His musical promise was noted, and he was enrolled in the Conservatoire and studied with Daniel Auber, and by the age of fifteen was serving as organist at Bicêtre Hospital and a stage vocalist in provincial theatres, where he trained his fine tenor voice.
Participant Spanish by birth, he became a choirboy at the Church of Saint-Roch, Paris. Before he became musical director of the Théâtre du Palais Royal in 1851, he composed a one-act tableau grotesque, a burlesque on Don Quixote titled Don Quichotte et Sancho Pança. lieutenant was conceived as a vehicle for the actor Desiré, who was short and plump, accompanied by the tall and gangling Hervé, as he was now calling himself, in order to distance his two personas.
He had also composed musical entertainments to keep the patients entertained at the Bicêtre Hospital, and these gained the notice of producers.
Through his Folies concertantes, a small theater stage he took over in 1854 and for which he wrote many works, he became the forerunner of the Théâtre des Bouffes Parisiens of Jacques Offenbach, whose early efforts he produced at his theatre, renovated as the Folies-Nouveaux. The restrictive license of the Folies concertantes permitted only spectacles-concerts, with no more than two characters, in a single act, stringencies imposed on Offenbach as well, but which encouraged Hervé to experiment with genres, before more flexible rules were established in the following decade.
A jealous rivalry soon developed between Hervé and Offenbach, which was only patched up in 1878, when Hervé sang in a revival of Offenbach"s Orphée aux enfers. He died in Paris.