Messager, André Charles Prosper



Contemporary French composer and operatic conductor of distinguished ability; born at Montluc.on, Allier. After studying for some time at the Niedermeyer School in Paris, he went to the School of Religious Music to take composition and harmony lessons of Camille Saint-Saens. In 1874 he became organist at SaintSulpice, and he afterward was organist at St.-Paul-St.-Louis and maitre de chapelle at Sainte-Marie des Batignolles. In 1876 he was awarded gold medal by the Societe des Compositeurs for a symphony in four movements which fidouard Colonne directed at the Chatelet concerts, and his cantata for chorus and orchestra entitled Promethee enchaine won second Premier prize at a Concours de la Ville de Paris. In 1883 he made his debut as an operatic composer by finishing François les Bas-bleus which Firnini Bernicot left incomplete at his death. Two years later his own three-act operetta, La Fauvette du Temple was successfully produced at the Folies-Dramatiques and during that same year came his first pronounced success, La Bearnaise, a three-act operetta, which was introduced at the Bouffes Parisiens, and in October, 1886, was given at the Prince of Wales Theatre, in London, with Marie Tempest and Florence St. John in leading roles. The three-act comic opera, La Basoche, which appeared at the Opera Comique in 1890 was immensely successful, and in 1891 was translated into English by Sir Augustus Harris and Eugene Oudin, and given at the Royal English Opera, with Esther Pallister, Ben Davies and David Bispham, then a debutant, as the chief singers. La Basoche is delightfully tuneful and is written in the brilliant, sparkling style characteristic of Parisian comic opera. His next interesting opera was a lyric comedy  on the subject, Madame Crysantheme from Pierre Loti's novel, and this appeared in the Theatre Lyrique in 1893. Other compositions to be performed during that year were the ballet, Scaramouche and the operetta, Miss Dollar, both played at the Nouveau Theatre. In 1894 he wrote Mirette for the Savoy Theatre, London; in 1895 he composed Le Chevalier d'Harmontel, given at the Opera Comique; in the following year Les Petites Michus was played at Bouffes Parisiens.. In 1898 Carre gave him the position of conductor of orchestra at the Opera Comique and Veronique was played at the Bouffes Parisiens. Une Aventure de la Guimart was performed at the Opera Comique in 1900 and Les Dragons de 1'Imperatrice came out at the Varietes in 1905. In 1901 Messager succeeded Maurice Grau as artistic director of Royal Opera at Covent Garden and up to the present time, 1908, still fills that position. He is married to Hope Temple, a popular song-writer.