Méhul, Étienne Nicolas

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Étienne Nicolas Méhul (ātyĕn´ nēkôlä´ māül´), 1763–1817, French operatic composer of outstanding importance during the Revolutionary period. Méhul's masterpiece was the biblical opera Joseph (1807). His Euphrosine et Coradin (1790) and Stratonice (1792) were the first operas to be called opéras comiques—signifying at that time not that they contained humorous elements but that they employed spoken dialogue. He was highly original in his orchestration and harmony.