Personalities | André Campra | Early & Middle Baroque | Opera
Born in Aix-en-Provence, Campra became a church musician in Arles and Toulouse, and composed sacred music that was much admired. In 1694, Campra moved to Paris to become master of music at the cathedral of Nôtre Dame. Three years later, he produced his opéra-ballet, L’Europe galante (1697). With this work, Campra was straying into secular territory and became worried that his church position might be jeopardized. This was why L’Europe galante was published anonymously and why Campra borrowed his brother’s name for his other early compositions of the same type. Fortunately he did not have to maintain this subterfuge for too long. He left Nôtre Dame in 1700 and embarked on a prolific career as a composer of opera. Campra’s sizable output included some 40 dramatic works, from short divertissements to full-length operas. Jean-Baptiste Lully, the ‘father’ of French opera, exerted a strong influence over Campra’s output, which won him great popularity and acclaim. Among his many honours and awards was an appointment, in 1722, as Sons Maître de Musique de la Chappelle Royale (Deputy Music Master of the Chapel Royal).
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