Personalities | Emmanuel Chabrier | Turn of the Century | Opera

1841–94, French

Chabrier’s father was determined that his son should enter the legal profession, even to the extent of moving the entire family to Paris in order that he could prepare for law school. In 1858, Chabrier entered law school and was soon employed in the Ministry of the Interior. His interest in music remained potent, however, and during the 1860s he began a number of projects, including two operettas to libretti by Paul Verlaine, all of which remained incomplete. Like many of his contemporaries, Chabrier was fascinated with Wagner and it was attending a performance of Tristan und Isolde that finally committed him to a path in music.

Chabrier had a gift for light, comic music and his biggest hit was Le roi malgré lui (1887). Despite an initial lack of public interest, the work’s sure touch and sympathetic characterization has ensured it continues to retain interest. Chabrier completed little else of great interest, though fragments of works show that he lost neither his wit nor his technical facility. He became rapidly disillusioned with what he regarded as a paucity of success which, coupled with financial insecurities, took its toll on his health and he died in 1894.

Introduction | Turn of the Century | Opera
Personalities | Fyodor Ivanovich Chaliapin | Turn of the Century | Opera
Techniques | Operetta | Turn of the Century | Opera


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