Jules Massenet, who died 100 years ago in 1912, was a French composer best known for his operas, and was widely considered in his day to be one of the greatest melodists of his time, alongside Puccini.
The Best of Massenet includes his most popular music, performed by a starry cast of artists, including Luciano Pavarotti, Joan Sutherland, Jonas Kaufmann, Renée Fleming, Joseph Calleja, Angela Gheorghiu and Marilyn Horne.
Soon after his death, Massenet's style went out of fashion, and today he is best known for the popular violin showpiece Méditation from his opera Thaïs (performed here by Nigel Kennedy), and is unfairly regarded by many as something of a one-hit wonder.
Opera and ballet aficionados have known otherwise for some time and that he is in truth one of classical music’s best-kept secrets. 2012, the centenary year of his death, is the perfect opportunity time to introduce a wider audience to the exquisite charms and beauty of his music.