Méhul, Étienne-Nicolas

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Méhul, Étienne-Nicolas (b Givet, nr. Mezières, 1763; d Paris, 1817). Fr. composer. Organist at convent at age 10. Taken to Paris 1778 by rich amateur who recognized his talent, studying under Edelmann. Befriended by Gluck who advised him to compose for the stage. His Euphrosine et Coradin (1790) won him fame and imparted new dramatic force to opéra-comique. 30 other stage-works followed in next 17 years, most famous being Joseph (1807) in which his strong dramatic sense and lyrical vein are found at their best. Taught at Paris Cons. 1793–1815. Fortunes declined after fall of his patron Napoleon. Also wrote ballets, cantatas, songs, a Mass, and syms. His operas incl.: Euphrosine et Coradin (1790), Stratonice (1792), Le Jeune Sage et le vieux fou (1793), Le Jeune Henri (1797), Ariodant (1799), Les Deux Aveugles de Tolède (1806), Uthal (1806), Joseph (1807), Le Prince troubadour (1813), L'Oriflamme (1814).