Henri Meilhac was born in Paris on February 21st, 1831. After having finished secondary
school studies he was employed in a book shop and simultaneously he dedicated his time to
drawing, working as a cartoonist and humorous writer with the newspapers Journal pour rire
and Vie Parisienne, activities for which he initially used the pseudonym Ivan Baskoff.
In 1856 he made his debut as a comedy writer in a one-act musical comedy La sarabande du
Cardinal and subsequently he dedicated himself exclusively to the theatre, for which he
created at least 115 works of various genres, from musical comedies to comedies in five acts
to opera libretti.
A lot of his works were written in collaboration with other authors, in particular with
Ludovic Halévy, with whom he influenced the production of the comical libretti of the XIX
century. Together they wrote libretti for Offenbach among which La belle Hélène, La vie
parisienne, La Grande Duchesse de Gérolstein, La Périchole, the libretto for Carmen by Bizet
and opera libretti for other French composers.
Thanks to Offenbach Meilhac became very popular in England.
Furthermore, for his artistic merits, he was elected a member of the Académie Française in
Henri Meilhac died in Paris on July 6th 1897.