Edmond Audran

Achille Edmond Audran (12 April 1840[1] – 17 August 1901) was a French composer best known for several internationally successful comic operas, including Les noces d'Olivette (1879), La mascotte (1880), Gillette de Narbonne (1882), La cigale et la fourmi (1886), Miss Helyett (1890), and La poupée (1896).

After Audran's initial success in Paris, his works also became a regular feature in the West End of London, in adaptations that Audran supervised. Most of his works are now neglected, but La mascotte has been revived occasionally and has been recorded for the gramophone.

Early life and career

Audran was born in Lyon, the son of Marius-Pierre Audran (1816–87), who had a career as a tenor at the Opéra-Comique.[2] He studied music at the École Niedermeyer under Jules Duprato,[3] where he won the prize for composition in 1859.[4] In 1861 his family moved to Marseille, where his father accepted the post of singing teacher, later becoming director of the conservatory.[2]

Poster for the 1884 production of Le grand mogol in Paris.

Audran became organist of the church of St Joseph there, for which he wrote religious music including, in 1873, a mass that was also performed in Paris at St Eustache.[2] He made his first appearance as a dramatic composer at Marseilles with L'Ours et le Pacha (1862), a musical version of one of Eugène Scribe's vaudevilles. This was followed by La Chercheuse d'Esprit (1864), a comic opera, also produced at Marseille.[5] Audran's compositions included a funeral march on the death of Giacomo Meyerbeer, which was performed with some success; some songs in the Provençal dialect, including La cour d'amour (Marseilles, 1881), and various sacred pieces. He produced a Mass (Marseille, 1873), an oratorio, La sulamite (Marseille, 1876), Adoro te, a motet (Paris, 1882) and numerous minor works, but he is known almost entirely as a composer of light opera.[2][5]

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