A Dictionary of Music and Musicians/Gaveaux, Pierre

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GAVEAUX, PIERRE, born at Beriers Aug. 1761; died insane at Charenton Feb. 5, 1825; studied composition under Beck, conductor of the theatre at Bourdeaux. There he made his début as tenor with a success which decided his future career. His voice was warm and flexible, he sang with great expression, and during an engagement in Paris in 1789 created many important parts. As a composer he produced between 1792 and 1818 no less than 35 operas, written in an easy and essentially dramatic style, natural and simple in melody, but not characterised by depth or originality. Among these may be specified 'Les deux Suisses' (1792); 'Le petit Matelot' (1795); 'Léonore ou l'amour conjugal' (1798), the same subject which Beethoven afterwards set as 'Fidelio'; 'Le Bouffe et le Tailleur' (1804), sung by Ponchard and Cinti-Damoreau as late as 1835, and played in London in 1849; and 'Monsieur Deschalumeaux' (1806), afterwards played as a pantomime. He also published a book of Italian 'Canzonette' dedicated to Garat, and another of French 'Romances.' These are forgotten, but some of his opera airs have maintained their popularity, and occupy an honourable place in 'La Clé du Caveau.'

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