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Look Inside French Grand Opera and the Historical Imagination

French Grand Opera and the Historical Imagination

£67.00

  • Date Published: April 2009
  • availability: Available
  • format: Hardback
  • isbn: 9780521885621

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  • During the July Monarchy, French grand operas, with their plots drawn from historical events, tended to be received as metaphors for current political themes. Previous studies have usually underestimated the role of music and the visual dimensions in articulating an alternative message to that offered by the libretto, and have instead focused on single political interpretations. In this study, five operas - Auber's La Muette de Portici and Gustave III, Niedermeyer's Stradella, Halévy's Charles VI and Meyerbeer's Le Prophete - illustrate the complex, contested nature of political meaning during this period. By setting these operas in the context of the emerging liberal historiography pioneered by Jules Michelet, and analysing the manner in which audiences and critics constructed 'meanings' with reference to their personal and collective experience and memories, this study reveals the central position that grand opera occupied in the period, bringing the past alive.

    • Includes discussion of other historical activities, such as painting and historical history writing, encouraging the reader to understand opera in a broader context
    • Avoids technical musical language, focusing instead on the historical contexts of opera
    • Includes a survey of the political situation during the July Monarchy, allowing the reader to appreciate the political significance of the operas
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    Product details

    • Date Published: April 2009
    • format: Hardback
    • isbn: 9780521885621
    • length: 294 pages
    • dimensions: 253 x 182 x 22 mm
    • weight: 0.76kg
    • availability: Available
  • Table of Contents

    1. Politics, history, opera
    2. La Muette de Portici: reliving the past
    3. Gustave III: politics as spectacle
    4. Stradella: legitimising the myth
    5. Charles VI: creating the future
    6. Le Prophète: the end of history?
    Conclusion.

  • Author

    Sarah Hibberd, University of Bristol

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