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Paul Lacôme

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Paul Lacôme

Biography

Paul-Jean-Jacques Lacôme d'Estalenx (4 March 1838, Le Houga, Gers, France – 12 December 1920, Le Houga France) was a French composer.

Lacôme was the only child of an artistic and musical family. He became a competent player of the piano, flute, cornet, cello and ophicleide, and studied with the organist José Puig y Absubide in Aire-sur-Adour between 1857 and 1860. He won a prize, in a magazine competition, with an operetta, Le dernier des paladins, which was to have been presented at the Théâtre des Bouffes Parisiens, but the policy of the theatre changed and the piece was not staged.

Lacôme settled in Paris, where he wrote music criticism and had more than 20 operettas performed between 1870 and the end of the century. His operetta La Dot Mal Placée ("The Misplaced Dowry", 1873) was a hit abroad as well as in Paris. Ma mie Rosette (1890) was his biggest success in Britain in 1892. In France, the most successful of his shows was Jeanne, Jeannette et Jeanneton (1876), which ran for more than 200 performances despite having a libretto previously rejected by Offenbach.

In addition to his operas, Lacôme composed songs, chamber music and orchestral works, including a ballet, Le rêve d'Elias (1899), which ran for more than 100 performances in Paris and had a similar run in London.To mark the centenary of the French Revolution in 1889, he conceived the idea of reviving the operas of the revolutionary era, reorchestrating them to suit modern tastes. Under his supervision there were revivals of Paisiello's The Barber of Seville and Dalayrac's Raoul, sire de Créqui and La soirée orageuse at the Opéra Comique.

In 1901 Lacôme retired, returning to live at the family house at Le Houga. He became a local benefactor, endowing the church and founding a music school at Mont-de-Marsan nearby, where he taught until 1912. He was made a Chevalier of the Legion of Honour. Some of Lacôme's works were revived in Paris during the First World War, when, as one commentator put it, the French craved reminders of a happier era.


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