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Classiscsonline Home » Composers » G » Grétry, André-Ernest-Modeste

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André-Ernest-Modeste Grétry (1741 - 1813)

A native of Liège, André-Ernest-Modeste Grétry developed an interest in comic opera during a period of four years spent in Rome at the Collège de Liège. On the advice of Voltaire he established himself in Paris in 1767, winning almost immediate success there. He held a leading position in French opéra comique until personal losses and the demands of the Revolution brought his career virtually to an end. He survived, however, to receive the honour that was his due.


Grétry wrote some 60 operas, over 40 of them opéras comiques. His first success in Paris in 1768 was Le Huron, with a libretto based on Voltaire. He was able, in general, to combine the techniques he had acquired in Italy with a sensitive handling of French texts.

Instrumental Music

It was with instrumental compositions that Grétry first captured interest in Liège. Some string quartets survive, and at least one symphony. The attribution of other works, including the Flute Concerto, has been questioned.


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