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About the composer Jules Massenet
Jules Émile Frédéric Massenet (French pronunciation: ) (May 12, 1842 - August 13, 1912) was a French composer best known for his operas. His compositions were very popular in the late 19th and early 20th centuries, and he ranks as one of the greatest melodists of his era. Soon after his death, Massenet's style went out of fashion, and many of his operas fell into almost total oblivion. Apart from Manon and Werther, his works were rarely performed. However, since the mid-1970s, many operas of his such as Thaïs and Esclarmonde have undergone periodic revivals.Read more on Wikipedia
Massenet was born in Montaud, then an outlying hamlet and now a part of the city of Saint-Étienne, in the Loire. When he was six, his family moved to Paris due to his father's ill-health. There his mother (Adélaïde Massenet, née Royer; her husband's second wife) started taking piano pupils. She also taught Jules so well that at the age of 11 he was able to enter the Paris Conservatoire. He was still a student when his family moved from Paris to Chambéry, but Jules returned to Paris after a few months, living with a married member of his father's family by his first wife. To support himself during his studies, he worked as timpanist for six years at the Théâtre Lyrique, playing also other percussion instruments in other theatres, and working as a pianist in the Café de Belleville.