Messager, André

BORN 30 Dec 1853, Montlucon, Allier - DIED 24 Feb 1929, Paris
BIRTH NAME Messager, André charles Prosper
GRAVE LOCATION Paris: Passy Cimetière, 2 Rue du Commandant Schloesing (division 15)

André was the son of the wealthy tax collector Paul-Philippe-Émile Messager. He played the piano from a very early age but his father objected to a musica lcareer and sent him to a Marist school. Speculation on the stock markets ruined his family in the late 1860s and the objection against his musical interests was dropped. He studied piano with Adam Lausset, organ wuth Clément Loret and composition with Eugène Gigout, Gabriel Fauré and Camille Saint-Saëns. Fauré became a friend and Messager succeeded him as choir organist at Saint-Sulpice in 1874. During the next years he won several prizes for his compositions. In 1878 he was appointed conductor at the the Folies Bergère and worked there until 1880.

In 1879 Fauré and Messages saw two Wagner opera's in Cologne and later they saw the entire "Ring" in Munich. After further engagements as an organist, in 1883 he completed the opera "François les bas-bleus" after Firmin Bernicat had died. It was a great succes. In the same year he married Edith Clouette. In 1885 his operetta "La Fauvette du temple" was staged. His comical opera "La Béarnaise" (1885) ran for more than 200 performances in Britain in 1886. In 1890 his "La Basoche" was staged at the Opera-Comique in Paris.

Because of his affairs with other women, Edith divorced him in the early 1890s. She fell ill soon afterwards and he visited her daily. In 1892 she died. I nthe same year he conducted Wagner's "Die Walküre" in Marseilles. In 1895 he married the composer Hope Temple. His operetta "Les P'tites Michu" (1897) was another great succes. In 1898 he and Hope had a daughter, Madeleine (1898-1986). But in 1902 he seduced the Scottish soprano Mary Garden at his home in the presence of his wife. By 1903 he and Hope had split up.

From 1901 to 1907 he was a director of the Grand Opera Syndicate that was responsible for the program at Covent Garden in London. In 1907 he concentrated on composing and his opera "Fortunio" (1907) did well. In 1908 he was appointed conductor of the Orchestre de la Société des Concerts du Conservatoire and he held this post until 1918. He was criticised for performing Wagner during the First World War, but he stated that music represented the noble side of the Germans. He continued to work in the 1920s and he died in Paris in 1929.

Related persons
• performed work of Debussy, Claude
• was a friend of Fauré, Gabriel Urbain
• was pupil to Fauré, Gabriel Urbain
• was pupil to Gigout, Eugène
• was pupil to Saint-Saëns, Camille

30/5/1890Premiere of Messager's opera "La Basoche" at the Opéra-Comique in Paris. Jules Danbé was the conductor. Gabriel Soulacroix, Lucien Fugère and Ernest Carbonne were among the singers. The initial run lasted for 51 performances. 
12/12/1893Premiere of Messager's opera "Madame Chrysanthème" at Théâtre de la Renaissance in Paris. Messager was the conductor. Louis Delaquerrière created the part of Pierre. 


The grave of André Messager at Passy Cemetery, Paris.
Picture by Androom (06 Nov 2016)


The grave of André Messager at Passy Cemetery, Paris.
Picture by Androom (06 Nov 2016)


André Messager - Wikipedia
La Basoche - Wikipedia
Madame Chrysanthème (opera) - Wikipedia

Messala, Demetra

Published: 08 Aug 2021
Last update: 25 Apr 2022