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date: 23 January 2021

Abstract and Keywords

The individual and collective contributions and professional activities of singers had a significant effect on the programming, circulation, and status of operatic works in nineteenth-century France. In the past three decades, scholars engaged in research on performers have made significant strides in revealing, on the one hand, the collaboration of singers and their contributions to the works they performed and, on the other, the structure and dynamics of the operatic marketplace. This chapter explores the various ways in which singers influenced the shape of repertory through their individual choices, the institutional structures under which they worked, and the shifting patterns and places of performance. Indeed, nostalgia for the singers who “created” a role had an important function in the canonization process: the French expression créer un rôle (“create a role”) consciously elevated this activity and imbued it with authorial force. This chapter is paired with Hilary Poriss’s “Redefining the standard: Pauline Viardot and Gluck’s Orphée.”

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