Dalayrac [D’Alayrac], Nicolas-Marie (opera)
- David Charlton
(b Muret, Haute Garonne, June 8, 1753; d Paris, Nov 26, 1809). French composer. His father was a king’s counsellor and a wealthy aristocrat either by birth or through personal ennoblement. Nicolas’ musical talents were cultivated at Toulouse College, where he went from the age of eight, and, on his return to Muret six years later, in singing lessons and playing the violin in a local orchestra. He was obliged by his father to study law, in which he qualified by the age of 21. In 1774 he went to Versailles, where a commission had been obtained for him as a sub-lieutenant in the personal guard of the Count of Artois, later Charles X. In Paris, Dalayrac encountered influential musicians and musical amateurs such as the Baron de Bésenval and the Chevalier de Saint-Georges; he later received composition lessons from Honoré Langlé. Grétry reported in his Mémoires that Dalayrac was admitted to his study, but was not a formal pupil....