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GAIL, Sophie (1775-1819)

Born in Paris into a well-to-do and enlightened family, Sophie Garre grew up (according to Fétis’s Biographie universelle) surrounded by artists who encouraged and guided her in her musical education. Her talents as an accompanist and as a composer of romances were first revealed in the salons. Although she saw her first works published, she nevertheless adopted the codes of the amateur world, always remaining anonymous (in her compositions and in the press), a decision she maintained throughout her life despite her successes. She married the Hellenist scholar Jean-Baptiste Gail (1755-1829) in 1795, but they divorced in 1801. During that period, after giving birth to a son (Jean-François), she composed Deux airs for the drama Montoni by Alexandre Duval (1798), then a one-act opera for private use. Her endeavours encouraged her to study compositional techniques, first with Fétis, then with Perne and Sigismund Neukomm, and her studies bore fruit in the twilight years of the Empire: between March 1813 and September 1814 Sophie Gail presented four one-act opéras-comiques. The first one, Les Deux Jaloux, taken into the repertoire of the Opéra-Comique, earned her comparisons to Mozart and Cimarosa. The other three, however, failed to make their mark. Her last opera, La Sérénade (1818), co-written with Manuel García, also had a very short run. Nevertheless, Sophie Gail’s reputation gave her the opportunity, until her premature death in July 1819, to perform her romances on tours that took her (with the singer Angelica Catalani) to London (1816) and Vienna (1818).

    Image - 1
  • Les Deux Jaloux (Vial / Gail)
  • Works - 5
  • Angéla ou L'Atelier de Jean Cousin (Montcloux d'Épinay / Boieldieu & Gay)
  • Deux Jaloux, Les (Vial / Gail)
  • Mademoiselle de Launay à la Bastille (Creuzé de Lesser, Roger & Villiers / Gail)
  • Méprise, La (Creuzé de Lesser / Gail)
  • Sérénade, La (Gay / Gail & García)
  • Theme - 1
  • Women composers
  • Person - 1
  • GAIL, Jean-François (1795-1845)
  • Press articles -  20
  • Gazette de France, 19 décembre 1813 [Mlle de Launay à la Bastille de Gail]
  • Gazette de France, 29 mars 1813 [Les Deux Jaloux de Gail]
  • Journal de l’Empire, 19 décembre 1813 [Mlle de Launay à la Bastille de Gail]
  • Journal de l’Empire, 30 mars 1813 [Les Deux Jaloux de Gail]
  • Journal des arts, 30 mars 1813 [Les Deux Jaloux de Gail]
  • Magasin encyclopédique, 1813, p. 412-413 [Mlle de Launay à la Bastille de Gail]
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