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Music, Theater, and Cultural Transfer

Paris, 1830-1914

Opera and musical theater dominated French culture in the 1800s, and the influential stage music that emerged from this period helped make Paris, as Walter Benjamin put it, the “capital of the nineteenth century.” The fullest account available of this artistic ferment and its international impact, Music, Theater, and Cultural Transfer explores the diverse institutions that shaped Parisian music and extended its influence across Europe, the Americas, and Australia.

The contributors to this volume, who work in fields ranging from literature to theater to musicology, focus on the city’s musical theater scene as a whole rather than on individual theaters or repertories. Their broad range enables their collective examination of the ways in which all aspects of performance and reception were affected by the transfer of works, performers, and management models from one environment to another. By focusing on this interplay between institutions and individuals, the authors illuminate the tension between institutional conventions and artistic creation during the heady period when Parisian stage music reached its zenith.

456 pages | 37 halftones, 5 musical examples, 16 tables | 7 x 10 | © 2009

History: European History

Music: General Music


“Annegret Fauser and Mark Everist, both at the height of their games, have given us a book which those in many other fields of musicological study may envy in its scope and integrity. . . . This volume . . . is of inestimable value, not only to our own discipline, but to musicology in general and to the wider audience of cultural historians of France during the nineteenth century. For musicology, it is a beacon in its depth and breadth of conception, perception and inspiration, contributing hugely to our increasing, yet ever patchy understanding of artistic production and mediation in the Parisian theatrical milieu.”

H-France Review

“Presented in a non-linear fashion, the chapters circle around many of the same themes and issues, but refracted through diverse contexts and approaches. Consequently, while each of the chapters may be enjoyed in isolation, read together, they present an especially vibrant and multifaceted history of nineteenth-century Parisian lyric theatre.”

Cultural and Social History

Table of Contents



part i. Institutions

1. The Company at the Heart of the Operatic Institution: Chollet and the Changing Nature of Comic-Opera Role Types during the July Monarchy

Olivier Bara

2. Fromental Halévy within the Paris Opéra: Composition and Control

Diana R. Hallman

3. Systems Failure in Operatic Paris: The Acid Test of the Théâtre-Lyrique

Katharine Ellis

4. Jacques Offenbach: The Music of the Past and the Image of the Present

Mark Everist

5. Carvalho and the Opéra-Comique: L’art de se hâter lentement

Lesley Wright

6. Finding a Stage for French Opera

David Grayson 

part ii. Cultural Transfer

7. Auber’s Gustave III: History as Opera

Sarah Hibberd

8. Analyzing Mise-en-Scène: Halévy’s La juive at the Salle Le Peletier

Arnold Jacobshagen

9. Lucia Goes to Paris: A Tale of Three Theaters

Rebecca Harris-Warrick

10. Cette musique sans tradition: Wagner’s Tannhäuser and Its French Critics

Annegret Fauser

11. La sylphide and Les sylphides

Marian Smith

12. Questions of Genre: Massenet’s Les Érynnies at the Théâtre-National-Lyrique

Peter Lamothe 

part iii. The Midi and Spain, or Autour de Carmen

13. Carmen: Couleur locale or the Real Thing?

Kerry Murphy

14. Spanish Local Color in Bizet’s Carmen: Unexplored Borrowings and Transformations

Ralph P. Locke

15. La princesse paysanne du Midi

Steven Huebner 

Appendix: A Documentary Overview of Musical Theaters in Paris, 1830–1900

Alicia C. Levin





American Musicological Society: Ruth A. Solie Award

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