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: Don Quichotte / Gergiev, Furlanetto,  Kiknadze,   Serov, Mariinsky Orchestra
Release Date: 03/13/2012   Label: Mariinsky  
Catalog: 0523   Number of Discs: 2
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Massenet: Manon / Australian Ballet
Release Date: 07/25/2006   Label: Kultur Video  
Catalog: 4089   Number of Discs: 1
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Massenet: Cleopatre / Ortega, Caballe, Marti, Baskov
Release Date: 04/28/2009   Label: Kultur Video  
Catalog: 4355   Number of Discs: 1
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Massenet: La Vierge / Collado, Caballe, Marti, Angella
Release Date: 10/27/2009   Label: Kultur Video  
Catalog: 4364   Number of Discs: 1
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Massenet: Herodiade / Gergiev, Domingo, Fleming, Zajick
Release Date: 08/27/2013   Label: Newton Classics  
Catalog: 8802202   Number of Discs: 2
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Work: Werther: Pourquoi me réveiller?

Browse 1-25 of 138 Available Recordings
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  • 1.
    Three 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,  Federico Moreno-Torroba,  Richard Rodgers,  Agustín Lara  ... 
    CD: $21.99
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  • 2.
    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
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  • 3.
    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
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  • 4.
    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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  • 5.
    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  ... 
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  • 6.
    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! $33.98
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  • 7.
    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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  • 8.
    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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  • 9.
    Massenet: Marie-Magdeleine / Morss, Crespin, Nadler, Roney
    Label: Bella Voce   Catalog: 7703844 Release Date: 05/03/2013   Number of Discs: 2
    Composer:  Jules Massenet
    Performer:  Sheila Nadler,  Louis Roney,  Régine Crespin,  Daniel Roth  ... 
    Conductor:  Anthony Morss,  Andrew Morss,  Alain Lombard
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Sacred Music Society of America Orchestra,  Sacred Music Society of America Chorus
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  • 10.
    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! $13.98
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  • 11.
    Label: Decca   Catalog: 1007092 Release Date: 11/06/2012   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Giuseppe Verdi,  Ruggero Leoncavallo,  Umberto Giordano,  Giacomo Puccini  ... 
    Performer:  Andrea Bocelli
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  • 12.
    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  ... 
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  • 13.
    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
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  • 14.
    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  ... 
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  • 15.
    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
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  • 16.
    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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  • 17.
    Cessare Valletti: Opera Arias And Duets
    Label: Archipel   Catalog: ARPCD0345 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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  • 18.
    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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  • 19.
    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! $16.49
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  • 20.
    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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  • 21.
    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! $19.98
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  • 22.
    The Placido Domingo Story [3-CD Set]
    Label: Deutsche Grammophon   Catalog: 001515302 Release Date: 01/25/2011   Number of Discs: 3
    Composer:  Umberto Giordano,  Carl Maria von Weber,  Giuseppe Verdi,  Jacques Offenbach  ... 
    Performer:  Placido Domingo,  Monserrat Aparici,  Pedro Di Proenza,  Tatiana Troyanos  ... 
    Conductor:  Nello Santi,  Rafael Kubelik,  Lamberto Gardelli,  Richard Bonynge  ... 
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Berlin Deutsche Oper Orchestra,  Bavarian Radio Symphony Orchestra,  Royal Philharmonic Orchestra  ... 
    Recommendation
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  • 23.
    Georges Thill Vol 6 - Massenet
    Label: Hafg   Catalog: 10251 Release Date: 12/18/2010   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Jules Massenet
    Performer:  Georges Thill,  Mary McCormick,  Ninon Vallin
    Conductor:  Maurice Frigara,  Eugène Bigot
    ArkivCD $16.99
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  • 24.
    A Passion For Pavarotti: The Arias
    Label: Opera D'oro   Catalog: 6004 Release Date: 11/09/2010   Number of Discs: 2
    Composer:  Giuseppe Verdi,  Vincenzo Bellini,  Jules Massenet,  Ruggero Leoncavallo  ... 
    Performer:  Luciano Pavarotti
    CD: $14.99
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  • 25.
    Ioan Holender Farewell Concert / Netrebko, Domingo, Quasthoff [2 DVDs]
    Label: Deutsche Grammophon   Catalog: 001491309 Release Date: 11/09/2010   Number of Discs: 2
    Composer:  Richard Wagner,  Giuseppe Verdi,  Jacques Offenbach,  Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart  ... 
    Performer:  Placido Domingo,  Nadia Krasteva,  Herwig Pecoraro,  Michaela Selinger  ... 
    Conductor:  Zubin Mehta,  Antonio Pappano,  Bertrand De Billy,  Franz Welser-Möst  ... 
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Vienna State Opera Orchestra,  Vienna State Opera Chorus
    DVD: $29.99
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