Dalayrac, Nicolas(-Marie) , French composer; b. Muret, Haute-Garonne, June 8, 1753; d. Paris, Nov. 26, 1809. (He signed his name d’Alayrac, but dropped the nobiliary particle after the Revolution.) His early schooling was in Toulouse. Returning to Muret in 1767, he studied law and played violin in a local band. He then entered the service of the Count d’Artois in his Guard of Honor, and at the same time took lessons in harmony with François Langlé at Versailles; he also received some help from Grétry. His first theater work was a 1-act comedy, L’Edipse totale (Paris, March 7, 1782). From then on, he devoted most of his energies to the theater. He wrote over 56 operas; during the Revolution, he com-posed patriotic songs for special occasions. He also enjoyed Napoleon’s favors later on. During his lifetime, and for some 3 decades after his death, many of his operas were popular not only in France but also in Germany, Italy, and Russia; then they gradually disappeared from the active repertoire, but there were several revivals. Dalayrac’s natural facility enabled him to write successfully in all operatic genres.
DRAMATIC Opera (most first perf. in Paris, most at the Opéra-Comique): Le Petit Souper, ou L’Abbé qui veut parvenir (1781); Le Chevalier à la mode (1781); Nina (May 15, 1786); Sargines (May 14,1788); Les Deux Petits Savoyards (Jan. 14, 1789); Raoul, Sire de Créqui (Oct. 31, 1789); La Soirée orageuse (May 29, 1790); Camille (March 19, 1791); Philippe et Georgette (Dec. 28, 1791); Ambroise (Jan. 12, 1793); Adèle et Dorsan (April 27, 1795); Marianne (July 7, 1796); La Maison isolée (May 11, 1797); Gulnare (Dec. 30, 1797); Alexis (Jan. 24, 1798); Adolphe et Clara (Feb. 10, 1799); Maison à vendre (Oct. 23, 1800); Léhéman (Dec. 12, 1801); L’Antichambre (Feb. 26, 1802); La Jeune Prude (Jan. 14, 1804); line Heure de manage (March 20, 1804); Gulistan (Sept. 30, 1805); Deux mots (June 9,1806); Koulouf(Dec. 18,1806); Le Poète et le musicien (Paris, May 30, 1811).
R. de Pixérécourt, Vie de D. (Paris, 1810); A. Fourgeaud, Les Violons de D. (Paris, 1856); F. Karro- Péleisson, ed., N. D.: Musicien murétain, homme des lumières (Muret, 1991).
—Nicolas Slonimsky/Laura Kuhn/Dennis McIntire