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Jean-Henry Saint-Georges (Libretto)

Jules-Henri Vernoy de Saint-Georges (7 November 1799 – 23 December 1875), French playwright, was born and died in Paris. He was one of the most prolific librettists of the 19th century, often working in collaboration with others.

His first work, Saint-Louis ou les deux dîners (1823), a comédie en vaudeville written in collaboration with Alexandre Tardif, was followed by a series of operas and ballets. In 1829 he became manager of the Opéra-Comique at Paris.

Among his more famous libretti are: the ballet Giselle (with Théophile Gautier) (1841), the opera L'éclair (1835) for Halévy, the opera La fille du régiment (with Jean-François Bayard) (1840) for Donizetti, and the opera La jolie fille de Perth for Georges Bizet. Virtually all his opera libretti are for opéras comiques, although La reine de Chypre (1841), for Halévy, was a grand opera.

In all Saint-Georges wrote over seventy stage pieces in collaboration with Eugène Scribe and other authors. He also wrote novels, including Un Mariage de prince.

Saint-Georges was notably old-fashioned in his approach, typically depending on highly improbable coincidences and twists with little attempt at convincing characterisation. His tastes were reflected in his personal affectation of 18th-century costume and manners in his everyday life.





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