Front cover image for Aesthetics of opera in the Ancien Régime, 1647-1785

Aesthetics of opera in the Ancien Régime, 1647-1785

"This is the first study to recognize the broad impact of opera in early-modern French culture. Downing A. Thomas considers the use of operatic spectacle and music by Louis XlV as a vehicle for absolutism, the resistance of music to the aesthetic and political agendas of the time, and the long-term development of opera in eighteenth-century humanist culture. He argues that French opera moved away from the politics of the absolute monarchy in which it originated to address Enlightenment concerns with sensibility and feeling. The book combines close readings of significant seventeenth-century and eighteenth-century operatic works, and circumstantial writings and theoretical works on theater and opera, together with a measure of reception history. Thomas examines key works by Lully, Rameau, and Charpentier, among others, and extends his reach from the late seventeenth century to the end of the eighteenth."--Jacket
Print Book, English, 2002
Cambridge University Press, Cambridge, 2002
viii, 411 pages : illustrations ; 24 cm
9780521801881, 0521801885
pt. I. French opera in the shadow of tragedy
1. Song as performance and the emergence of French opera
2. The Opera King
3. The ascendance of music and the disintegration of the hero in Armide
4. The disruption of poetics I: Medee's excessive voice
5. The disruption of poetics II: Hippolyte et Aricie and the reinvention of tragedy
pt. II. Opera and Enlightenment: from private sensation to public feeling
6. Heart strings
7. Music, sympathy, and identification at the Opera-Comique
8. Architectural visions of lyric theater and spectatorship
9. Opera and common sense: Lacepede's Poetique de la musique