French Opera A Short History Vincent Giroud

Publication date:
09 Apr 2010
Yale University Press
352 pages: 235 x 156mm
24 b-w illus.
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French opera is second only to Italian opera in the length, breadth, and diversity of its history. Yet most people, if asked to come up with titles, could mention only a handful of titles—Carmen, Faust, Pelleas et Melisande, Samson et Dalila—a small list for an operatic tradition that began in the seventeenth century and is still very much alive. This book provides a full, single-volume account of opera in France from its origins to the present day.

Vincent Giroud looks at the leading composers, from Lully to Messiaen and beyond; at the development of French operatic form and style; at performance, performers, and audience; and at the impact of French opera beyond France’s borders. Lovers of opera will find this an ideal companion to their appreciation of the form.

Vincent Giroud was formerly Curator of Modern Books and Manuscripts at the Beinecke Library, Yale University. He is currently a professor at the University of Franche-Comté. His recent publications include William Walton, Composer; St Petersburg: A Portrait of a Great City; The World of Witold Gombrowicz; and Picasso and Gertrude Stein.

“This engrossing tome details the cultural significance of opera in France and puts before us developments of the nation’s varied operatic achievements…..The illumination and detail is dazzling; vast learning made so digestible it might pass you by.”—Robert Giddings, Tribune