Mes souvenirs

Between 12 February and 13 May 1911, six “Souvenirs de théâtre” appeared under Massenet’s name in the newspaper L’Écho de Paris. In them the composer retraces the genesis and fortunes of Manon (12 February), Werther (26 February), Le Jongleur de Notre-Dame (12 March), Esclarmonde (26 March), Hérodiade (9 April), and finally, on the occasion of its Parisian premiere, Thérèse (13 May). Published more or less in alternation with articles by Saint-Saëns, this series met with such success that the paper asked Massenet to write a more complete series of 29 chapters, which appeared a few months later, from 19 November 1911 to 11 July 1912 (shortly before the composer’s death on 13 August). In these articles, as in the previous ones, Massenet has little to say on the aesthetic of his works, or those of his peers, preferring to recount the turning points of his artistic career and the main events and encounters that had marked his life. From beneath the discourse’s worldly surface, which dissimulates the bitterness of an artist’s career and the constant denigration he had endured, there emerges the human and artistic personality of an author who, reflecting in fine on the fate of his work, shows himself to be attached to an era and a French tradition that, in his eyes, seem to be disappearing.

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digitized editions
editorPierre Lafitte et Cie
place of publicationParis
years of publication1912
adapted from
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