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Arizona Opera Cast Members & Creatives

Jules Barbier

Jules Barbier, one of the most important librettists of the 19th century, began his career with the production of his intermède, L'Ombre de Molière, at the Comédie-Française (1847). In the years that followed, Barbier worked with Labiche, Decourcelle and Battu but, between 1849 and 1872, his main collaborator was Michel Carré, with whom he produced plays, comedies, vaudevilles, and opera librettos. The prolific Barbier-Carré duo was responsible for many of the most famous works on the French opera stage. For Gounod, they wrote the librettos for the Médecin malgré lui (1858), Faust (1859), Philémon et Baucis (1860), La Reine de Saba (1862), and Roméo and Juliette (1867); for Meyerbeer, Le Pardon de Ploërmel (1859); and for Ambroise Thomas, Psyché (1857), Mignon (1866), Hamlet (1868), and Françoise de Rimini (1882).

After Carré’s death, Barbier worked with Léo Delibes (the ballet Sylvia, 1876) and with Offenbach (The Tales of Hoffmann, 1881). Barbier translated lieder by Schumann and wrote several librettos in collaboration with his son Pierre, including Daphnis et Chloé for Henri Maréchal (1899) and Le Tasse for Eugène d’Harcourt (1903). Barbier’s librettos adapted various world-famous literary masterpieces (Corneille, Shakespeare, Goethe) for the opera stage. Although these models were, by necessity, simplified, they were not changed beyond recognition and lived up to the expectations of composers and audiences alike in the French Second Empire and the early years of the Third Republic. After the fire at the second Salle Favart, Barbier was appointed acting director of the Opéra-Comique (May-December 1887).

From Bru Zane Mediabase


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