Sight Meets Sound: Fifty Years of Musical Scenography at the Opéra-Comique

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter


This research identifies, presents and analyses for the first time an area of music theatre history involving and bringing together certain plot characteristics, lighting effects and (sometimes) innovative musical effects. The field is defined by the genre of opéra-comique as seen in Paris between 1755 and 1806. An 12-page Appendix provides detailed source materials for inspection. The article first proposes a terminological discussion, since the aspect of scenography under inspection has remained unexplored. After then discussing the evidence to hand, and its implications for stage lighting technique as such, the article proposes and investigates six categories of scenography based on types of dramatic content, and discovers musical characteristics that were associated with certain of them. A six-part set of conclusions complements Roger Savage's explanation of 'a concept of opera involving a carefully monitored synthesis of theatrical arts' prevalent at the time, concerned to 'present a heightened virtual actuality'.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationThe Opéra-comique in the Eighteenth and Nineteenth Centuries
EditorsLorenzo Frassà
Place of PublicationTurnhout
Number of pages43
ISBN (Print)978-2-503-52781-9
Publication statusPublished - 2011

Publication series

NameSpeculum Musicae


  • Paris, 18th century, opéra-comique, music, stage lighting
  • scenography

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