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date: 01 June 2020

Abstract and Keywords

Historical settings—especially those from the medieval and early modern periods—were central to the aesthetic of grand operas of the 1830s and 1840s. This historical aesthetic is clearly evident in the four works that are the subject of this chapter: La Reine de Chypre, Charles VI, La Juive and Les Huguenots. The enormous popularity of these historical settings reflected a more general fascination with the distant past among early nineteenth-century Europeans, a fascination that was also manifest in genres such as the historical novel. But the music and drama of grand opera also mirrored contemporary events, reflecting the tensions that were shaping the rapidly changing social and political dynamics of the present.

Keywords: Fromental Halévy, Giacomo Meyerbeer, La Juive, Les Huguenots, La Reine de Chypre, Charles VI, Gothic, nationalism

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