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Political Concerns and Literary Topoi in French Grand Opera $230.00
Authors: Robert Ignatius Letellier (Lecturer, Madingley Hall, Cambridget, Cambridge, UK) 
Book Description:
This collection of essays examines the intellectual content and structural underpinning of French Grand Opera, which flourished in Paris from 1828-1870. The genre of tragédie lyrique was renewed and relaunched by Auber with La Muette de Portici (1828) and Rossini with Guillaume Tell (1829). These operas considered the revolutionary struggle for national identity that was a growing issue of the age. The great operas that followed by Meyerbeer and Halévy considered the political situation in terms of religious freedom, the rise of Jewish emancipation and religious toleration in the spread of revolutionary ideals in the wake of the Napoleonic Wars. Robert le Diable (1831) had a mythological theme that conjured up the Catholic unity of the Middle Ages, Les Huguenots (1836), conversely, presented with the bloody strife of the Reformation. La Juive (1835) considered the nature of religious freedom in terms of the Jews in Christian society, and Le Prophète (1849) the place of poor people in society, with religion as an ideology of social change also in terms of the Reformation scenario. Later Verdi’s Don Carlos (1867) would present the very issue of personal freedom and its relation to state religion in the dark context of the Spanish Inquisition . All of the chapters address these topics from a variety of perspectives and emphases. What is the nature of faith in relation to intolerance and is fanaticism born of an exegetical process and political ideology? How does the traditional symbolism of faith unfold? How is it underscored by a theological hermeneutic of history? The trajectory is one of idealism sought, as if in recollection of a Golden Age or prelapsarian situation of unity and wholeness. This situation is interestingly addressed, or mirrored in the concept of the pastoral, particularly in regards to dance. The balletic interludes of French Grand Opera in fact developed out of a tradition of diversity in the court of Louis XIV to comment on a deep structure of failed religion and political idealism. (Nova)


Book Review

“Robert Ignatius Letellier has delved into Meyerbeer’s opera Le Prophète in a deep and interesting way. This book focuses on ‘parables of politics, faith and transcendence,’ and is important to anyone with interest in French grand opera and religion. For those who are able to read and understand the music dramaturgy and revised score, the original music can be found on pages 71-78. In addition, the lovely presentation totaling 278 photographs, paintings, woodcuts, and cartoons are on heavy glossy paper. For example, Fig. 18 shows ‘Caricature of Meyerbeer bringing the Prophet to Berlin like a latter-day Messiah,’ Fig. 64 shows “the Cathedral scene (stage design, Philippe Chaperon, Paris 1875),” as well as photographs of Eugene Scribe and prints from Jan van Leeden and the Anabaptist leaders. Modern productions after WWII could only provide stages fitted for Le Prophète. Revivals were first seen in London in 1959 and in the United States in 1977 and 1979. Le Prophète was performed in Germany in 2000 and in Munster in 2004 with several other performances in 2007 and 2008. Letellier has collected concise and detailed information about Meyerbeer and Le Prophète. This makes me eager to learn about Meyerbeer’s other operas..” - Dale Hesdorffer, Professor, Epidemiology, Gertrude H. Sergievsky Center, Columbia University Medical Center, USA

Ian Rogers. To read the review, click here.


Table of Contents:
Introduction

Politics

Chapter 1. The Nexus of Faith, Power, Love and Death in The Operas of Giacomo Meyerbeer (1992)

Chapter 2. History, Myth and Music in a Theme of Exploration: Some Reflections on the Musico-Dramatic Language of L’africaine

Chapter 3. Historical Concerns and Biblical Theology in French Grand Opera

Chapter 4. Old and New Covenants: Historical and Theological Contexts in La Juive by Scribe and Halévy

Chapter 5. Theological Aspects of Scribe’s and Meyerbeer’s Le Prophète

Chapter 6. Le Prophète in London

Literature

Chapter 7. Meyerbeer the Man and Robert le Diable

Chapter 8. A Romantic Quest: Meyerbeer’s Adaptation of the Faust Theme

Chapter 9. Meyerbeer and the Comic Spirit: Miniature Variations on Grand Themes

Chapter 10. Meyerbeer’s Late Mysterious Operas

Chapter 11. Meyerbeer’s Margherita d’Anjou: Historical and Gendered Politics (2014)

Chapter 12. The Pastoral as Structural Determinant in the Grand Opera Scenarios of Scribe and Meyerbeer

Index

   Series:
      Fine Arts, Music and Literature
   Binding: ebook
   Pub. Date: 2018 - April
   ISBN: 978-1-53613-419-3
   Status: AV
  
Status Code Description
AN Announcing
FM Formatting
PP Page Proofs
FP Final Production
EP Editorial Production
PR At Prepress
AP At Press
AV Available
  
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Political Concerns and Literary Topoi in French Grand Opera