Halévy (real name, Levy), (Jacques-François-) Fromental (-Elie)

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Halévy (real name, Levy), (Jacques-François-) Fromental (-Elie)

Halévy (real name, Levy), (Jacques-François-) Fromental (-Elie), celebrated French composer; b. Paris, May 27, 1799; d. Nice, March 17, 1862. The family changed its name to Halévy in 1807. He entered the Paris Cons, at age 9 as a student of Cazot, then studied with Lambert (piano), Berton (harmony), and Cherubini (counterpoint); he also studied with Méhul, winning the 2nd Prix de Rome in 1816 and 1817 and the Grand Prix de Rome in 1819 with his cantata Herminie. He became chef du chant at the Théâtre- Italien in 1826. His first stage work to be performed was the opéra- comique L’Artisan (Opéra-Comique, Jan. 30, 1827), which had a modicum of success. He gained further notice with his Clari, introduced to Paris by Malibran (Théâtre-Italien, Dec. 9, 1828). His first major success came with Le Dilettante d’Avignon (Opéra- Comique, Nov. 7, 1829). He then was chef du chant at the Paris Opéra (1829–45), where he scored his greatest triumph with La Juive (Feb. 23, 1835), which established his name and was performed throughout Europe and the U.S. His next opera, L’Éclair (Opéra-Comique, Dec. 16, 1835), also enjoyed a favorable reception. Among later operas of note were La Reine de Chypre (Dec. 22, 1841), Charles VI (March 15, 1843), and La Magicienne (March 17, 1858), all first performed at the Opéra. He was also active as a teacher at the Paris Cons., being made a prof, of harmony and accompaniment (1827), of counterpoint and fugue (1833), and of composition (1840). His students included Gounod, Bizet (who became his son- in-law), and Saint-Saëns. He was elected to membership in the Institut in 1836, and served as its secretary from 1854. Halévy was an extremely apt composer for the stage, winning the admiration of both Berlioz and Wagner. Yet he could never equal Meyerbeer in popular success; as time went by, only La Juive gained a permanent place in the world repertoire.


Leçons de lecture musicalepour les écoles de la ville de Paris(Paris, 1857); Souvenirs et portraits(Paris, 1861); Derniers souvenirs et portraits(Paris, 1863).


dramatic: Opera: (all 1st perf. in Paris unless otherwise given): L’Artisan, opéra- comique (Jan. 30, 1827); Le Roi et le batelier, opéra-comique (Nov. 8, 1827; in collaboration with L. Rifaut); Clari, opera semi-seria (Théâtre-Italien, Dec. 9, 1828); Le Dilettante d’Avignon, opéra-comique (Nov. 7, 1829); Attendre et courir, opéra-comique (May 28, 1830; in collaboration with H. de Ruolz); La Langue musicale, opéra-comique (Dec. 11, 1830); La Tentation, ballet-opera (Opéra, June 20, 1832; in collaboration with C. Gide); Les Souvenirs de Lafleur, opéra-comique (March 4, 1833); Ludovic, opéra-comique (May 16, 1833; completion of an opera by Herold); La Juive (Feb. 23, 1835); L’Éclair, opéra-comique (Dec. 16, 1835); Guido et Ginevra, ou La Peste de Florence (March 5, 1838); Les Treize, opéra-comique (April 15, 1839); Le Shérif, opéra-comique (Sept. 2, 1839); Le Drapier (Jan. 6, 1840); Le Guitarrero, opéra-comique (Jan. 21, 1841); La Reine de Chypre (Dec. 22, 1841); Charles VI (March 15, 1843); Le Lazzarone, ou Le Bien vient en dormant (March 23, 1844); Les Mousquetaires de la reine, opéra-comique (Feb. 3, 1846); Les Premiers Pas, prologue (Opéra-National, Nov. 15, 1847; in collaboration with Adam, Auber, and Carafa); Le Val d’Andorre, opéra-comique (Nov. 11, 1848); La Fée aux roses, opéra-comique (Oct. 1, 1849); La Tempesta, opera italien (Her Majesty’s Theatre, London, June 8, 1850); La Dame de pique, opéra-comique (Dec. 28, 1850); Le Juif errant (Opéra, April 23, 1852); Le Nabab, opéra-comique (Sept. 1, 1853); Jaguarita l’indienne, opéra-comique (Théâtre-Lyrique, May 14, 1855); L’Inconsolable, opéra-comique (Théâtre- Lyrique, June 13, 1855; perf. under the nom de plume Alberti); Valentine d’Aubigny, opéra-comique (April 26, 1856); La Magicienne (March 17, 1858); Noè (unfinished; completed by Bizet and perf. as Le Déluge, Karlsruhe, April 5, 1885); Vanina d’Ornano (unfinished). Ballet: Manon Lescaut (Opéra, May 3, 1830). OTHER: Les Derniers Moments du Tasse, cantata (won 2nd Prix de Rome, 1816); La Mort, cantata (won 2nd Prix de Rome, 1817); Herminie, cantata (won Grand Prix de Rome, 1819); Marche funèbre et De profundis for 3 Voices and Orch. (1820); Ouverture for Orch. (1822); Les Cendres de Napoléon for Military Band (1840); Les Plages du Nil for Voice and Piano (1846); Prométhée enchaîné for Solo Voices, Chorus, and Orch. (1849); Ave verum for Solo Voices, Chorus, and Orch. (1850); Messe de l’Orphéon for 4 Men’s Voices, Sopranos, and Organ ad libitum (1851; Agnus Dei and Sanctus by Halévy; remainder by Adam and Clapisson); Cantata (1856); Italie, cantata (1859); La Nouvelle Alliance for 4 Men’s Voices (1860); France et Italie for 4 Men’s Voices (1860); Come dolce a me favelli, cavatina for Voice and Orch.; other vocal works; piano pieces.


C. de Lorbac, Fromenthal H.: Sa vie, ses oeuvres (Paris, 1862); L. Halévy, F. H.: Sa vie et ses oeuvres (Paris, 1862; 2nd ed., 1863); A. Catelin, F. H.: Notice biographique (Paris, 1863); E. Monnais, F. H: Souvenirs d’un ami (Paris, 1863); A. Pougin, F. H.: Écrivain (Paris, 1865); R. Jordan, F H.: His Life and Music, 1799-1862 (London, 1994).

—Nicolas Slonimsky/Laura Kuhn/Dennis McIntire

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Halévy (real name, Levy), (Jacques-François-) Fromental (-Elie)

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