8573123   Number of Discs: 1
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Massenet: Orchestral Suites 4-7 / Ossonce, New Zealand So
Release Date: 07/18/1995   Label: Naxos  
Catalog: 8553125   Number of Discs: 1
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Massenet: Manon / Netrebko, Villazon, Barenboim [Blu-ray]
Release Date: 11/18/2008   Label: Deutsche Grammophon  
Catalog: 001208959   Number of Discs: 1
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Massenet: Manon / Zeani, Kraus, Rapalo, Teatro di San Carlo Napoli, 1964
Release Date: 11/25/2014   Label: Hardy Classics  
Catalog: 6018   Number of Discs: 1
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Massenet: Orchestral Suites 1-3 / Ossonce, New Zealand So
Release Date: 07/18/1995   Label: Naxos  
Catalog: 8553124   Number of Discs: 1
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Work: Werther: Pourquoi me réveiller?

Browse 1-25 of 129 Available Recordings
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  • 1.
    Bravo! Villazon - The Recitals [4-CD Set]
    Label: Erato   Catalog: 623618 Release Date: 10/28/2014   Number of Discs: 4
    Composer:  Giacomo Puccini,  Jacques Offenbach,  Giuseppe Verdi,  Friedrich von Flotow  ... 
    Performer:  Rolando Villazón,  Florian Laconi,  Theresa Blank
    Conductor:  Michel Plasson,  Marcello Viotti,  Placido Domingo,  Evelino Pidò
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Munich Radio Symphony Orchestra,  Madrid Community Orchestra,  ORTF Philharmonic Orchestra
    CD: $26.99
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  • 2.
    50 Great Arias / Jonas Kaufmann
    Label: Decca   Catalog: 002153502 Release Date: 09/23/2014   Number of Discs: 4
    Composer:  Giacomo Puccini,  Georges Bizet,  Friedrich von Flotow,  Giuseppe Verdi  ... 
    Performer:  Jonas Kaufmann,  Jana Sibera,  Michael Volle,  Margarete Joswig  ... 
    Conductor:  Marco Armiliato,  Claudio Abbado,  Donald Runnicles,  Antonio Pappano
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Prague Philharmonic Orchestra,  Mahler Chamber Orchestra,  Parma Teatro Regio Chorus  ... 
    On sale! $32.98
    CD: $27.99
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  • 3.
    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  ... 
    CD: $14.99
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  • 4.
    3 Tenors In Concert 1994 [20th Anniversary] CD+DVD
    Label: Warner Classics   Catalog: 633737 Release Date: 05/27/2014   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Jules Massenet,  Richard Rodgers,  Agustín Lara,  Ernesto De Curtis  ... 
    Performer:  José Carreras,  Placido Domingo,  Luciano Pavarotti,  Placido [Tenor Vocals] Domingo
    Conductor:  Zubin Mehta
    CD: $19.99
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  • 5.
    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 Pidò
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Italian Radio Symphony Orchestra Milan
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  • 6.
    Domingo at the Met [Anniversary Edition]
    Label: Sony   Catalog: 303160 Release Date: 05/06/2014   Number of Discs: 3
    Composer:  Giuseppe Verdi,  Ruggero Leoncavallo,  Amilcare Ponchielli,  Pietro Mascagni  ... 
    Performer:  Placido [Tenor Vocals] Domingo,  Allan Glassman,  Paul Plishka,  David [Tenor Vocal] Hamilton  ... 
    Conductor:  James Levine,  Yannick Nézet-Séguin,  Giuseppe Patané,  Giuseppe Sinopoli  ... 
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Metropolitan Opera Orchestra
    CD: $18.99
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  • 7.
    L'amour / Juan Diego Florez
    Label: Decca   Catalog: 002030702 Release Date: 04/15/2014  
    Composer:  François Boieldieu,  Georges Bizet,  Gaetano Donizetti,  Hector Berlioz  ... 
    Performer:  Juan Diego Flórez,  Sergei Artamonov
    Conductor:  Roberto Abbado
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Bologna Teatro Comunale Orchestra,  Bologna Teatro Comunale Chorus
    CD: $18.99
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  • 8.
    Voice For The Ages / Luciano Pavarotti
    Label: Decca   Catalog: 002038509 Release Date: 04/15/2014  
    Composer:  Giacomo Puccini,  Eduardo Di Capua,  Gaetano Donizetti,  Gioachino Rossini  ... 
    Performer:  Leone Magiera,  Luciano Pavarotti,  José Carreras,  Placido Domingo  ... 
    Conductor:  James Levine
    DVD: $29.99
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  • 9.
    Fernando De Lucia - Complete Gramophone Company Recordings 1902-1909
    Label: Marston   Catalog: 54004 Release Date: 09/30/2013   Number of Discs: 4
    Composer:  Francesco Paolo Tosti,  Jules Massenet,  Giuseppe Verdi,  Gioachino Rossini  ... 
    Performer:  Fernando de Lucia,  Salvatore Cattone,  Antonio Pini-Corsi,  Josefina Huguet  ... 
    Conductor:  Salvatore Sassano
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Milan Teatro alla Scala Chorus
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  • 10.
    The Best of Jonas Kaufmann
    Label: Decca   Catalog: 001894302 Release Date: 09/03/2013   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Giacomo Puccini,  Georges Bizet,  Giuseppe Verdi,  Charles Gounod  ... 
    Performer:  Jonas Kaufmann,  Jana Sibera,  Renée Fleming,  Barbara Vignudelli  ... 
    Conductor:  Marco Armiliato,  Antonio Pappano,  Claudio Abbado,  John Eliot Gardiner
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Prague Philharmonic Orchestra,  Verdi Grand Symphonic Orchestra Milan,  Verdi Chorus Milan  ... 
    CD: $13.99
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  • 11.
    Label: Urania   Catalog: 22315 Release Date: 07/16/2013   Number of Discs: 3
    Composer:  Giuseppe Verdi,  Gaetano Donizetti,  Georges Bizet,  Jules Massenet  ... 
    Performer:  Giuseppe Di Stefano,  Leyla Gencer,  Stefania Malagú,  Franco Calabrese  ... 
    Conductor:  Antonino Votto
    On sale! $35.98
    CD: $30.99
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  • 12.
    Voices of French Opera [5-CD Set]
    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  ... 
    CD: $24.99
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  • 13.
    Luciano Pavarotti - A Legend Says Goodbye
    Label: Timba (Dvd)   Catalog: 22 Release Date: 07/02/2013   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart,  Francesco Paolo Tosti,  Gioachino Rossini,  Vincenzo Bellini  ... 
    Performer:  Luciano Pavarotti
    DVD: $9.99
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  • 14.
    Nicolai Gedda - Tenor Par Excellence
    Label: Regis   Catalog: 1203 Release Date: 01/29/2013   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Peter Ilyich Tchaikovsky,  Jules Massenet,  Georges Bizet,  Daniel-François-Esprit Auber  ... 
    Performer:  Nicolai Gedda
    On sale! $18.98
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  • 15.
    Meditation - The Beautiful Music Of Massenet
    Label: Decca   Catalog: 001693302 Release Date: 07/03/2012   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Jules Massenet
    Performer:  Marilyn Horne,  Luciano Pavarotti,  José Carreras,  Renée Fleming  ... 
    Conductor:  Henry Lewis,  Oliviero de Fabritiis,  Sir Colin Davis,  Yves Abel  ... 
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Vienna Opera Orchestra,  National Philharmonic Orchestra,  Royal Opera House Covent Garden Orchestra  ... 
    CD: $12.99
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  • 16.
    Noah / Noah Stewart
    Label: Verve   Catalog: 001701202 Release Date: 07/03/2012   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Giacomo Puccini,  Jules Massenet,  Leonard Cohen,  Charles Gounod  ... 
    Performer:  Noah Stewart
    CD: $14.99
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  • 17.
    Bellissimo French Opera
    Label: Dynamic   Catalog: 719 Release Date: 04/24/2012   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Antonio Salieri,  Giacomo Meyerbeer,  Charles Gounod,  Jules Massenet  ... 
    Performer:  Montserrat Caballé,  Désirée Rancatore,  Jeon-Won Lee,  Warren Mok  ... 
    Conductor:  Gianluigi Gelmetti,  Renato Palumbo,  Manlio Benzi,  Marco Guidarini  ... 
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Italian Radio Symphony Orchestra Rome,  Italian International Orchestra,  Cagliari Theater Orchestra  ... 
    CD: $12.99
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  • 18.
    The  Tokyo Concerts / Alfredo Kraus, Franco Corelli
    Label: Dynamic   Catalog: 33718 Release Date: 04/24/2012   Number of Discs: 2
    Composer:  Giuseppe Verdi,  Umberto Giordano,  Giacomo Meyerbeer,  Giacomo Puccini  ... 
    Performer:  Franco Corelli,  Alfredo Kraus,  Edelmiro Arnaltes,  Emiko Suga
    Conductor:  Alberto Ventura
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  NHK Symphony Orchestra Tokyo
    Recommendation
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  • 19.
    Pavarotti Collection Vol 2
    Label: Bravissimo Opera Library   Catalog: 9913 Release Date: 02/14/2012   Number of Discs: 12
    Composer:  Giuseppe Verdi,  Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart,  Vincenzo Bellini,  Giacomo Puccini  ... 
    Performer:  Luciano Pavarotti
    On sale! $33.98
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  • 20.
    Cessare Valletti: Opera Arias And Duets
    Label: Archipel   Catalog: 345 Release Date: 01/01/2012   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart,  Gioachino Rossini,  Gaetano Donizetti,  Vincenzo Bellini  ... 
    CD: $9.99
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  • 21.
    A Fool For Love / Michael Spyres
    Label: Delos   Catalog: 3414 Release Date: 09/27/2011   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Gaetano Donizetti,  Igor Stravinsky,  Gioachino Rossini,  Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart  ... 
    Performer:  Michael Spyres
    Conductor:  Constantine Orbelian
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Moscow Chamber Orchestra
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    CD: $17.99
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  • 22.
    Giuseppe Di Stefano - The Decca Recordings
    Label: Decca   Catalog: 001589102 Release Date: 08/30/2011   Number of Discs: 5
    Composer:  Traditional,  Franco Cesarini,  Ernesto De Curtis,  Eldo Di Lazzaro  ... 
    Performer:  Giuseppe Di Stefano,  Hilde Gueden,  Renato Capecchi,  Luisa Mandelli  ... 
    Conductor:  Dino Olivieri,  Iller Pattacini,  Franco Patanè,  Francesco Molinari-Pradelli
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Orchestra,  New Symphony Orchestra of London,  Zurich Tonhalle Orchestra  ... 
    On sale! $35.97
    CD: $16.99
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  • 23.
    Melodies Of Love And Death - Opera Senza Parole / Osiris Trio
    Label: Challenge   Catalog: 72373 Release Date: 06/01/2011   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Antonín Dvorák,  Giuseppe Verdi,  Georges Bizet,  Gaetano Donizetti  ... 
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Osiris Trio
    On sale! $17.98
    CD: $15.99
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  • 24.
    Historical Collection - Alfredo Kraus,  Boris Christoff, Renata Scotto
    Label: Dynamic   Catalog: 33683 Release Date: 04/26/2011   Number of Discs: 3
    Composer:  Alessandro Scarlatti,  Gioachino Rossini,  Giuseppe Verdi,  Franz Liszt  ... 
    Performer:  Thomas Fulton,  Renata Scotto,  Boris Christoff,  Alfredo Kraus
    Conductor:  Bruno Amaducci,  José Collado
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Grand Canary Philharmonic Orchestra
    DVD: $32.49
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  • 25.
    Lebendige Vergangenheit: Richard Crooks
    Label: Preiser Records   Catalog: 89744 Release Date: 04/12/2011   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Gaetano Donizetti,  Richard Wagner,  Charles Gounod,  Jules Massenet  ... 
    Performer:  Richard [Tenor Vocal] Crooks
    Conductor:  Wilfrid Pelletier,  Nathaniel Shilkret
    On sale! $22.98
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