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Jules-Henri Vernoy de Saint-Georges

Librettist

Biography

Jules-Henri Vernoy de Saint-Georges (1799–1875) was a French playwright, novelist and librettist. He wrote the libretto for Gaetano Donizetti’s opéra comique La Fille du régiment.

Vernoy de Saint-Georges spent his life in Paris. His first work was the vaudeville comedy Saint-Louis ou les deux dîners, co-written with Alexandre Tardif (1823). He became manager of the Opéra-Comique in Paris in 1829. Vernoy de Saint-Georges wrote more than seventy librettos and plays, often in collaboration with other writers. Among his most distinguished collaborators were the poet and playwright Théophile Gautier and the dramatist and librettist Eugène Scribe. His best known librettos are for La Fille du régiment (1840) and Bizet’s La Jolie Fille du Perth (1867). He also provided a French translation for Weber’s Euryanthe, and collaborated on the scenario for the ballet Giselle (1841). He wrote many comic plays – often in collaboration with Adolphe de Leuven – and five novels.

Vernoy de Saint-Georges tended to favour dramatic plots filled with highly improbable coincidences (the story of La Fille du régiment is one example). He had a strong affection for the 18th century and often affected a version of 18th-century costume and manners in his everyday life.