French Operetta Composer Dies At Age 78

Francis Lopez, the king of French operetta who composed more than 40 popular works and 1,000 tunes in a career spanning a half century, died Thursday. He was 78.

Lopez died of internal bleeding, his son, Rodrigo, said.

Lopez’s best-known operettas include “La Belle de Cadix,” “Andalousie” and “Mediterranee,” featuring songs that are part of France’s musical heritage.

Born in Montbeliard in 1916, Lopez spent his childhood in the Basque country of southwestern France. Like his father, he became a dentist, but he hung up his drill to pursue songwriting.

Lopez became extremely popular during the German occupation in World War II, writing double-edged lyrics reflecting the somber times.

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