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Robert Planquette

Robert Planquette (July 31, 1850 - January 28, 1903), French musical composer, was born in Paris, and educated at the Conservatoire.

As a boy he wrote songs and operettas for café concerts, and sprang into fame as the composer of Les Cloches de Corneville (Paris, 1877; London, 1878). In this work he showed a fertile vein of melody, which won instant recognition. There is in his music a touch of pathos and romantic feeling, which, had he cared to cultivate it, would have placed him far above contemporary writers of opera bouffe. Unfortunately, he did little but repeat the formula which originally brought him reputation. Le Chevalier Gaston was produced in 1879 with little success. In 1880 came Les Voltigeurs du 32ieme which had a long run in London in 1887 as The Old Guard, and La Cantiniére, which was translated into English as Nectarine, though never produced.

In 1882 Rip van Winkle was produced in London, being subsequently given in Paris as Rip, in both cases with remarkable success. The libretto, an adaptation by H.B. Farnie of Washington Irving's famous tale, brought out what was best in Planquette's talent. In 1884 the phenomenon of an opera by a French composer being produced in London previously to being heard in Paris was repeated in Nell Gwynne, which was tolerably successful, but failed completely when produced in Paris as La Princesse Colombine. It was followed by La Crémaillere (Paris, 1885), Surcouf (Paris, 1887; London, as Paul Jones, 1889), Captain Thérése (London, 1887), La Cocarde tricolore (Paris, 1892), Le Talisman (Paris, 1892), Panurge (Paris, 1895) and Mam'zelle Quat'sous (Paris, 1897).

This entry was originally from the 1911 Encyclopedia Britannica.