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A Dictionary of Music and Musicians/Clapisson, Antoine

CLAPISSON, Antoine Louis, born at Naples Sept. 15, 1808, died at Paris March 19, 1866, was a good violin-player before becoming a composer, and published a great many romances and songs, which exhibit an easy vein of melody. His operas are 'La Figurante' (5 acts, 1838); 'La Symphonie' (1839); 'La Perruche' (1840); 'Frère et Mari' (1841); Le Code noir' (3 acts, 1842); 'Les Bergers-Trumeau' (1845); 'Gibby la Cornemuse' (3 acts, 1846); 'Jeanne la Folle' (5 acts, 1848); 'La Statue équestre' (1850); 'Les Mysteres d'Udolphe' (3 acts, 1852); 'La Promise' (3 acts, 1854); 'La Fanchonnette' (3 acts, March 1, 1856); 'Le Sylphe' (2 acts, Nov. 1856); 'Margot' (3 acts, 1857); 'Les trois Nicolas' (3 acts, 1858); and 'Madame Gregoire' (3 acts, 1861). These plays are generally poor, and many of them were unsuccessful. In fact, 'La Promise' and 'La Fanchounette' are the only two of his operas which gained public favour. There is however much good music in 'Gibby,' 'Le Code noir,' and several others. His style is somewhat bombastic and deficient in genuine inspiration; but, in almost every one of his operas there are to be found graceful and fluent tunes, fine harmonies, pathetic passages, and characteristic effects of orchestration.

Clapisson was made Chevalier de la Légion d'Honneur in 1847, and member of the 'Institut' in 1854. He collected ancient instruments of music, and sold his collection to the French government in 1861; it is now included in the museum of the Conservatoire. Annibale dei Rossi's splendid spinet, ornamented with precious stones and exhibited at the South Kensington Museum, was bought from Clapisson.

[ G. C. ]