Herve (Florimond Ronger)

1825-1892

Dramatic composer, originator of the French operette, and organist. Born at Houdain, near Arras; received his musical education at the School of Saint Roch. Herve was organist in several churches of Paris, and in 1848 produced at the Opera National, Don Quixote and Sancho Panza, in which he appeared as a singer. He then became conductor of the orhcestra in the Palais-Royal. In 1855 he opened a small theatre for the production of pantomimes, and musical comediettas for two persons, and from these developed the light French operetta, writing both libretto and music, and often appearing in the double role of actor and orchestra conductor. He was later connected with the theatres in Paris, Marseilles, Montpellier and Cairo; in 1870 conducted the Covent Garden Promenade concerts, when he introduced a Heroic Symphony for solo voices and orchestra, which he called The Ashantee War. His Frivoli was put on at Drury Lane in 1886, and the ballets, Dilara and Sport, were produced at the Empire Theatre, where for three years he was musical director. Other of his ballets are La Rose d'Amour; Cleopatra, and Les Bagatelles. His most successful opera has been Le Petit Faust, which was produced in English at the Lyceum Theatre. Another three-act opera was produced, in English, at the Olympic, as Hit or Miss, as a one-act and fivescene opera freely adapted by Bournand. Many of his later operas were failures, but he became a successful writer of songs, which were introduced into musical comedies. Herve has also composed, for the English stage, Aladdin the Second.