Pierre Gaveaux
Pierre Gaveaux was a French
The French Republic , The French Republic , The French Republic , (commonly known as France , is a unitary semi-presidential republic in Western Europe with several overseas territories and islands located on other continents and in the Indian, Pacific, and Atlantic oceans. Metropolitan France...

Opera is an art form in which singers and musicians perform a dramatic work combining text and musical score, usually in a theatrical setting. Opera incorporates many of the elements of spoken theatre, such as acting, scenery, and costumes and sometimes includes dance...

tic tenor
The tenor is a type of male singing voice and is the highest male voice within the modal register. The typical tenor voice lies between C3, the C one octave below middle C, to the A above middle C in choral music, and up to high C in solo work. The low extreme for tenors is roughly B2...

 and composer
A composer is a person who creates music, either by musical notation or oral tradition, for interpretation and performance, or through direct manipulation of sonic material through electronic media...

, notable for creating the role of Jason in Cherubini's Médée and for composing the first operatic version of the story that later found fame as Fidelio
Fidelio is a German opera in two acts by Ludwig van Beethoven. It is Beethoven's only opera. The German libretto is by Joseph Sonnleithner from the French of Jean-Nicolas Bouilly which had been used for the 1798 opera Léonore, ou L’amour conjugal by Pierre Gaveaux, and for the 1804 opera Leonora...


Early life

Gaveaux was born in Béziers
Béziers is a town in Languedoc in southern France. It is a sub-prefecture of the Hérault department. Béziers hosts the famous Feria de Béziers, centred around bullfighting, every August. A million visitors are attracted to the five-day event...

 and sang in the cathedral
Béziers Cathedral
Béziers Cathedral , is a Roman Catholic cathedral in Béziers, France.The structure dates from the thirteenth century and was erected on the site of an earlier building which was destroyed during the sack of Béziers in the Albigensian Crusade.The cathedral was formerly the seat of the Bishopric of...

A choir, chorale or chorus is a musical ensemble of singers. Choral music, in turn, is the music written specifically for such an ensemble to perform.A body of singers who perform together as a group is called a choir or chorus...

 there from the age of seven. Although intending to enter the priesthood, he also took lessons in composition. He next became first tenor at the Basilica of Saint-Seurin in Bordeaux
Bordeaux is a port city on the Garonne River in the Gironde department in southwestern France.The Bordeaux-Arcachon-Libourne metropolitan area, has a population of 1,010,000 and constitutes the sixth-largest urban area in France. It is the capital of the Aquitaine region, as well as the prefecture...

, studying with Franz Beck, and subsequently decided to follow a career in music, becoming a conductor at the Grand Théâtre de Bordeaux
Grand Théâtre de Bordeaux
Grand Théâtre de Bordeaux, is a Theatre in Bordeaux, France, first inaugurated on 17 April 1780. It was in this theatre that the ballet La Fille Mal Gardée premiered in 1789, and where a young Marius Petipa staged some of his first ballets....

 as well as continuing to sing.

Career as a singer

After a period in Montpellier
-Neighbourhoods:Since 2001, Montpellier has been divided into seven official neighbourhoods, themselves divided into sub-neighbourhoods. Each of them possesses a neighbourhood council....

, he moved to Paris
Paris is the capital and largest city in France, situated on the river Seine, in northern France, at the heart of the Île-de-France region...

 where, on 26 January 1789, he took part in a performance of Giacomo Tritto
Giacomo Tritto
Giacomo Domenico Mario Antonio Pasquale Giuseppe Tritto was an Italian composer, known primarily for his 54 operas. He was born in Altamura, and studied in Naples; among his teachers were Nicola Fago, Girolamo Abos, and Pasquale Cafaro. One of his pupil was Ferdinando Orlandi...

's Le Avventure Amorose, which marked the inauguration of the Théâtre de Monsieur
Over time, there have been several buildings and several theatrical companies named the "Théâtre-Italien" or the "Comédie-Italienne" in Paris. Following the times, the theatre has shown both plays and operas...

 company in the Salle des Machines at the Tuileries Palace
Tuileries Palace
The Tuileries Palace was a royal palace in Paris which stood on the right bank of the River Seine until 1871, when it was destroyed in the upheaval during the suppression of the Paris Commune...


He subsequently performed with the company in operas such as Paisiello's L’Infante de Zamora (in 1789), and on 18 July 1791 he sang the role of Floresky in the première of Cherubini's Lodoïska
Lodoïska is an opera by Luigi Cherubini to a French libretto by Claude-François Fillette-Loraux after an episode from Jean-Baptiste Louvet de Couvrai’s novel, Les amours du chevalier de Faublas. It takes the form of a comédie héroïque in three acts, and was a founding work of rescue opera...

. When the company moved to the Théâtre Feydeau
Théâtre Feydeau
The Théâtre Feydeau, , a former Parisian theatre company, was founded in 1789 with the patronage of Monsieur, Comte de Provence , and was therefore initially named the Théâtre de Monsieur...

, he was involved in a "folly in verse" called Le club des bonnes gens which was banned by the censor
thumb|[[Book burning]] following the [[1973 Chilean coup d'état|1973 coup]] that installed the [[Military government of Chile |Pinochet regime]] in Chile...

 for being unpatriotic.

He was active during the revolutionary period
French Revolution
The French Revolution , sometimes distinguished as the 'Great French Revolution' , was a period of radical social and political upheaval in France and Europe. The absolute monarchy that had ruled France for centuries collapsed in three years...

, composing in 1792 a hymn to the Supreme Being
Cult of the Supreme Being
The Cult of the Supreme Being was a form of deism established in France by Maximilien Robespierre during the French Revolution. It was intended to become the state religion of the new French Republic.- Origins :...

. On 19 January 1795, his famous Jacobin
Jacobin Club
The Jacobin Club was the most famous and influential political club in the development of the French Revolution, so-named because of the Dominican convent where they met, located in the Rue St. Jacques , Paris. The club originated as the Club Benthorn, formed at Versailles from a group of Breton...

 song Le Réveil du peuple (The People's Dream), to words by Jean-Marie Souriguière de Saint-Marc, was first performed. Notwithstanding the banning of the song on 8 January 1796 by the Directoire, he continued his career in opera, appearing in François Devienne
François Devienne
François Devienne was a French composer and professor for flute at the Paris Conservatory.François Devienne was born in Joinville , as the youngest of fourteen children of a saddlemaker...

's Les visitandines, and creating the role of Jason in Cherubini's Médée
Médée (Cherubini)
Médée is a French language opéra-comique by Luigi Cherubini.The libretto by François-Benoît Hoffmann was based on Euripides' tragedy of Medea and Pierre Corneille's play Médée....

 on 13 March 1797.


Gaveaux's first opera, L'amour filial (1792), was a success in Paris and was performed throughout Europe: Brussels
Brussels , officially the Brussels Region or Brussels-Capital Region , is the capital of Belgium and the de facto capital of the European Union...

, Cologne
Cologne is Germany's fourth-largest city , and is the largest city both in the Germany Federal State of North Rhine-Westphalia and within the Rhine-Ruhr Metropolitan Area, one of the major European metropolitan areas with more than ten million inhabitants.Cologne is located on both sides of the...

 and Rotterdam
Rotterdam is the second-largest city in the Netherlands and one of the largest ports in the world. Starting as a dam on the Rotte river, Rotterdam has grown into a major international commercial centre...

 in 1795, Berne
The city of Bern or Berne is the Bundesstadt of Switzerland, and, with a population of , the fourth most populous city in Switzerland. The Bern agglomeration, which includes 43 municipalities, has a population of 349,000. The metropolitan area had a population of 660,000 in 2000...

 and Moscow
Moscow is the capital, the most populous city, and the most populous federal subject of Russia. The city is a major political, economic, cultural, scientific, religious, financial, educational, and transportation centre of Russia and the continent...

 in 1809, Berlin
Berlin is the capital city of Germany and is one of the 16 states of Germany. With a population of 3.45 million people, Berlin is Germany's largest city. It is the second most populous city proper and the seventh most populous urban area in the European Union...

 and Hamburg
-History:The first historic name for the city was, according to Claudius Ptolemy's reports, Treva.But the city takes its modern name, Hamburg, from the first permanent building on the site, a castle whose construction was ordered by the Emperor Charlemagne in AD 808...

 (in a German translation) in 1796.

His most famous opera, Léonore, ou L’amour conjugal, premièred in 1798, with Gaveaux himself in the role of Florestan and Julie-Angélique Scio
Julie-Angélique Scio
Julie-Angélique Scio was a leading French soprano. Born in Lille as Julie-Angélique Legrand, she married the composer Etienne Scio. She made her debut in Paris in 1792...

 as Léonore. It is best-known today because the libretto
A libretto is the text used in an extended musical work such as an opera, operetta, masque, oratorio, cantata, or musical. The term "libretto" is also sometimes used to refer to the text of major liturgical works, such as mass, requiem, and sacred cantata, or even the story line of a...

 (by Jean-Nicolas Bouilly
Jean-Nicolas Bouilly
Jean-Nicolas Bouilly was a French playwright, librettist, children's writer, and politician of the French Revolution...

) served as the basis for Beethoven's only opera, Fidelio
Fidelio is a German opera in two acts by Ludwig van Beethoven. It is Beethoven's only opera. The German libretto is by Joseph Sonnleithner from the French of Jean-Nicolas Bouilly which had been used for the 1798 opera Léonore, ou L’amour conjugal by Pierre Gaveaux, and for the 1804 opera Leonora...


Other operas by Gaveaux that were popular in their day include Sophie et Moncars, Le bouffe et le tailleur and Monsieur Des Chalumeaux, and in 1808 he composed L'échelle de soie to a translation of the libretto which Giuseppe Maria Foppa had written for Rossini's La scala di seta
La scala di seta
La scala di seta is an operatic farsa comica in one act by Gioachino Rossini to a libretto by Giuseppe Maria Foppa. It was first performed in Venice, Italy at the Teatro San Moisè on May 9, 1812...


Chronological list of operas

  • L'amour filial, 1792
  • Le paria ou La chaumière indienne, 1792
  • Les deux ermites, 1793
  • La partie carrée, 1793
  • La famille indigente, 1794
  • Sophronime ou La reconnaissance, 1795
  • Delmon et Nadine, 1795
  • La gasconnade, 1795
  • Le petit matelot ou Le mariage impromptu, 1796
  • Lise et Colin ou La surveillance inutile, 1796
  • Tout par hasard , 1796
  • Céliane, 1796
  • Le mannequin vivant ou Le mari de bois, 1796
  • Le traité nul, 1797
  • Sophie et Moncars ou L'intrigue portugaise, 1797
  • Léonore ou L'amour conjugal, 1798
  • Le diable couleur de rose ou Le bonhomme misère, 1798
  • Les noms supposés ou Les deux jockeys, 1798
  • Le locataire, 1800
  • Le trompeur trompé
    Le trompeur trompé
    Le trompeur trompé is a one-act opéra comique by Pierre Gaveaux, to a libretto by François Bernard-Valville. It premiéred at the Théâtre Feydeau on 2 August 1800 .-Roles:-Synopsis:The play opens in the study of...

    , 1800
  • Ovinska ou Les exilés de Sibérie, 1801
  • Le retour inattendu, 1802
  • Un quart d'heure de silence, 1804
  • Le bouffe et le tailleur, 1804
  • Avis aux femmes ou Le mari colère, 1804
  • Trop tôt ou Le projet manqué, 1804
  • Le mariage inattendu, 1804
  • Le diable en vacances ou La suite du diable couleur de rose, 1805
  • L'amour à Cythère, 1805
  • Monsieur Des Chalumeaux, 1806
  • L'échelle de soie, 1808
  • La rose blanche et la rose rouge, 1809
  • L'enfant prodigue, 1811
  • Pygmalion, 1816
  • Une nuit au bois ou Le muet de circonstance, 1818

Later life

Gaveaux continued to sing until 1812, although after the company of the Théâtre Feydeau merged with that of the Théâtre Favart in 1801, his voice was in decline and he only performed secondary roles. In 1819 he entered the asylum at Charenton
Charenton (asylum)
Charenton was a lunatic asylum, founded in 1645 by the Frères de la Charité in Charenton-Saint-Maurice, now Saint-Maurice, Val-de-Marne, France....

 on the outskirts of Paris, where he died. His wife, Émilie Gavaudan (also a singer), died in 1840.

External links

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