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The Life of Ambroise Thomas




After Gounod, it is not inappropriate to follow with Ambroise Thomas’ only surviving opera, for Thomas was greatly influenced by "Faust," though he had already written operas redolent of the styles of Auber and Halévy. He was an older man than Gounod, having been born in 1811. His father was a music teacher, and he himself became a distinguished pupil of the Paris Conservatoire, of which he was appointed head in 1871.

The operas of his first period were for the most part coolly received, and, in consequence, he temporarily devoted himself to other branches of composition. But by 1850 he had gained a place of honour among French opera composers, and 1866 brought the decided success of "Mignon," written for the Opera Comique.

Two years later came his "Hamlet," still performed and much appreciated in France. His last opera, "Françoise de Rimini," written many years before, was produced in 1882, but with only moderate success. Thomas died in February 1896.





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