Henri Meilhac (21 February 1831 – 6 July 1897), was a French dramatist and opera librettist.
Biography [ edit ]
Meilhac was born in
Paris in 1831. As a young man, he began writing fanciful articles for Parisian newspapers and vaudevilles, in a vivacious boulevardier spirit which brought him to the forefront. About 1860, he met Ludovic Halévy, and their collaboration for the stage lasted twenty years.
Their most famous collaboration is the libretto for
Georges Bizet's . However, Meilhac's work is most closely tied to the music of Carmen Jacques Offenbach, for whom he wrote over a dozen librettos, most of them together with Halévy. The most successful collaborations with Offenbach are (1864), La belle Hélène (1866), Barbe-bleue (1866), La vie parisienne (1867), and La Grande-Duchesse de Gérolstein (1868). Also La Périchole Froufrou (1869), with Halévy.
Other librettos by Meilhac include
Jules Massenet's (with Manon Philippe Gille) (1884), Hervé's (1883), and Mam'zelle Nitouche Rip, the French version of Robert Planquette's operetta (also with Gille). Their vaudeville play Rip Van Winkle was the basis of the operetta Le réveillon . Die Fledermaus
In 1888 he was elected to the
Académie française. He died in Paris in 1897.