Reynaldo Hahn born 9 August 1875 (d. 1947)
Although born in Caracas, Venezuela, Reynaldo Hahn was raised and educated in France, studying music at the Paris Conservatoire under Massenet. He also studied with Gounod and Saint-Saens, with whom he is widely believed to have had a relationship. He is also thought to have been a lover of Proust's.
He is best known as a composer of French songs in the classical song tradition, including settings to Victor Hugo and the poems of Verlaine, but he also wrote operettas, chamber and orchestral music. The fine craftsmanship, remarkable beauty, and originality of his works capture the insouciance of la belle époque.
He was also a conductor, specialising in the works of Mozart; was general manager of the Cannes Casino opera house; and was for years the influential music critic of the French newspaper Le Figaro.
Forced to leave Paris in 1940 during the Nazi occupation, he returned after the war in 1945 to fulfill his appointment as director of the Paris Opéra. Unfortunately, he died shortly afterwards without executing the reforms for which his supporters had hoped.
He also appears to have been rather handsome, intelligent and charming.
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