Hervé (real name, Florimond Ronger)

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Hervé (real name, Florimond Ronger)

Hervé (real name, Florimond Ronger), French organist, singer, and composer; b. Houdain, near Arras, June 30, 1825; d. Paris, Nov. 3, 1892. He was a chorister at St.-Roch, where he received instruction in singing, organ, and harmony. After studying harmony with Elwart at the Paris Cons., he had lessons in composition with Auber. He served as organist at the Bicêtre asylum (1839–45) and at St. Eustache (1845–53). In 1848 he sang in Don Quichotte et Sancho Pansa, an interlude of his own composition, at the Opéra National. In 1851 he conducted at the Palais Royal; in 1854 he opened the Folies-Concertantes, a small theater for the production of pantomimes, saynètes (musical comediettas for 2 persons), etc., and, with phenomenal activity, he developed the light French operetta from these diminutive and frivolous pieces, writing both librettos and music, conducting the orch., and often appearing as an actor on the stage. From 1856 to 1869 he led this feverish life in Paris, producing his works at various theaters, and responding to failures by doubling his efforts. In 1870-71, when the Franco-Prussian War and the Commune stopped theatrical activities in Paris, he went to London, where he produced several of his light operas; he revisited London many times afterward; was music director of the Empire Theater there from 1886. He wrote about 50 operettas, of which the most celebrated Parisian scores were L’Oeil crevé (Oct. 12, 1867), Chilpéric (Oct. 24, 1868), Le Petit Faust (April 28, 1869), La Femme à papa (Dec. 3, 1879), Lili (Jan. 10, 1882), and Mam’zelle Nitouche (Jan. 26, 1883). He also wrote a grand opera, Les Chevaliers de la table ronde (Paris, Nov. 17, 1866), the ballets Sport and La Rose d’Amour, and Les Bagatelles.


L. Schneider, Les Maîtres de l’operette française, H. et Charles Lecocq (Paris, 1924); R. Cariven and D. Ghesquiere, H., un musicien paradoxale (Paris, 1992); J. Rouchouse, H., ou l’Opérette, une histoire (Paris, 1992).

—Nicolas Slonimsky/Laura Kuhn/Dennis McIntire

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Hervé (real name, Florimond Ronger)

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