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Michel Carré



French librettist, poet and playwright Michel Carré (1822–72) is best known for his many collaborations with Jules Barbier, including on Gounod’s Faust, Thomas’ Hamlet and Offenbach’s Les Contes d’Hoffmann.

Carré was born in Besançon. He moved to Paris in 1840, initially intending to train as a painter but soon turning to writing. In 1842 he published his first collection of poetry, Les Folles Rimes et poèmes, before focussing on stage works. After early works such as Le Jeunesse de Luther and L’Eunuque he worked primarily with collaborators, on both plays and librettos. He was mainly known for his work with Barbier, which included Gounod’s Roméo et Juliette and Polyeucte, Thomas’ Psyché, Mignon and Françoise de Rimini and other works by composers including Meyerbeer, Massé, Halévy, Pascal, Boulanger and Saint-Saëns.

Carré’s other librettos included Mireille for Gounod and, with Eugène Cormon, Les Pêcheurs de perles for Bizet.

News and features

Opera Essentials: Offenbach’s Les Contes d’Hoffmann

27 October 2016
Opera Essentials: Offenbach’s <em>Les Contes d’Hoffmann</em>

Our quick introduction to Tales of Hoffmann, the wonderful final work from a master of French music theatre.

How to Stage an Opera: Faust and the 19th Century

22 April 2014
How to Stage an Opera: Faust and the 19th Century

How the vernacular of Gounod’s era makes the work anything but trivial.