Abstracts of issue 5-6 (1987)

Ion Zottos

The Beginnings of French Opera: The Tragédie Lyrique as Dramatic Genre in Neoclassical France

The present essay is a historical and critical survey of the operatic and quasi-operatic precedents that led to the formation of a French dramatic musical idiom as well as of a Baroque aesthetic that culminated in the tragédie lyrique of Lully.
  1. Part I examines:
    1. the quantitative verses written a lantique and the revival of Greek prosody;
    2. Beaujoyeuxs Ballet comique de la Royne, and
    3. the Ballet de cour, as it developed in XVIIth-century France.
  2. Part II deals with the influence Italian dramatic presentations had on the development of French opera:
    1. of stage works by Rossi and Cavalli mounted in France;
    2. of machine plays and pastoral dramas, and
    3. of the transition from comedie-ballet to tragédie lyrique.
  3. Part III is an attempt to look at the music itself, i.e., the French vocal tradition of the Renaissance and the early Baroque period:
    1. at the Italian seconda prattica ideals and of their observance or rejection in France;
    2. at the dramatic possibilities in the French monody before Lully, and
    3. at the Franco-Italian synthesis, which Lully achieved in the lyric art of the Baroque.

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