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Edmond Fleg

Librettist

Biography

Swiss-French poet, playwright and essayist Edmond Fleg (1874–1963) wrote the librettos for Bloch’s Macbeth (1910) and Enescu’s Oedipe (1936). He was a prominent Jewish thinker and an influential figure in French Jewish culture of the 20th century.

Fleg was born Edmond Flegenheimer in Geneva. He studied in Geneva before moving to Paris in 1892, where he went on to study at the Sorbonne and the Ecole normale supérieure. Early published works include the plays Le Message (1904), La Bête (1910) and Le Trouble-fête (1913). He fought with the Foreign Legion during World War I and became a French citizen in 1920. In 1921 he published Ecoute Israël, the first in a four-volume poem that would later include L’Eternal est notre Dieu, L’Eternal est un and Et Tu aimerais l’Eternal. Other interwar works include the poem La Mur des pleurs (1919), the play La Maison du bon dieu (1920), French translations of Goethe’s Faust (1937) and Shakespeare’s Julius Caesar (1938) and the influential essays Anthologie juive (1923), Pourquoi je suis juif (1927) and Jésus raconté par le juif errant (1933). In 1935 he became president of the Eclaireurs israélites de France (Jewish Scout Movement).

In 1948 Fleg co-founded Amitié Judéo-Chrétienne de France with Jules Isaac. Late works include French translations of Genesis (1946) and Exodus (1963).

News and features

<em>Oedipe</em> musical highlight: The Sphinx

Oedipe musical highlight: The Sphinx

23 May 2016

Enescu writes spine-chilling music for Oedipus’ climactic meeting with the monstrous Sphinx.

Opera Essentials: George Enescu's <em>Oedipe</em>

Opera Essentials: George Enescu's Oedipe

26 April 2016

Our quick introduction to Enescu’s only opera and his masterpiece, inspired by the Greek tragedy of Oedipus.