Destouches, André-Cardinal

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Destouches, André-Cardinal

Destouches, André-Cardinal, French composer; b. Paris (baptized), April 6, 1672; d. there, Feb. 7, 1749. After attending a Jesuit school in Paris, he went as a boy to Siam with his teacher, the missionary Gui Tachard (1686). He returned to France in 1688. He served in the Royal Musketeers (1692–94), and later took lessons from Andre Campra, contributing 3 airs to Campra’s opéra-ballet L’Europe galante (1697). After this initiation, Destouches produced his first independent work, Isse, a “heroic pastorale” in 3 acts (Fontainebleau, Oct. 7, 1697); its popularity was parodied in several productions of a similar pastoral nature (Les Amours de Vincennes by P.P. Dominique, 1719; Les Oracles by J.A. Romagnesi, 1741). Among his other opéras, the following were produced in Paris: Amadis de Grece (March 22, 1699), Omphale (Nov. 10, 1701), and Callirhoe (Dec. 27, 1712). With Delalande, he wrote the ballet Les Elements, which was produced at the Tuileries Palace in Paris on Dec. 22,1721. In 1713 Louis XIV appointed him inspector general of the Academic Royale de Musique. In 1728 he became its director, retiring in 1730. A revival of Omphale in 1752 evoked Baron Grimm’s famous Lettre sur Omphale, inaugurating the so-called “Guerre des Bouffons” between the proponents of the French school, as exemplified by Destouches, and Italian opéra buffa.


K. Dulle, A. C. D. (Leipzig, 1908).

—Nicolas Slonimsky/Laura Kuhn/Dennis McIntire

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