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.
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