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date: 23 January 2021

Abstract and Keywords

Which operas did people most often watch in France—all over France, that is—in 1780, 1820, 1860, and 1890? How did provincial theaters compare with those in Paris, where the great majority of operas originated? This chapter aims to correct the unduly narrow focus on Paris traditionally followed in histories of French opera. The chapter shows how old, indeed canonic, repertories were created in Paris, which then were performed in such cities as Rouen, Bordeaux, and Lyon. It traces how repertories emerged, focusing variously on works by Gluck, Rossini, Meyerbeer, Donizetti, Verdi, and Wagner. The most important respect in which provincial theaters differed from those in Paris was the close intermingling in a single theater of pieces in different genres—opéra comique, grand opéra, and opérette. This chapter is paired with Yannick Simon’s “The mingling of opera genres: Canonic opera at the Théâtre des Arts in Rouen, 1882–1897.”

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