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date: 23 January 2021

Abstract and Keywords

This chapter explains how a uniquely long-lived canon evolved in revivals of operas by Jean-Baptiste Lully and his immediate successors—chiefly André Campra and André-Cardinal Destouches—right up to the early 1770s. The Académie Royale de Musique was unique as the only theater to resist Italian repertory, except in two brief controversial periods. A dogmatic commitment to the old style and repertory survived after Lully’s death, quite separate from the operas of Jean-Philippe Rameau. Opposition to this unique practice broke out occasionally among the public, but such opinion was not widely supported in the press. It is striking that the main critics of ancienne musique, as it was called—Rousseau, Paul Henri d’Holbach, and Friedrich Melchior von Grimm—all came from outside France. This chapter is paired with Franco Piperno’s “Italian opera and the concept of ‘canon’ in the late eighteenth century.”

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