Home: Overview: Biographies: Jacques Fromental Halevy

Halevy was one of the most successful French Opera composers in the 19th century.

His competitors were Giacomo Meyerbeer, a German composer and Daniel François Auber, a Frenchman, who was known for his lighter works. Many of the other opera composers such as Ambroise Thomas, Charles Gounod, Hector Berlioz were the next generation whose operas did not really become successful until after Halevy past away

At age 10, Halevy attended the Paris Conservatoire. He even became a protégé of Cherubini. At age nineteen, he entered the Prix de Rome and won. In Rome, he performed L'artisan, at the Opera Comique. Like many other composers, this opera was not received well by the art critics. He later became the chef de chant at the Theatre

Italien from 1826 to 1829, later in 1829 through 1845 he was the chef de chant at the Opera House. Halevy did not become truly successful until he composed Herold's Ludovic in 1833.

In 1835, Halevy composed La juive was turned out to be an international triumph

La juive was a grand opera, that included formal ballet, major choruses, a large procession in Act I and a comprehensive procession of celebrations in Act III.

In 1836, Halevy wrote L'éclair, a piece that was completely opposite from La juive. There were no crowd's scenes, chorus or ensembles or large confrontations between characters. The opera became a very successful in Paris, even though it did not include a chorus. L'éclair was translated into German, Austrian, and it was heard in Belgium, New Orleans, New York, Montreal and Philadelphia.

In early the 1840's, Halevy completed Charles VI. It performed 61 times at the Opera for six seasons.

In Halevy's later years, his important grand opera was Le Juif errant. It was performed 49 times for two seasons. His last major work was the opera comique Jaguerita l'Indienne, which performed 124 for four seasons. The opera toured as far as New Orleans.

In his final years, Halevy retired to Nice for health reasons. He died in Nice on March 17, 1862.

Selected compositions:

  • L’artisan, performed at Opera Comique - 1827
  • Le roi at le batelier, performed at Opera Comique, 1827
  • Chari, performed by Theatre Italien, 1828
  • Le dilletante d'Avignon, performed at Opera Comique, 1829
  • Manon Lescaut, ballet in three acts, 1830
  • Attendre et courir, performed at Opera Comique, 1830
  • La langue musicale, performed at Opera Comique, 1831
  • La tentation, venue - Opera, 1832
  • Les souvenir de Lafeur, venue - Opera Comique, 1833
  • Ludovic, performed at Opera Comique, 1833
  • La Juive, venue - Opera, 1835
  • Guido et Genevre, ou La peste de Florence, venue - Opera, 1838
  • Les treize, venue - Opera Comique, 1839
  • Le sherif, venue - Opera, 1839
  • Le drapier, venue - Opera Comique, 1840
  • Le guitarrero, venue - Opera Comique, 1841
  • La reine de Chypre, venue - Opera, 1841
  • Charles VI, venue - Opera, 1843
  • Le lazzarone, ou Le Bien vient en dormant, venue - Opera, 1844
  • Les mousequetaires de la reine, venue - Opera Comique, 1846
  • Le val d'Andorre, venue - Opera Comique, 1848
  • La Fee aux roses, venue - Opera Comique, 1849
  • La tempesta, venue - London, 1850
  • La dame de pique, venue - Opera Comique, 1850
  • Le juif errant, venue - Opera, 1852
  • Le nabab, venue - Opera Comique, 1853
  • Jaguarita l'indienne, venue Theatre Lyrique, 1855
  • L'inconsolable, venue - Opera Comique, 1856
  • La Magicienne, venue - Opera, 1858
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