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
Prima Voce - Helge Roswaenge - Beethoven, Massenet, Et Al
Release Date: 04/20/1999   Label: Nimbus  
Catalog: 7899   Number of Discs: 1
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Composition Type: Operas

Browse 1-25 of 59 Available Recordings
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  • 1.
    Massenet: Cendrillon / Wilson, London Philharmonic, Glyndebourne Chorus
    Label: Opus Arte   Catalog: 1303 Release Date: 06/26/2020   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Jules Massenet
    Performer:  Lionel Lhote,  Kate Lindsey,  Danielle De Niese,  Nina Minasyan
    Conductor:  John Wilson
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  London Philharmonic Orchestra,  Glyndebourne Chorus
    DVD: $29.99
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  • 2.
    Massenet: Cendrillon / Wilson, London Philharmonic, Glyndebourne Chorus [Blu-ray]
    Label: Opus Arte   Catalog: 7267 Release Date: 06/26/2020   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Jules Massenet
    Performer:  Kate Lindsey,  Lionel Lhote,  Danielle De Niese,  Nina Minasyan
    Conductor:  John Wilson
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  London Philharmonic Orchestra,  Glyndebourne Chorus
    Blu-ray Video: $39.99
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  • 3.
    Massenet: Thais / Hopkins, Staples, Wall, Davis, Toronto Symphony
    Label: Chandos   Catalog: 5258 Release Date: 06/05/2020   Number of Discs: 2
    Composer:  Jules Massenet
    Performer:  Joshua Hopkins,  Erin Wall,  Liv Redpath,  Nathan Berg  ... 
    Conductor:  Sir Andrew Davis
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Toronto Symphony Orchestra,  Toronto Mendelssohn Choir
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  • 4.
    Seven Great Russian Operas from 1955 / National Theatre Belgrade
    Label: Profil   Catalog: 19040 Release Date: 02/14/2020   Number of Discs: 22
    Composer:  Mikhail Glinka,  Modest Mussorgsky,  Nikolai Rimsky-Korsakov,  Alexander Borodin  ... 
    Performer:  Vladeta Dimitrievich,  Maria Glavachevich,  Drago Startz,  Ivan Murgashki  ... 
    Conductor:  Oskar Danon,  Kreshimir Baranovich,  Wassili Nebolski
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Belgrade National Opera Orchestra,  Yugoslav Army Chorus,  USSR State Academic Grand Theatre Chorus  ... 
    CD: $58.99
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  • 5.
    Massenet: La Navarraise / Alagna, Kurzak, Veronesi, Opera Orchestra of New York
    Label: Warner Classics   Catalog: 574293 Release Date: 10/19/2018   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Jules Massenet
    Performer:  Roberto Alagna,  George Andguladze,  Aleksandra Kurzak,  Brian Kontes  ... 
    Conductor:  Alberto Veronesi
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Opera Orchestra of New York,  New York Choral Ensemble
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  • 6.
    Massenet: Cendrillon / Bollon, Strebel, Czarny, Freiburg Philharmonic
    Label: Naxos   Catalog: 2110563 Release Date: 08/10/2018   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Jules Massenet
    Performer:  Pascal Hufschmid,  Roberto Gionfriddo,  Juan Orozco,  Kim-Lillian Strebel  ... 
    Conductor:  Fabrice Bollon
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Freiburg Philharmonic Orchestra
    DVD: $22.49
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  • 7.
    Massenet: Cendrillon / Bollon, Strebel, Czarny, Freiburg Philharmonic [Blu-ray]
    Label: Naxos   Catalog: 79 Release Date: 08/10/2018   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Jules Massenet
    Performer:  Naoshi Sekiguchi,  Katharina Melnikova,  Jongsoo Yang,  Irina Jae Eun Park  ... 
    Conductor:  Fabrice Bollon
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Freiburg Philharmonic Orchestra
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  • 8.
    Massenet: La Navarraise / Almeida, Popp, Vanzo, London Symphony
    Label: Sony   Catalog: 19075811262 Release Date: 03/02/2018   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Jules Massenet
    Performer:  Gérard Souzay,  Lucia Popp,  Michel Sénéchal,  Vicente Sardinero  ... 
    Conductor:  Antonio de Almeida
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Ambrosian Opera Chorus,  London Symphony Orchestra
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  • 9.
    Massenet: Thais / Maazel, Sills, Milnes, New Philharmonia Orchestra
    Label: Warner Classics   Catalog: 560935 Release Date: 05/12/2017   Number of Discs: 2
    Composer:  Jules Massenet
    Performer:  Sherrill Milnes,  Patricia Kern,  Ann Murray,  Nicolai Gedda  ... 
    Conductor:  Lorin Maazel
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  John Alldis Choir,  New Philharmonia Orchestra
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  • 10.
    Massenet: Thais / Rudel, Moffo, Carreras, Bacquier, Diaz, New Philharmonia
    Label: Rca   Catalog: 88985397882 Release Date: 02/17/2017   Number of Discs: 2
    Composer:  Jules Massenet
    Performer:  Gabriel Bacquier,  Anna Moffo,  José Carreras,  Justino Diaz
    Conductor:  Julius Rudel
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  New Philharmonia Orchestra,  Ambrosian Opera Chorus
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  • 11.
    Massenet: L'histoire de Manon / Yates, Paris National Opera Orchestra [Blu-ray]
    Label: Bel Air Classiques   Catalog: 435 Release Date: 10/28/2016   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Jules Massenet
    Conductor:  Martin Yates
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Paris National Opera Orchestra
    Blu-ray Video: $39.99
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  • 12.
    Massenet: L'histoire de Manon / Yates, Paris National Opera Orchestra [DVD]
    Label: Bel Air Classiques   Catalog: 135 Release Date: 10/28/2016   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Jules Massenet
    Conductor:  Martin Yates
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Paris National Opera Orchestra
    DVD: $29.99
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  • 13.
    Massenet: Manon / Massis, Davin, Opera Royal de Wallonie Orchestra
    Label: Dynamic   Catalog: 37751 Release Date: 09/30/2016   Number of Discs: 2
    Composer:  Jules Massenet
    Performer:  Sabine Conzen,  Alexise Yerna,  Sandra Pastrana,  Alessandro Liberatore  ... 
    Conductor:  Patrick Davin
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Wallonie Royal Opera Chorus,  Wallonie Royal Opera Orchestra
    DVD: $29.99
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  • 14.
    Massenet: Manon / Massis, Davin, Opera Royal de Wallonie Orchestra
    Label: Dynamic   Catalog: 7751 Release Date: 09/30/2016   Number of Discs: 2
    Composer:  Jules Massenet
    Performer:  Papuna Tchuradze,  Patrick Delcour,  Annick Massis,  Roger Joakim  ... 
    Conductor:  Patrick Davin
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Wallonie Royal Opera Orchestra,  Wallonie Royal Opera Chorus
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  • 15.
    Jonas Kaufmann - Carmen, Tosca, Faust, Werther
    Label: Decca   Catalog: 002359909 Release Date: 08/28/2015   Number of Discs: 6
    Composer:  Giacomo Puccini,  Charles Gounod,  Jules Massenet,  Georges Bizet
    Performer:  Thomas Hampson,  Jonas Kaufmann,  Emily Magee,  Marina Poplavskaya  ... 
    Conductor:  Paolo Carignani,  Yannick Nézet-Séguin,  Michel Plasson,  Franz Welser-Möst
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Zurich Opera House Orchestra,  Zurich Opera House Chorus,  Metropolitan Opera Chorus  ... 
    DVD: $49.99
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  • 16.
    Jonas Kaufmann: Carmen - Tosca - Faust - Werther
    Label: Decca   Catalog: 002360059 Release Date: 08/28/2015   Number of Discs: 4
    Composer:  Giacomo Puccini,  Charles Gounod,  Jules Massenet,  Georges Bizet
    Performer:  Thomas Hampson,  Jonas Kaufmann,  Emily Magee,  Marina Poplavskaya  ... 
    Conductor:  Paolo Carignani,  Yannick Nézet-Séguin,  Michel Plasson,  Franz Welser-Möst
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Zurich Opera House Orchestra,  Zurich Opera House Chorus,  Metropolitan Opera Chorus  ... 
    Blu-ray Video: $92.49
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  • 17.
    Massenet: Manon / Zeani, Kraus, Rapalo, Teatro di San Carlo Napoli, 1964
    Label: Hardy Classics   Catalog: 6018 Release Date: 11/25/2014   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Jules Massenet
    Performer:  Vittorio Pandano,  Franco Bordoni,  Franco Ventriglia,  Virginia Zeani  ... 
    Conductor:  Ugo Rapalo
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Orchestra del Teatro di San Carlo di Napoli,  Coro del Teatro di San Carlo di Napoli
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  • 18.
    Massenet: Werther / Plasson, Kaufmann, Koch, Tezier, Paris Opera [blu-ray]
    Label: Decca   Catalog: 002014859 Release Date: 02/25/2014   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Jules Massenet
    Performer:  Sophie Koch,  Ludovic Tézier,  Jonas Kaufmann,  Anne-Catherine Gillet
    Conductor:  Michel Plasson
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Paris Opera Children's Chorus,  Paris National Opera Orchestra
    Blu-ray Video: $46.49
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  • 19.
    Massenet: Therese / Altinoglu, Gubisch, Castronovo, Dupuis, Lis (CD & Book)
    Label: Ediciones Singulares   Catalog: 1011 Release Date: 06/25/2013   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Jules Massenet
    Performer:  Nora Gubisch,  Charles Castronovo,  Etienne Dupuis,  François Lis
    Conductor:  Alain Altinoglu
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Montpellier Opera Orchestra,  Montpellier Opera Chorus
    CD: $34.99
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  • 20.
    Massenet: Don Quichotte /  Sarambelieva,  Anastasov,   Anastasov, Rosa, Sofia National Opera
    Label: Dynamic   Catalog: 33733 Release Date: 04/30/2013   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Jules Massenet
    Performer:  Krasimir Dinev,  Rositsa Pavlova-indzheva,  Tsveta Sarambelieva,  Silvia Teneva  ... 
    Conductor:  Francesco Rosa
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Sofia National Opera Chorus,  Sofia National Opera Orchestra
    DVD: $27.49
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  • 21.
    Renee Fleming - Live at the Opera National de Paris
    Label: Arthaus Musik   Catalog: 107529 Release Date: 04/30/2013   Number of Discs: 6
    Composer:  Jules Massenet,  Antonín Dvorák,  Richard Strauss
    Performer:  Alain Vernhes,  Michel Sénéchal,  Renée Fleming,  Marcelo Alvarez  ... 
    Conductor:  Jesús Lopez-Cobos,  James Conlon,  Ulf Schirmer
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Paris National Opera Chorus,  Paris National Opera Orchestra
    DVD: $58.99
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  • 22.
    Massenet: Werther / Pappano, Alagna, Gheorghiu
    Label: Warner Classics   Catalog: 359542 Release Date: 03/26/2013   Number of Discs: 2
    Composer:  Jules Massenet
    Performer:  Angela Gheorghiu,  Thomas Hampson,  Patricia Petibon,  Jean-Paul Fouchécourt  ... 
    Conductor:  Antonio Pappano
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  London Symphony Orchestra,  Tiffin Children's Choir
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  • 23.
    Massenet: Thais / Viotti, Mei, Pertusi, Joyner, Fel
    Label: Dynamic   Catalog: 739 Release Date: 01/29/2013   Number of Discs: 2
    Composer:  Jules Massenet
    Performer:  William Joyner,  Eva Mei,  Michele Pertusi,  Christophe Fel  ... 
    Conductor:  Marcello Viotti
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Venice Teatro la Fenice Orchestra,  Venice Teatro la Fenice Chorus
    CD: $22.49
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  • 24.
    Andrea Bocelli - The Complete Opera Edition [18 CD-Set]
    Label: Decca   Catalog: 001769302 Release Date: 11/19/2012   Number of Discs: 18
    Composer:  Giacomo Puccini,  Georges Bizet,  Umberto Giordano,  Ruggero Leoncavallo  ... 
    Performer:  Paolo Gavanelli,  Barbara Frittoli,  Andrea Bocelli,  Mario Luperi  ... 
    Conductor:  Zubin Mehta,  Myung-Whun Chung,  Marco Armiliato,  Steven Mercurio  ... 
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Israel Philharmonic Orchestra,  Florence Maggio Musicale Orchestra,  Florence Maggio Musicale Chorus  ... 
    CD: $222.99
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  • 25.
    Massenet Edition [23-CD Set]
    Label: Decca   Catalog: 001693202 Release Date: 07/03/2012   Number of Discs: 23
    Composer:  Jules Massenet
    Performer:  Régine Crespin,  Gabriel Bacquier,  Michèle Command,  Nicolai Ghiaurov  ... 
    Conductor:  Kazimierz Kord,  Richard Bonynge,  Julius Rudel,  Enrique Diemecke  ... 
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Suisse Romande Radio Chorus,  Suisse Romande Orchestra,  National Philharmonic Orchestra  ... 
    CD: $106.49
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