Dance and Drama in French Baroque Opera: A History (Cambridge Studies in Opera)

Dance and Drama in French Baroque Opera: A History (Cambridge Studies in Opera)

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Rebecca Harris-Warrick
Cambridge University Press, 10/27/2016
EAN 9781107137899, ISBN10: 1107137896

Hardcover, 502 pages, 24.4 x 17 x 2.9 cm
Language: English
Originally published in English

Since its inception, French opera has embraced dance, yet all too often operatic dancing is treated as mere decoration. Dance and Drama in French Baroque Opera exposes the multiple and meaningful roles that dance has played, starting from Jean-Baptiste Lully's first opera in 1672. It counters prevailing notions in operatic historiography that dance was parenthetical and presents compelling evidence that the divertissement - present in every act of every opera - is essential to understanding the work. The book considers the operas of Lully - his lighter works as well as his tragedies - and the 46-year period between the death of Lully and the arrival of Rameau, when influences from the commedia dell'arte and other theatres began to inflect French operatic practices. It explores the intersections of musical, textual, choreographic and staging practices at a complex institution - the Académie Royale de Musique - which upheld as a fundamental aesthetic principle the integration of dance into opera.

Part I. Lully
1. The dramaturgy of Lully's divertissements
2. Constructing the divertissement
3. Dance foundations
4. Dance practices on stage
5. Prologues
6. The lighter side of Lully
Part II. The Rival Muses in the Age of Campra
7. The muses take the stage
8. Thalie, muse of comedy
9. Thalie visits the fairs
10. The contested comic
11. Melpomène, muse of tragedy
12. Melpomène adapts
13. Terpsichore, muse of the dance
14. In the traces of Terpsichore
Appendix 1. Works performed at the Académie Royale de Musique, 1695–1732, in which the impact of the comédie italienne can be seen
Appendix 2. A partial list of performances consisting of 'fragments', 1702–32
Appendix 3. The choreographies danced at the Opéra contextualized.