Michel Carré

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Michel Carré

Michel Carré (20 October 1821, Besançon – 27 June 1872, Argenteuil) was a prolific French librettist.

He went to Paris in 1840 intending to become a painter but took up writing instead. He wrote verse and plays before turning to writing libretti. He wrote the text for Charles Gounod's Mireille (1864) on his own, and collaborated with Eugène Cormon on Bizet's Les pêcheurs de perles. However, the majority of his libretti were completed in tandem with Jules Barbier, with whom he wrote the libretti for numerous operas, including Camille Saint-Saëns's Le timbre d'argent (libretto written in 1864, first performed in 1877), Gounod's Faust (1859), Roméo et Juliette (1867), and Offenbach's Les contes d'Hoffmann (1881). As with the other libretti by Barbier and himself, these were adaptations of existing literary masterworks.

His son, Michel-Antoine (1865–1945), followed in his father's footsteps, also writing libretti, and later directing silent films. His nephew Albert Carré (1852–1938) also wrote libretti.

List of works with libretti by Michel Carré[edit]

Title Composer Collaborator Year Notes
Yvonne et Loïc Charles Delioux 1854 Produced at the Théâtre du Gymnase
Victoire! Adolphe Adam 1855 Cantata to celebrate the Battle of Sevastopol, words by Carré alone
The Pearl Fishers Georges Bizet Eugène Cormon 1863 Adapted from Octave Sachot's L'ile de Ceylan et ses curiosités naturales
Don Quichotte Ernest Boulanger Jules Barbier 1869
Don Mucarade Ernest Boulanger Jules Barbier 1875 One-act comic opera
Lalla-Roukh Félicien David Hippolyte Lucas 1862 two-act comic opera
La guzla de l'Émir Théodore Dubois Jules Barbier 1873 1-act comic opera
Quentin Durward François-Auguste Gevaert Eugène Cormon 1858 Three-act opera
Le médecin malgré lui Charles Gounod Jules Barbier 1858 Opéra comique in 3 acts
Faust Charles Gounod Jules Barbier 1859 Adapted from Carré's play Faust et Marguerite, loosely based on Goethe's Faust, Part I. Revised 1869
Philémon et Baucis Charles Gounod Jules Barbier 1860 Based on Baucis and Philemon by Jean de La Fontaine (derived in turn from Ovid's Metamorphoses Book VIII)
La colombe Charles Gounod Jules Barbier 1860 Based on the poem Le Faucon by Jean de La Fontaine.
La reine de Saba Charles Gounod Jules Barbier 1862 From Gérard de Nerval's Le voyage en Orient.
Mireille Charles Gounod 1864 Libretto by Carré alone, based on Frédéric Mistral's poem Mireio.
Roméo et Juliette Charles Gounod Jules Barbier 1867 An adaptation of William Shakespeare's Romeo and Juliet
Polyeucte Charles Gounod Jules Barbier 1868 Based on Polyeucte by Pierre Corneille
Valentine d'Aubigny Fromental Halévy Jules Barbier 1856 Comic opera, 3 acts
Les pêcheurs de Catane Aimé Maillart Eugène Cormon 1860 Three-act lyric opera
Lara Aimé Maillart Eugène Cormon 1864 3-act opera, based on Count Lara by Lord Byron
Galathée Victor Massé Jules Barbier 1852 Two-act opéra-comique
Les noces de Jeannette Victor Massé Jules Barbier 1853 One-act opéra-comique
Miss Fauvette Victor Massé Jules Barbier 1855
Les saisons Victor Massé Jules Barbier 1855 Three-act opéra-comique
Paul et Virginie Victor Massé Jules Barbier 1876 Three-act opéra-comique
Fior d'Alizia Victor Massé Hippolyte Lucas 1866
Dinorah Giacomo Meyerbeer Jules Barbier 1859 based on two tales by Émile Souvestre, La Chasse aux trésors and Le Kacouss de l'Armor
Deucalion et Pyrrhe Alexandre Montfort Jules Barbier 1855 One-act comic opera
The Marriage of Figaro W. A. Mozart Jules Barbier 1858 Translation into French for the Paris Théâtre Lyrique, ran for 200 performances
The Tales of Hoffmann Jacques Offenbach Jules Barbier (libretto & book) 1881 After a play by Barbier & Carré, Les contes fantastiques d'Hoffmann produced at the Odéon Theatre in Paris in 1851, based on stories by E.T.A. Hoffmann
La rose de Saint-Flour Jacques Offenbach 1856 Libretto by Carré alone, 1-act operetta
Le mariage aux lanternes Jacques Offenbach Léon Battu 1857 Opérette, 1 act, revised version of Le trésor à Mathurin)
La statue Ernest Reyer Jules Barbier 1869? Opera, 3 acts – piano score arranged by Georges Bizet
Le timbre d'argent Camille Saint-Saëns Jules Barbier 1865 Saint-Saëns' first opera, an 'opera fantastique'. Not premiered until February 1877. Dialogue re-composed as Grand Opera, premiered in 1913.
Gil Blas Théophile Semet [ca] Jules Barbier 1860 notes
Hamlet Ambroise Thomas Jules Barbier 1868 notes
Mignon Ambroise Thomas Jules Barbier 1866 Based on Goethe's novel Wilhelm Meister's Apprenticeship. Revised in 1870
Psyché Ambroise Thomas Jules Barbier 1860 opéra-comique, 3.acts


  • Christopher Smith: "Carré, Michel", Grove Music Online ed. L. Macy (Accessed 4 December 2005) (subscription required)

External links[edit]