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date: 26 February 2021

Abstract and Keywords

This chapter argues that the reputation of Giacomo Meyerbeer went through a process of “de-canonization” after his death in 1868. More than those of other opera composers powerful in that time, views about his rise and eventual decline became firmly established by the fin-de-siècle. By re-examining the discourse surrounding this dominant figure, the chapter reveals larger tendencies of operatic canonicity in nineteenth-century Paris, illustrating the volatility of reputation and the peculiarly operatic ways of measuring canonic status. From Meyerbeer’s death, a gradual process took place by which his works either were dropped from repertories or discredited, long before Les Huguenots finally bowed out at the Paris Opéra in the 1930s. This chapter is paired with William Gibbons’s “The uses and disadvantages of opera history: Unhistorical thinking in fin-de-siècle Paris.”

Keywords: Giacomo Meyerbeer, Christoph Willibald Gluck, grand opéra, death, music criticism, Paris, Jacques Rouché, Harold Bloom

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