Definitions

Massenet

Massenet

[mas-uh-ney; Fr. masuh-ne]
Massenet, Jules, 1842-1912, French composer. He studied at the Paris Conservatory, where he taught from 1878 to 1896. In addition to many songs, several oratorios, and a number of orchestral suites, he composed more than 20 operas. His most famous work is Manon (1884), which exemplifies his sensuous style and contains accompanied spoken dialogue instead of traditional recitative. His other operas are Werther (1892), Thaïs (1894), and Le Jongleur de Notre Dame (1902).

See his memoirs (tr. 1919, repr. 1970); study by J. Harding (1970).

Amadis is an opera in three acts with prologue by Jules Massenet to a French libretto by Jules Claretie based on the Spanish knight-errantry romance Amadis de Gaula, originally of Portuguese origin, by Garci Rodríguez de Montalvo.

It was first performed at the Opéra in Monte Carlo on April 1, 1922, nearly ten years after Massenet's death. Massenet had started to compose the piece in 1895 but shelved it and completed it clandestinely in the last years of his life. Amadis is one of three operas by Massenet to have premiered posthumously; the others are Panurge (1913) and Cléopâtre (1914).

The story takes place in ancient Brittany and concerns the brothers Amadis and Galaor, separated at birth. Amadis kills Galaor in the final scene in a duel over the princess Floriane. When Amadis discovers magic stones around Galaor's neck identical to those given to him and his long lost brother by their dying mother, he realizes it is his brother he has killed.

Amadis has gained no lasting popularity but was revived (and recorded under Koch Swann label) during Massenet Festival in Saint-Etienne, France in 1988.

References

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