Jules Massenet


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 Thaďs. 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 (Scčnes alsaciennes, 1882) to Hungary (Scčnes hongroises, 1871), and from Shakespeare (Scénes dramatiques, 1875) to Fairyland (Scčnes 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 Čve (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 Phčdre (1900). His only piano concerto was first performed in 1903 and receives occasional modern performances. Read less

Work: Werther: Pourquoi me réveiller?

Browse 101-108 of 108 Available Recordings
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  • 101.
    Lebendige Vergangenheit - Giuseppe Lugo
    Label: Preiser Records   Catalog: 89034 Release Date: 02/07/1995   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Ruggero Leoncavallo,  Cesare Andrea Bixio,  Giacomo Puccini,  Eduardo Di Capua  ... 
    Performer:  Giuseppe Lugo
    Conductor:  Florian Weiss,  Dino Olivieri,  Albert Wolff,  Elie Cohen
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Orchestra
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  • 102.
    Lebendige Vergangenheit - Julius Patzak
    Label: Preiser Records   Catalog: 89075 Release Date: 02/07/1995   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart,  Giuseppe Verdi,  Peter Ilyich Tchaikovsky,  Ambroise Thomas  ... 
    Performer:  Julius Patzak,  Hedwig Von Debicka
    Conductor:  Leo Blech,  Manfred Gurlitt,  Alois Melichar,  Wolfgang Martin  ... 
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Berlin State Opera Orchestra
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  • 103.
    Operntheater - Berühmte Tenöre Der 30er Jahre
    Label: Preiser Records   Catalog: 90953 Release Date: 02/07/1995   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Gioachino Rossini,  Paul von Klenau,  Richard Wagner,  Viktor Nessler  ... 
    Performer:  Ivan Kozlovsky,  Marcel Wittrisch,  Franz Völker,  Richard Tauber  ... 
    ArkivCD $16.99
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  • 104.
    Three Tenors In Concert 1994 / Carreras, Domingo, Pavarotti
    Label: Atlantic   Catalog: 82614 Release Date: 08/30/1994   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Ruggero Leoncavallo,  Helen Guy,  Federico Moreno-Torroba,  Giuseppe Verdi  ... 
    Performer:  Placido Domingo,  Luciano Pavarotti,  José Carreras
    Conductor:  Zubin Mehta
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Los Angeles Philharmonic Orchestra,  Los Angeles Music Center Opera Chorus
    CD: $13.99
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  • 105.
    Prima Voce - Antonio Cortis
    Label: Nimbus   Catalog: 7850 Release Date: 12/02/1992   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Antonio Cortis,  Simeon José Serrano,  Joaquin Gaztambide,  Amadeo Vives  ... 
    Performer:  Antonio Cortis
    Conductor:  Carlo Sabajno
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Milan Teatro alla Scala Orchestra
    CD: $14.99
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  • 106.
    Prima Voce - Martinelli Vol 2 1913-1923
    Label: Nimbus   Catalog: 7826 Release Date: 12/02/1992   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Gioachino Rossini,  Giuseppe Blanc,  Ruggero Leoncavallo,  Pietro Mascagni  ... 
    Performer:  Giuseppe de Luca,  José Mardones,  Giovanni Martinelli,  Marcel Journet
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  • 107.
    Prima Voce - Tito Schipa
    Label: Nimbus   Catalog: 7813 Release Date: 12/02/1992   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Gioachino Rossini,  Ruggero Leoncavallo,  Pietro Mascagni,  Jules Massenet  ... 
    Performer:  Tito Schipa,  Mafalda Favero,  Amelita Galli-Curci
    Conductor:  Giuseppe Antonicelli
    CD: $14.99
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  • 108.
    Luciano Pavarotti In Hyde Park
    Label: Decca   Catalog: 436320 Release Date: 04/14/1992   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Ruggero Leoncavallo,  Ernesto De Curtis,  Eduardo Di Capua,  Cesare Andrea Bixio  ... 
    Performer:  Luciano Pavarotti
    Conductor:  Leone Magiera
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Philharmonia Orchestra,  Philharmonia Chorus
    CD: $11.99
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