Dance and drama in French baroque opera

Publication Type:



New York : Cambridge University Press,, United States, p.xx, 484 pages : (2016)



Call Number:




17th century., 18th century., Dance in opera, Dramaturgy., France, History, Opera


Includes bibliographical references (pages 457-471) and index.Since its inception, French opera has embraced dance, yet all too often operatic dancing is treated as mere decoration. This book exposes the multiple and meaningful roles that dance has played, starting from Jean-Baptiste Lully's first opera in 1672. It counters prevailing notions in operatic historiography that dance was parenthetical and presents compelling evidence that the divertissement is essential to understanding the work. The book considers the operas of Lully and the 46-year period between the death of Lully and the arrival of Rameau, when influences from the commedia dell'arte and other theatres began to inflect French operatic practices. It explores the intersections of musical, textual, choreographic and staging practices at a complex institution - the Academie Royale de Musique - which upheld as a fundamental aesthetic principle the integration of dance into opera.