French operatic spectacle in the twentieth century

Smith, R. L. (2006) French operatic spectacle in the twentieth century. In: French Music Since Berlioz. Routledge, Abingdon. ISBN 9780754602828 (hardback) 9781138273450 (paperback) 9781315093895 (e-book)


In the revivals of spectacle were an important symptom of France's rediscovery of her musical heritage and a reassertion of national identity, and were also influential on newly composed French operas of the twentieth century, both in orchestration and subject matter. Certainly there are striking patterns revealed by an overview of operatic activity in France, for no account of new French opera can ignore the context of operatic activity in which they were produced. Three operas from the first years of the century conveniently open up distinct pathways in French opera, all of them premiered at the Opera-Comique: Jules Massenet's Cendrillon, Gustave Charpentier's Louise, and Claude Debussy's Pelleas et Melisande. L'heure espagnole was the first of Maurice Ravel's two one-act operas, often paired in performance with his other, L'enfant et les sortileges, often regarded as lightweight, much-loved favourites which have certainly retained their place in the repertoire.

Actions (login required)

View Item View Item