A realistic portrait of Parisian working-class life, it is sometimes considered a French example of verismo opera. The premiere of Louise on February 2, 1900 under the baton of André Messager made it the first new opera to be produced at the Opéra-Comique in the twentieth century. It was an immediate success, soon being performed all over the world and bringing Charpentier wide acclaim. It also launched the career of the Scottish soprano Mary Garden, who took over the title role during an early performance. A film version of the work was made in 1939 with Grace Moore in the title role, and Louise is still occasionally performed today, with the soprano aria "Depuis le jour" a popular recital piece. In 1902, Charpentier founded the Conservatoire Populaire Mimi Pinson, intended to provide a free artistic education to Paris's working girls.
However, he became unproductive as a composer. He worked on a sequel to Louise, Julien, ou la vie d'un poète, but it was a not as great a success as Louise on its 1913 premiere, and was quickly forgotten. Charpentier wrote virtually no more music for the rest of his life. He died in Paris.
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|"Depuis le jour"|
|Louise / Act 3: "Depuis le jour"|
|Charpentier: Louise, Act 3: "Depuis le jour où je me suis donnée" ( Louise)|