Massenet played a significant role in the history of the French musical theater. Since the last third of the XIX century, after the death of Bizet, he took the leading position among French opera composers. Lyrically, mainly, Massne gravitating to an intimate, chamber interpretation of stories, focusing on the development of poetic feminine images. He achieved great identity in the development of an ario-recitative vocal style introduced into French music by Gounod.
Jules Massenet was born on May 12, 1842 in the city of Monto (France) in the family of a military engineer. Already in his childhood the future composer discovered an outstanding musical talent. In 1851 Massenet was a pupil of the Paris Conservatoire in piano class, and then in composition class. In 1863 he was sent to Italy for improvement. Returning to Paris three years later, Massenet devoted himself mainly to opera. At the age of thirty-six he received the honorary title of academician and was soon invited by a professor to the Paris Conservatory, where he brought up a number of prominent French composers.
Massenet wrote over twenty operas, three ballets, symphonic suites, many romances. His best works are “Manon” (1884) and “Werther” (1886). Among his other operas stand out “The King of Lagorus” (1877), “Safo” (1897), “Don Quixote” (1910).
Massenet died on August 13, 1912 in Paris.