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The Cambridge Companion to Grand Opera

by David Charlton

This 2003 Companion is a fascinating and accessible exploration of the world of grand opera. Through this volume a team of scholars and writers on opera examine those important Romantic operas which embraced the Shakespearean sweep of tragedy, history, love in time of conflict, and the struggle for national self-determination. Rival nations, rival religions and violent resolutions are common elements, with various social or political groups represented in the form of operatic choruses. The book traces the origins and development of a style created during an increasingly technical age, which exploited the world-renowned skills of Parisian stage-designers, artists, and dancers as well as singers. It analyses in detail the grand operas by Rossini, Auber, Meyerbeer and Halévy, discusses grand opera in Russia and Germany, and also in the Czech lands, Italy, Britain and the Americas. The volume also includes an essay by the renowned opera director David Pountney.

Opera in the Age of Rousseau

by David Charlton

Historians of French politics, art, philosophy and literature have long known the tensions and fascinations of Louis XV's reign, the 1750s in particular. David Charlton's study comprehensively re-examines this period, from Rameau to Gluck and elucidates the long-term issues surrounding opera. Taking Rousseau's Le Devin du Village as one narrative centrepiece, Charlton investigates this opera's origins and influences in the 1740s and goes on to use past and present research to create a new structural model that explains the elements of reform in Gluck's tragédies for Paris. Charlton's book opens many new perspectives on the musical practices and politics of the period, including the Querelle des Bouffons. It gives the first detailed account of intermezzi and opere buffe performed by Eustachio Bambini's troupe at the Paris Opéra from August 1752 to February 1754 and discusses Rameau's comedies Platée and Les Paladins and their origins.

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