Henri Meilhac
Born23 February 1830
Died6 June 1897(1897-06-06) (aged 67)
OccupationPlaywright

Henri Meilhac (23 February 1830 – 6 July 1897) was a French dramatist and opera librettist, best known for his collaborations with Ludovic Halévy on Georges Bizet's Carmen and on the works of Jacques Offenbach, as well as Jules Massenet's Manon.

Biography

Meilhac was born in the 1st arrondissement of Paris in 1830. As a young man, he began writing fanciful articles for Parisian newspapers and comédies en vaudevilles, in a vivacious boulevardier spirit which brought him to the forefront. About 1860, Meilhac met Ludovic Halévy, and their collaboration for the stage lasted twenty years.

Their most famous collaboration is the libretto for Georges Bizet's Carmen. However, Meilhac's work is most closely tied to the music of Jacques Offenbach, for whom he wrote over a dozen librettos, most of them together with Halévy. The most successful collaborations with Offenbach are La belle Hélène (1864), Barbe-bleue (1866), La Vie parisienne (1866), La Grande-Duchesse de Gérolstein (1867), and La Périchole (1868).

Other librettos by Meilhac include Jules Massenet's Manon (with Philippe Gille) (1884), Hervé's Mam'zelle Nitouche (1883), and Rip, the French version of Robert Planquette's operetta Rip Van Winkle (also with Gille). Their vaudeville play Le réveillon was the basis of the operetta Die Fledermaus.

In 1888, Meilhac was elected to the Académie française. He died in Paris in 1897.

Meilhac's grave at Montmartre Cemetery.

Works

Filmography