La Belle Epoque de Massenet
directed by Christophe Ghristi and Mathias Auclair
PARIS – Born in Saint-Etienne and the son of a blacksmith, he woke up to music with the «noise of the bronze hammer». This did not prevent him from having a great success during the French Third Republic, from the opening of the Roi de Lahore in 1877 up to his demise in 1912, in his apartment in the rue de Vaugirard. Thaïs, Manon, Hérodiade and other operas were on the billboard of the opera houses in Paris, Brussels, Vichy or Monte-Carlo before falling into oblivion just as quickly following the composer’s death. This book, which accompanies an exhibition at the Bibliothèque nationale de France, shows the huge machinery that accompanied his productions, with a great science for the costumes, jewels, and posters that still continue to impress us. Paul Nadar, Orientalist painter Georges Rochegrosse or Eugène Grasset (for the decors of Esclarmonde) are among the great artists who contributed to his creations.
Review published in the newsletter #248 - from 1 March 2012 to 7 March 2012