Crébillon, Prosper Jolyot de
- Alison Stonehouse
(b Dijon, Jan 13, 1674; d Paris, June 17, 1762). French dramatist. He studied law at Dijon and by 1703 was living in Paris. He became a member of the Académie Française in 1731 and was appointed theatre censor in 1735. His nine tragedies, based on subjects from classical antiquity, are melodramatic and exploit violence and romantic entanglements; they were highly regarded during his lifetime. Idoménée (1705), his first work, was a source for Campra and Danchet’s Idoménée, which in turn served for Mozart and Varesco’s Idomeneo. His masterpiece, Rhadamiste et Zénobie, was first performed in 1711; there are notable similarities between it and Metastasio’s Zenobia, as also between Crébillon’s Xerces (1714) and Metastasio’s Artaserse. Other plays by Crébillon on which operas were based were Semiramis and Pyrrhus. Crébillon’s son Claude-Prosper (1707–77) was also a playwright; he was theatre censor from 1774 to 1777...