Jules Massenet

Jules Émile Frédéric Massenet ( born May 12, 1842 in Montaud in Saint-Étienne, † August 13, 1912 in Paris) was a French operatic composer of the late 19th century.


He was the youngest of eleven children of a military family. From his mother he got his first music lessons. Already the age of eleven (1853 ) he received at the Conservatoire de Paris, the first training from Ambroise Thomas and Charles Gounod and finished his studies there in 1863, when he won the Prix de Rome. During this time he also met Franz Liszt and his future wife, Louise - Constance de Gressy ( called Ninon ), which Liszt had taught him as a piano student. Massenet spent three years in the Villa Medici, after which he returned to his homeland. There, he managed to regain his orchestral works and operas first notoriety. He soon became one of the most influential musical dramatists of France. His works particularly impressed by nuanced melody and harmony.

The strict rules of the Paris Opéra Comique required between the musical numbers spoken dialogue. Massenet found the solution to let the texts speak for orchestral accompaniment. This was maintained the musical line. This particular embeddedness of action was conspicuous in the opera Manon.

In 1871 he was co-founder of the Société Nationale de Musique, and in 1878 he became a member of the Académie des Beaux -Arts. From 1878 to 1893 he was professor of composition at the Conservatoire and also taught George Enescu and Gustave Charpentier. The management of the Conservatoire after the death of Ambroise Thomas he struck out. He wanted to deal only with the composition. Three of his works did not learn until after his death in 1912, a world premiere. Special recognition Massenet reached by the violin solo meditation, which is part of the slightly oriental embossed opera Thaïs. This solo is also a popular addition to concerts and is often a component of classical editions on specific topics. During the past two decades, began a discreet renaissance of the late French Romanticism, which meant that Massenet's operas are regularly find in the repertoires of international houses.


  • La grand'tante. Comic opera in one act, 1867, Paris
  • Don Cézar de Bazan. Comic opera in four acts, 1872, Paris
  • Marie- Magdeleine. 1873 Paris / Nice scenic 1903
  • Le roi de Lahore. Opera in five acts, 1877, Paris
  • Hérodiade. Opera in four acts, 1881, Brussels
  • Manon. Opera in five acts, 1884, Paris
  • Le Cid. Opera in four acts, 1885, Paris
  • Esclarmonde. Romantic opera in four acts, 1889, Paris
  • Le mage. Opera in five acts, 1891, Paris
  • Werther. Lyrical drama in four acts, 1892, Vienna
  • Thaïs. Lyrical comedy in three acts, 1894, Paris, it also meditation
  • Le portrait de Manon. Opera in one act, 1894, Paris
  • La Navarraise. Lyrical episode in two acts, 1894, London
  • Sapho. Pièce lyrique, 1897, Paris
  • Cendrillon. Märchenpoem in four acts, 1899, Paris
  • Grisélidis. Lyric fairy-tale in a prologue and three acts, 1901, Paris
  • Le jongleur de Notre -Dame. Opera in three acts, 1902, Monte Carlo
  • Chérubin. Lyric Opera in three acts, 1905, Monte Carlo
  • Ariane. Opera in five acts, 1906, Paris
  • Thérèse. Musical drama in two acts, 1907, Monte Carlo
  • Bacchus. Opera in four acts, 1909, Paris
  • Don Quixote. Heroic Comedy in Five Acts, 1910, Monte Carlo
  • Roma. Tragic opera in five acts, 1912, Monte Carlo
  • Panurge. Musical farce in three acts, 1913, Paris
  • Cléopâtre. Opera in four acts, 1914, Monte Carlo
  • Amadis. Opera in four acts, 1922, Monte Carlo
  • L' Organiste, recueil de 20 pièces faciles pour harmonium. 1911