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Charles Gounod par Carjat

Charles GOUNOD

1818 - 1893

Composer

Date of birth:
Date of death:

Charles Gounod, the son of a painter, was left fatherless at the age of five and was brought up by his mother, from whom he received his early musical education, before studying with the famous Antoine Reicha. After classical studies and a baccalauréat in philosophy, he entered the Paris Conservatoire in 1836 to study with Halévy (counterpoint), Le Sueur and Paër (composition). He was awarded the Grand Prix de Rome in 1839. For a time he considered entering the priesthood, and his great devoutness gave rise to an impressive corpus of sacred works. His passion for the theatre finally prevailed, however. His first opera, Sapho(1851), was not an outright success, but it brought him a commission the following year from the Comédie-Française: to compose the incidental music for Ulysse. After that he wrote La Nonne sanglante (1855), Le Médecin malgré lui (1858) and, of course, that undoubted masterpiece of French art, Faust (1859). None of his other works, except perhaps Roméo et Juliette (1867), was to equal the success and fame of that opera inspired by Goethe’s play. But he went on to compose La Colombe and Philémon et Baucis (1860), La Reine de Saba (1862), Mireille (1864), Cinq-Mars (1877), Polyeucte (1878) and Le Tribut de Zamora (1881). Celebrated as a national treasure, elected to the Institut de France in 1866, Gounod left his mark on his time through his particular brand of sensitivity and his impressive catalogue of works, largely dominated by vocal compositions, despite major incursions into the fields of orchestral and chamber music.

Chronological milestones

1818 1893 75 ans
1851
1854
1858
1861
1864
1868
1871
1874
1878
1881
1851

Sapho

Charles GOUNOD / Émile AUGIER

1859

Faust

Jules BARBIER / Michel CARRÉ / Charles GOUNOD

1864

Mireille

Charles GOUNOD / Michel CARRÉ

1867

Roméo et Juliette

Charles GOUNOD / Jules BARBIER / Michel CARRÉ

1881

Le Tribut de Zamora

Adolphe d’ ENNERY / Jules BRÉSIL / Charles GOUNOD

Works

Ce que je suis sans toi

Charles GOUNOD / Louis de PEYRE

1868

Christus factus est

Charles GOUNOD

1842

Cinq-Mars

Charles GOUNOD / Louis GALLET / Paul POIRSON

1877

La Colombe

Jules BARBIER / Michel CARRÉ / Charles GOUNOD

1860

See the 45 œuvres en lien

Documents and archives

Jean-Lassalle-et-Henri-Sellier-dans-Le-Tribut-de-Zamora-Gounod

Press illustration, Picture of a scene, Photograph

Jean Lassalle et Henri Sellier dans Le Tribut de Zamora (Gounod)

Aino-Ackte-en-Juliette-Romeo-et-Juliette-de-Gounod

Press illustration, Picture of a scene, Photograph

Aino Ackté en Juliette (Roméo et Juliette de Gounod)

Scène de la Reine de Saba

Press illustration, Picture of a scene

Le Monde illustré, 1862/03/08 [La Reine de Saba]

Romeo-et-Juliette-Gounod-le-choeur-l-ouverture.-Exhibition-des-personnages-Pescheux.jpg

Caricature, Press illustration, Picture of a scene

Roméo et Juliette (par Pescheux)

See the 344 listed document(s)