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Adam, Adolphe (Charles)

Adam, Adolphe (Charles) (b Paris, 1803; d Paris, 1856). Fr. composer and critic. Wrote 70 operas, mostly opéras-comiques, of which best-known are Le Postillon de Longjumeau (1836) and Si j'étais roi (1852). Also wrote church mus., songs, and several ballets, incl. Giselle (1841). Prof. of comp., Paris Cons. from 1849.

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Adam, Adolphe Charles

Adolphe Charles Adam (ädōlf´ shärl´ ädäN´), 1803–56, French composer of the popular song Cantique de Noël. He composed more than 50 stage works, including comic operas such as Le Postillon de Longjumeau (1836) and the ballet Giselle (1841).

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Adam, Adolphe (Charles)

Adam, Adolphe (Charles)

Adam, Adolphe (Charles), noted French composer, son of Jean (Louis) Adam; b. Paris, July 24, 1803; d. there, May 3, 1856. He was encouraged by his friend Harold to pursue a career as a composer. After studying piano with Lemoine, he entered the Paris Cons. at 17 and received training from Benoist (organ), Reicha (counterpoint), and Boieldieu (composition). In 1825 he won a 2nd prize in the Prix de Rome with his cantata Ariane a Naxos. His first successful stage score was the opéra-comique Pierre et Catherine (Paris Opéra-Comique, Feb. 9, 1829). Adam achieved his first great success with his opéra- comique Le chalet (Opéra-Comique, Sept. 25, 1834). It was followed by the even more successful opéra-comique Le ’postillon de Lonjumeau (Opéra-Comique, Oct. 13, 1836). His most celebrated score, the ballet Giselle, ou Les Wilis (Paris Opéra, June 28, 1841), has remained a repertory staple for over 150 years. In 1844 he was made a member of the Institut de France. He founded the Opéra-National in Paris in 1847, which was forced to close as a result of the revolutionary events of 1848. Adam was left bankrupt and was forced to take up music journalism to eke out a living. In 1849 he obtained the post of prof. of composition at the Paris Cons., which he held until his death. The opéra-comique Si j’étais roi (Paris Théâtre-Lyrique, Sept. 4, 1852) proved one of his finest late works. His operetta Les pantins de Violette was premiered at the Paris Bouffes-Parisiens on April 29, 1856, just 4 days before his death. In addition to his Giselle, Adam is still fondly remembered for his Cantique de Noël, known in Eng. as O Holy Night.

Works

(all 1st perf. in Paris unless otherwise given): DRAMATIC: Opéra-comique: Pierre et Catherine (Feb. 9, 1829); Danilowa (April 23, 1830); Trois jours en une heure (Aug. 21, 1830; in collaboration with Romagnesi); Joséphine, ou Le retour de Wagram (Dec. 2, 1830); Le morceau d’ensemble (March 7, 1831); Le grand prix, ou Le voyage à frais communs (July 9, 1831); Le proscrit, ou Le tribunal invisible (Sept. 18, 1833); Une bonne fortune (Jan. 28, 1834); Le chalet (Sept. 25, 1834); La marquise (Feb. 28, 1835); Micheline, ou L’heure d’esprit (June 29, 1835); Le postillon de Lonjumeau (Oct. 13, 1836); Le fidèle berger (Jan. 6, 1838); Le brasseur de Preston (Oct. 31, 1838); Régine, ou Les deux nuits (Jan. 17, 1839); Le reine d’un jour (Sept. 19, 1839); La rose de Péronne (Dec. 12, 1840); La main de fer, ou Le mariage secret (Oct. 26, 1841); Le roi d’ Yvetot (Oct. 13, 1842); Lambert Simnel (Sept. 14, 1843; completion of a work by H. Monpou); Cagliostro (Feb. 10, 1844); Le toréador, ou l’accord parfait (May 18, 1849); Giralda, ou La nouvelle Psyché (July 20, 1850); La poupée de Nuremberg (Feb. 21, 1852); Le farfadet (March 19, 1852); Si j’étais roi (Sept. 4, 1852); Le sourd, ou L’auberge pleine (Feb. 2, 1853); Le roi des halles (April 11, 1853); Le bijou perdu (Oct. 6, 1853); Le muletier de Tolède (Dec. 16, 1854); Á Clichy (Dec. 24, 1854); Le houzard de Berchini (Oct. 17, 1855); Falstaff (Jan. 18, 1856); Mam’zelle Geneviève (March 24, 1856). Operetta: Les pantins de Violette (April 29, 1856). Opera: Richard en Palestine (Oct. 7, 1844); La bouquetière (May 31, 1847); Le Fanal (Dec. 24, 1849). Also various vaudevilles and other stage pieces. Ballet: La chatte blanche (July 26, 1830; in collaboration with C. Gide); Faust (London, Feb. 16, 1833); La fille du Danube (Sept. 21, 1836); Les mohicans (July 5, 1837); L’écumeur de mer (Feb. 21, 1840); Die Hamadryaden (Berlin, April 28, 1840); Giselle, ou Les Wilis (June 28, 1841); La jolie fille de Gand (June 22, 1842); Le diable à quatre (Aug. 11, 1843); The Marble Maiden (London, Sept. 27, 1845); Griselidis, ou Les cinq sens (Feb. 16, 1848); La filleule des fées (Oct. 8, 1840; in collaboration with C. de Saint- Julien); Orfa (Dec. 29, 1852); Le corsaire (Jan. 23, 1856). He also wrote sacred and secular choral works, numerous songs, romances, ballads, many piano pieces, etc.

Writings

Souvenirs d’un musicien...précédés de notes biographiques (Paris, 1857); Derniers souvenirs d’un musicien (Paris, 1859).

Bibliography

J. Halévy, Notice sur la vie et les ouvrages d’A. A. (Paris, 1859); A. Pougin, A. A. (Paris, 1877); W. Studwell, ed., A. A. and Léo Delibes: A Guide to Research (Westport, Conn., 1987).

—Nicolas Slonimsky/Laura Kuhn/Dennis McIntire

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