Charpentier, Gustave

BORN 25 Jun 1860, Dieuze, Moselle - DIED 18 Feb 1956, Paris
GRAVE LOCATION Paris: Père Lachaise, Rue du Repos 16 (division 10)

Gustave Charpentier was the son of a baker. Supported by a benefactor he studied the violin in Lille and in 1881 he entered the Conservatory in Paris. There he was taught by Jules Massenet and in 1887 he won the Prix de Rome for his cantata "Didon". In Rome he began the working on his opera "Louise".

After his return to France he lived in Montmartre in Paris, where he set texts by Baudelaire and Voltaire on music. After he completed "Louise" it was performed at the Opéra-Comique on 2 February 1900 by André Messager. It was an international success. In 1902 he founded the Conservatoire Populaire Mimi Pinson in Paris where free musical education was provided to working girls. He took a lot of time for the successor to "Louise" and "Julien, ou la vie d'un poète" was no succes when it was finally performed in 1913.

In 1930 he received the Légion d'honneur and in 1935 he supervised a recording of "Louise" conducted by Eugène Bigot. A film version was made in 1939. In 1950 "Louise" was performed in his presence at the Opéra-Comique to celebrate his 90th birthday. It was mostly conducted by André Cluytens, but Charpentier conducted a small part himself. He died in 1956 in Paris.

He was buried at Père Lachaise. For many years he had lived with Camilla Willay (1877-1957), who also worked as his personal secretary. During that time he had many other affairs, including with his students. After her death Camille was buried in his grave.


The grave of Gustave Charpentier at Père Lachaise, Paris.
Picture by Androom (02 Nov 2018)


• Adler, Josef, Handbuch der Grabstätten, 2. Band, Die Grabstätte der Europäer, Deutsches Kunstverlag, München, 1986
Gustave Charpentier - Wikipedia

Chassériau, Théodore

Published: 16 Jan 2021
Last update: 16 Jan 2021