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‘Fair Helen’ Composed: 1864 Premiered: 1864, Paris Libretto by Henri Meilhac and Ludovic Halévy Act I Since Pâris awarded Vénus the golden apple, her cult has become more popular than Jupiter’s. Hélène, wife of King Ménélas of Sparta, is waiting for Pâris to come and claim her. Disguised as a shepherd, Pâris enlists the help of ...

Source: Definitive Opera Encyclopedia, founding editor Stanley Sadie

‘The Tales of Hoffmann’ Premiered: 1881, Paris Libretto by Jules Barbier after the play by Barbier and Michel Carré Act I Hoffmann has neglected poetry in his search for love. His muse is transformed into a companion named Nicklausse in order to protect him. Hoffmann’s latest love, Stella, an opera singer, is also admired by Counsellor Lindorf. ...

Source: Definitive Opera Encyclopedia, founding editor Stanley Sadie

‘Orpheus in the Underworld’ Composed: 1858; rev. 1874 Premiered: 1874, Paris Libretto by Crémieux and Halévy Act I Eurydice cannot abide her violin virtuoso husband Orphée. She would rather die than be bored to death. Jealous that she is seeing too much of the beekeeper Aristée, he tells her about the snakes in Aristée’s cornfield. She goes to warn ...

Source: Definitive Opera Encyclopedia, founding editor Stanley Sadie

(Tenor saxophone, b. 1919) Harold Singer was born in Tulsa, Oklahoma. He worked with territory bands in the late 1930s and went to New York with Roy Eldridge in 1944. Singer worked around New York, playing on sessions for King and Savoy, during 1946–59. His own recording career began in 1948 and he had a number-one hit ...

Source: The Definitive Illustrated Encyclopedia of Jazz & Blues, founding editor Howard Mandel

(Zhak Är’-ka-delt) c. 1505–68 French composer Although probably of French birth, Arcadelt spent much of his adulthood in the great Italian cities of Florence, Rome and Venice. He is best known for madrigals (although he composed Masses, motets and chansons as well), including some of the genre’s most precious gems. They are almost all easy to sing, but ...

Source: Classical Music Encyclopedia, founding editor Stanley Sadie

(Zhak Shamp-yôn’ Syör da Shan-bun-yâr) c. 1601–72 French composer Chambonnières is generally considered the founder of the French harpsichord school. He developed a style in harpsichord writing adapted from the lute idiom of style brisé, characterized by broken, arpeggiated chordal textures. In 1641, he began a twice-weekly series of concerts, later inheriting his father’s position as gentilhomme ordinaire of ...

Source: Classical Music Encyclopedia, founding editor Stanley Sadie

(Zhak E-bâr’) 1890–1962 French composer Ibert won the coveted Prix de Rome, and shocked those who awarded it with the non-academic levity of the pieces he wrote in Rome. His best-known work is the uproarious Divertissement (1930), but it has distracted attention from an accomplished opera (L’Aiglon, ‘The Young Eagle’, 1937, written in collaboration with Honegger), some fine ...

Source: Classical Music Encyclopedia, founding editor Stanley Sadie

1819–80, French Jacques Offenbach had an acute sense of theatre and an incisive understanding of how to cater for French tastes. He was 14 when his father sent him to Paris, where Jews were freer than they were in Germany. Offenbach became a cellist, performing in fashionable salons, and finally, in 1855, became famous. He ...

Source: Definitive Opera Encyclopedia, founding editor Stanley Sadie

(Zhak Of’-fen-bakh) 1819–80 French composer Offenbach’s tuneful, witty and often outrageous satires on Greek mythology and the Second Empire enthralled the French public, including the Emperor Louis-Napoleon. After only one year at the Paris Conservatoire, he joined the Opéra-Comique orchestra, studying with Halévy, and toured as a virtuoso cellist. After conducting at the Théâtre Français, he ...

Source: Classical Music Encyclopedia, founding editor Stanley Sadie

1880–1953 French violinist Thibaud studied at the Paris Conservatoire and began his European career with the Concerts Colonne. He is best known for his membership of the Cortot-Thibaud-Casals trio, but was also a distinguished interpreter of the sonata and concerto repertory. Introduction | Modern Era | Classical Personalities | Leif Ove Andsnes | Contemporary | Classical ...

Source: Classical Music Encyclopedia, founding editor Stanley Sadie

1712–78, Swiss Best known as the Swiss political philosopher with a crucial influence on Romanticism and the French Revolution, Jean-Jacques Rousseau was also a composer, author and musicologist. In his most famous work, Le devin du village (‘The Village Soothsayer’, 1752), Rousseau’s small talent confined him to simple melodies with simple accompaniments. What was really important was ...

Source: Definitive Opera Encyclopedia, founding editor Stanley Sadie

The very name, ‘Classical Era’, speaks for itself: it proclaims a period that is regarded as ‘Standard, first-class, of allowed excellence’, with manifestations that are ‘simple, harmonious, proportioned, finished’, to quote a dictionary definition. The period from 1750 to roughly 1820 is widely recognized as one of exceptional achievement in music – it is the ...

Source: Classical Music Encyclopedia, founding editor Stanley Sadie

The Enlightenment was a natural, if late, consequence of the sixteenth-century Renaissance and Reformation. Also known as the Age of Reason, the Enlightenment advanced to be recognized in the late seventeenth and early eighteenth centuries and brought with it new, controversial beliefs that upended the absolutisms on which European society had long been based. Absolute monarchy, ...

Source: Definitive Opera Encyclopedia, founding editor Stanley Sadie

The word ‘Baroque’ is derived from the Portuguese barrocco, a term for a misshapen pearl, and it was still with this sense of something twisted that it was first applied – to the period between about 1600 and 1750 – in the nineteenth century. In 1768, Jean-Jacques Rousseau wrote: ‘a Baroque music is that in which the harmony ...

Source: Classical Music Encyclopedia, founding editor Stanley Sadie

The first half of the nineteenth century was essentially a period of insurgence in Europe, from the French Revolution in 1789 to the series of uprisings that rocked the continent around 1848. Meanwhile, the Industrial Revolution was also underway, beginning in Britain, then spreading south through the rest of Europe. With these two strands of revolution came ...

Source: Classical Music Encyclopedia, founding editor Stanley Sadie
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