Gaston SERPETTE

Family tree of Gaston SERPETTE

Composer

FrenchBorn Gaston SERPETTE

French composer

Born on November 04, 1846 in Nantes, France , France

Died on November 04, 1904 in Paris, France

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Serpette, the son of a rich industrialist, was born in Nantes, in western France. He qualified as a lawyer before deciding to devote himself to music. In 1868 he entered the composition class of Ambroise Thomas at the Paris Conservatoire, and in 1871 won France's top musical prize, the Prix de Rome, previously won by Berlioz, Thomas, Gounod, Bizet and Massenet, among others. Serpette's winning entry was Jeanne d'Arc, a cantata to a libretto by M. J. Barbier, which was performed at the Paris Opéra in November of the same year. However, to the distress of the conservative element at the Conservatoire, Serpette also submitted an operetta. When it was played on the piano to Gounod, Thomas and the members of the Académie des Beaux-Arts, the academy's secretary, Viscount Delaborde, declared that Serpette "had gone to the bad".



Finding himself unwelcome in serious musical circles, Serpette continued to compose operettas. In 1873 he wrote the three-act La branche cassée, to a libretto by Adolphe Jaime and Jules Noriac. The piece was well received at the Théâtre des Bouffes-Parisiens, in January 1874, and at the Opera Comique, London in an English version presented by Richard D'Oyly Carte in October of the same year. The critic of London's The Morning Post, noted that in the London version there were so many interpolations into Serpette's original score that "barely half the solos are from his pen". He added that the music "though not remarkable for originality, is above mediocrity, and … far surpasses the usual run of opéra-bouffe music." Serpette followed this with more works in the same genre: Le manoir du Pic-Tordu (1875), Le moulin du vert-galant (1876) and La petite muette (1877), which, after its Paris première, became the first of Serpette's shows to be played in New York, where it opened at the Fifth Avenue Theatre but ran for only five performances. Serpette continued with a succession of shows that were successful in Paris, but not considered suitable for the public of London or New York. Of La petite muette, the London paper The Era reported most favourably on the music, but made it clear that the plot was too risqué for English tastes: "not even the most elaborate circumlocution would enable me to steer clear of offending the modesty of your fair readers were I to recite the incident on which the plot turns." A Serpette piece, Le carnet du diable, was reviewed in The Era in 1895 under the headline, "Indecency in Paris".

...   Serpette, the son of a rich industrialist, was born in Nantes, in western France. He qualified as a lawyer before deciding to devote himself to music. In 1868 he entered the composition class of Ambroise Thomas at the Paris Conservatoire, and in 1871 won France's top musical prize, the Prix de Rome, previously won by Berlioz, Thomas, Gounod, Bizet and Massenet, among others. Serpette's winning entry was Jeanne d'Arc, a cantata to a libretto by M. J. Barbier, which was performed at the Paris Opéra in November of the same year. However, to the distress of the conservative element at the Conservatoire, Serpette also submitted an operetta. When it was played on the piano to Gounod, Thomas and the members of the Académie des Beaux-Arts, the academy's secretary, Viscount Delaborde, declared that Serpette "had gone to the bad".



Finding himself unwelcome in serious musical circles, Serpette continued to compose operettas. In 1873 he wrote the three-act La branche cassée, to a libretto by Adolphe Jaime and Jules Noriac. The piece was well received at the Théâtre des Bouffes-Parisiens, in January 1874, and at the Opera Comique, London in an English version presented by Richard D'Oyly Carte in October of the same year. The critic of London's The Morning Post, noted that in the London version there were so many interpolations into Serpette's original score that "barely half the solos are from his pen". He added that the music "though not remarkable for originality, is above mediocrity, and … far surpasses the usual run of opéra-bouffe music." Serpette followed this with more works in the same genre: Le manoir du Pic-Tordu (1875), Le moulin du vert-galant (1876) and La petite muette (1877), which, after its Paris première, became the first of Serpette's shows to be played in New York, where it opened at the Fifth Avenue Theatre but ran for only five performances. Serpette continued with a succession of shows that were successful in Paris, but not considered suitable for the public of London or New York. Of La petite muette, the London paper The Era reported most favourably on the music, but made it clear that the plot was too risqué for English tastes: "not even the most elaborate circumlocution would enable me to steer clear of offending the modesty of your fair readers were I to recite the incident on which the plot turns." A Serpette piece, Le carnet du diable, was reviewed in The Era in 1895 under the headline, "Indecency in Paris".



Serpette's works were continually in demand in Paris. Between 1874 and 1900, with librettists including such writers as Henri Meilhac and Georges Feydeau, he wrote more than twenty full-length operettas, and seven shorter ones. Nevertheless, in the view of the English critic Andrew Lamb, "Serpette was destined to continue, along with Varney, Vasseur, Roger and Lacome, in the shadow of such French operetta composers as Planquette, Audran and, later, Messager."



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