On the Nature of 'Grand Opera'

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter


Commissioned article for the general and student reader concerning the evolution and types of French 'Grand opera', especially the relation of historical plots and historical local colour on stage to individual narrative stories. A suggested division is proposed between works either containing or ignoring a a public political interest. Marked differences of design are apparent as between them. Scribe evolved for the former type of plot (starting with 'La Muette de Portici') the large-scale pivotal scene that blends a moment of political crisis (always using the massed choruses) with a coup de théâtre involving an individual person, and which involves some kind of ironic relation between the two elements. An absolute or even shocking contrast might result from such an intersection of themes.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationHector Berlioz: 'Les Troyens'
EditorsIan Kemp
Place of PublicationCambridge
PublisherCambridge University Press
Number of pages12
Publication statusPublished - 1988

Publication series

NameCambridge Opera Handbooks
PublisherCambridge University Press


  • Paris, opera, Scribe, Grand opera, structure, history, dramaturgy

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