Beaumesnil, Henriette Adélaïde Villard de
- Elisabeth Cook
(b Paris, 30 or Aug 31, 1748; d Paris, 1813). French singer and composer. Having specialized from the age of seven in soubrette roles in comedies, she made a successful début at the Paris Opéra on 27 November 1766, replacing Sophie Arnould in the title role of Silvie (P.-M. Berton and J.-C. Trial). She sang in many premières and revivals until her retirement in 1781, creating with Rosalie Levasseur the role of Iphigenia in Gluck’s Iphigénie en Tauride (1779), and although her talents were overshadowed by those of Arnould and Levasseur, she was considered an enchanting singer, actress and dancer.
Anacréon, a one-act opera and her first composition, received a private performance at the Brunoy residence of the Comte de Provence on 5 December 1781. Beaumesnil then achieved public success with her acte de ballet Tibulle et Délie, ou Les Saturnales (after L. Fuzelier: Les fêtes grecques et romaines...