Robert Planquette

Jean Robert Planquette (31 July 1848 – 28 January 1903) was a French composer of songs and operettas. Several of Planquette's operettas were extraordinarily successful in Britain, including Les cloches de Corneville (1878), the length of whose initial London run broke all records for any piece of musical theatre up to that time, and Rip Van Winkle (1882), which earned international fame. The son of a singer, Planquette was born in Paris and educated at the Paris Conservatoire. He did not finish his studies, lacking the funds to do so, and worked as a café pianist and composer and singing (he was a tenor). A few romances that he composed brought less fame than did his song, "Sambre et Meuse", first sung in 1867 by Lucien Fugère, who went on to be one of the foremost French opera singers of his day. In 1876, the director of the Théâtre des Folies-Dramatiques gave Planquette a commission to compose his first operetta, Les cloches de Corneville. It opened in Paris in 1877, running for an extremely successful 480 performances, and then enjoyed an astonishing London run, beginning in 1878, of a record-breaking 708 performances.

Music

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