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date: 26 March 2019

Abstract and Keywords

Based on the importance of the concept of symmetry in French sociological aesthetics circa 1900, this chapter analyzes the convergence of theaters, musical form, and musical understanding. The analysis focuses on architectural shape, audience response, and the musical repertoire in the new theaters built in Barcelona (1847), Paris (1862), and Rome (1880). While these theaters were fashioned after the baroque form of the “teatro all’italiana” that prevailed in Italy, France, and Spain during the late nineteenth century, they provided huge spaces accommodating a socially mixed audience within an architecturally symmetrical form. Music critics often aligned acoustic sound waves with actual visibility in the auditorium, and semicircular structures in the scenography on stage may have affected the reception of the musical performance. The newly built theaters arrived at a time when the “classical” music scene and a certain canon was developed, opposing the more “intellectual” audiences and repertories of contemporary music.

Keywords: aesthetic hierarchies, architecture, audience composition, Gran Teatre del Liceu, opera house, Théâtre du Châtelet, Teatro Costanzi, sociological aesthetics

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