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- Nina ou La folle par amour (1786)
- Les deux petits Savoyards (1789)
- Maison à vendre (1800)
- Camille ou le souterrain (1791)
- Adolphe et Clara ou Les deux prisonniers (1799)
- Gulistan ou Le Hulla de Samarcande (1805)
- Koulouf ou Les Chinois (1806)
From 1774 Nicolas-Marie Dalayrac was a sub-lieutenant at Versailles, where he studied composition and began writing chamber pieces; his string quartets were very popular.
In 1782 he began a long series of works for Paris theatres, mostly opéras comiques — notably Nina (1786), perhaps the first of the sentimental type to exclude comic elements. He also adapted popular operatic tunes to Republican words.
He remained famous in France and abroad after the Revolution, using gothic (e.g. Camille, 1791), oriental and chivalric subjects, and his work was accepted as the logical continuation of Grétry’s.
His circa 60 opéras comiques show his keen dramatic sense, with action and conversation in the ensembles, and his subtle melodic gift. Particularly influential were the romances (lyrical solo numbers).
Trained as a lawyer, he was encouraged by his father to abandon his career and follow his passion for music. His earliest works were violin duets, string trios and quartets, but his main fame was as a prolific composer of operas for the Comédie-Italienne (later remamed the Opéra-Comique).
He was a Freemason and is said to have composed the music for the induction of Voltaire to his lodge. He married the actress Gilberte Pétronille Sallarde. After the French Revolution he changed his name from the aristocratic d’Alayrac to Dalayrac. In 1804, he received the Légion d’honneur.