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BARBIER, Frédéric (1829-1889)

Born in Metz, this soldier’s son spent most of his childhood in Bourges, where he studied literature with a view to entering the public sector, and took music lessons generously provided by the city’s organist (Henri Darondeau). After the closure of the Ecole d’administration (1848), Barbier set his sights instead on a law degree, but eventually decided on a career in music, encouraged by the success of his one-act operetta Le Mariage de Colombine, premiered in 1852 in Bourges. The next logical step was to move to Paris, where composer Adolphe Adam took him under his wing, giving him private lessons and gaining him entry to the Théâtre-Lyrique, where his opéra comique Une nuit à Séville was premiered in 1855. He composed prolifically from then on until his death, producing numerous works for the leading music halls staging light opera in the French capital: Folies-Nouvelles, Théâtre Déjazet, Folies-Marigny, Bouffes-Parisiens, Folies-Bergères, Eldorado, Café des Ambassadeurs, and Alcazar d’été. Working as conductor at this latter café-concert from 1873, Barbier also composed pieces for ballet and pantomime, songs and piano pieces (original works or arrangements). His works displayed a talent that caused Arthur Pougin to lament, in 1878, “that Monsieur Barbier, who is gifted with an active imagination, who is not lacking in inspiration and knows how to write, has thus frittered away his abilities without benefit to his name, when he probably could have secured a more enviable position by composing with a little less haste and a little less fervour.”

    Images - 11
  • Affiche pour La Poupée automate (Villemer & Delorme / Barbier) à l'Alcazar d'été
  • Catalogue des morceaux détachés des Oreilles de Midas (Barbier)
  • Page de titre de la chansonnette Pas encore ! (Céhem & Gedhé / Barbier)
  • Page de titre de la chansonnette Veux-tu bien vite cacher ça (Delormel & Péricaud / Barbier)
  • Page de titre de la lettre de Francoeur à sa mère Le Siège de Paris 1870 (Blondelet & Baumaine / Barbier)
  • Page de titre de la scène comique Janot le finaud (Lamy / Barbier)
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    Works - 4
  • Automates, Les (Frédéric Barbier)
  • Faust et Marguerite (Baumaine & Blondelet / Barbier)
  • Oreilles de Midas, Les (Desarbres & Nuitter / Barbier)
  • Page de Mme Malbrough, Le (Vierne / Barbier)
  • Themes - 2
  • Genre – Chanson et opérette sous le Second Empire
  • Lieux de musique – Eldorado