Ibert, Jacques (opera) (François Antoine )
- Richard Langham Smith
(François Antoine )
(b Paris, Aug 15, 1890; d Paris, Feb 5, 1962). French composer . He studied composition at the Paris Conservatoire with Paul Vidal and after war service won the Prix de Rome (1919). In Rome he wrote his first opera, Persée et Andromède (1921), to a libretto by Nino (pseudonym of Michel Veber), his brother-in-law, after one of Jules Laforgue’s Moralités légendaires. It is based on a satirical reworking of the myth, with set pieces between the various characters. Perseus rescues Andromeda from the monster Cathos but is dismayed to find her pining for the beast. He leaves her, his pride clearly wounded, and the monster is miraculously transformed into a handsome suitor. Despite Ibert’s youth, this concise work (lasting under an hour) already shows his understanding of the theatre, for he had studied drama before turning to music.
Ibert vehemently refused to ally himself to any particular school, proclaiming that ‘all systems are valid’, a claim which has caused his detractors to accuse him of eclecticism. His most successful opera, the farce ...