LUDOVIC HALEVY (1834-1908) ,French author, was
See also:born in
See also:Paris on the 1st of
See also:January 1834 . His
See also:father, Leon Halevy (1802-1883), was a
See also:clever and versatile writer, who tried almost every branch of literature—prose and
See also:vaudeville, drama, history—without, however, achieving decisive success in any . His
See also:uncle, J . F . Fromental E . Halevy (q.v.), was for many years associated with the
See also:opera; hence the
See also:double and early connexion of Ludovic Halevy with the Parisian stage . At the age of six he might have been seen playing in that Foyer de la danse with which he was to make his readers so
See also:familiar, and, when a boy of twelve, he would often, of a
See also:night, on his way back to the
See also:Louis le
See also:Grand, look in at the Odeon, where he had
See also:free admittance, and see the first
See also:act of the new
See also:play . At eighteen he joined the ranks of the French administration and occupied various posts, the last being that of secretaire-redacteur to the
See also:Corps Legislatif . In that capacity he enjoyed the
See also:special favour and friendship of the famous duke of
See also:Morny, then
See also:president of that
See also:assembly . In 1865 Ludovic Halevy's increasing popularity as an author enabled him to retire from the public service . Ten years earlier he had become acquainted with the musician Offenbach, who was about to start a small theatre of his own in the Champs Elysees, and he wrote a sort of prologue, Entrez, messieurs, mesdames, for the opening night . Other little productions followed, Ea-la-
See also:clan being the most noticeable among them .
They were produced under thepseudonym of Jules Servieres . The name of Ludovic Halevy appeared for the first
See also:time on the bills on the 1st of January 1856 . Soon after-wards the unprecedented run of Orphee aux enfers, a musical parody, written in collaboration with
See also:Hector Cremieux, made his, name famous . In the
See also:spring of 186o he was commissioned to write a play for the manager of the Varietes in conjunction with another vaudevillist,
See also:Lambert Thiboust . The latter having abruptly retired from the collaboration, Halevy was at a loss how to carry out the contract, when on the steps of the theatre he met
See also:Meilhac (1831-1897), then comparatively a stranger to him . He proposed to Meilhac the task rejected by Lambert Thiboust, and the proposal was immediately accepted . Thus began a connexion which was to last over twenty years, and which proved most fruitful both for the reputation of the two authors and the prosperity of the minor Paris theatres . Their joint
See also:works may be divided into three classes: the operettes, the farces, the comedies . The operettes afforded excellent opportunities to a gifted musician for the display of his
See also:humour . They were broad and lively libels against the society of the time, but savoured strongly of the vices and follies they were supposed to satirize . Amongst the most celebrated works of the joint authors were La Belle Helene (1864), Barbe Bleue (1866), La Grande Duchesse de
See also:Gerolstein (1867), and La Perichole (r868) . After 1870 the vogue of Parody rapidly declined .
The decadence became still more apparent when Offenbach was no longer at
See also:hand to assist the two authors with his
See also:quaint musical irony, and when they had to
See also:deal with interpreters almost destitute of singing
See also:powers . They wrote farces of the old type, consisting of complicated intrigues, with which they cleverly interwove the
See also:representation of contemporary whims and social oddities . They generally failed when they attempted comedies of a more serious character and tried to introduce a higher sort of emotion . A solitary exception must be made in the case of Frou frou (1869), which, owing perhaps to the admirable
See also:talent of Aimee Desclee, remains their unique succes de larmes . Meilhac and Halevy will be found at their best in
See also:light sketches of Parisian
See also:Les Sonnettes, Le Roi Candaule, Madame attend Monsieur, Toto chez Tata . In that intimate association between the two men who had met so opportunely on the
See also:des varietes, it was often asked who was the leading partner . The question was not answered until the connexion was finally severed and they stood before the public, each to answer for his own
See also:work . It was then apparent that they had many gifts in
See also:common . Both had wit, humour, observation of character . Meilhac had a ready
See also:imagination, a
See also:rich and whimsical
See also:fancy; Halevy had taste, refinement and pathos of a certain kind . Not less clever than his brilliant comrade, he was more human . Of this he gave evidence in two delightful books, Monsieur et Madame
See also:Cardinal (1873) and Les Petites Cardinal, in which the lowest orders of the Parisian
See also:middle class are faithfully described .
The pompous, pedantic, venomous Monsieur Cardinal willlong survive as the true image of sententious and self-glorifying immorality . M . Halevy's peculiar qualities are even more visible in the
See also:simple and striking scenes of the Invasion, published soon after the conclusion of the Franco-German War, in Criquette (1883) and L'
See also:Abbe Constantin (1882), two novels, the latter of which went through innumerable
See also:editions . Zola had presented to the public an almost exclusive combination of
See also:bad men and
See also:women; in L'Abbe Constantin all are kind and
See also:good, and the
See also:change was eagerly welcomed by the public . Some enthusiasts still maintain that the Abbe will
See also:rank permanently in literature by the side of the equally chimerical
See also:Vicar of Wakefield . At any
See also:rate, it opened for M . Ludovic Halevy the doors of the French Academy, to which he was elected in 1884 . Halevy remained an assiduous frequenter of the Academy, the
See also:Conservatoire, the Comedie Francaise, and the Society of Dramatic Authors, but, when he died in Paris on the 8th of May 1908, he had produced practically nothing new for many years . His last
See also:romance, Kari Kari, appeared in 1892 . The Theatre of MM . Meilhac and Halevy was published in 8 vols . (1900-1902) .
JACQUES FRANCOIS FROMENTAL ELIE HALEVY (1799-. 1862...
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