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Decentralisation and regeneration at the Théâtre des Arts, Rouen, 1889-1891

Rowden, Clair Sophie 2008. Decentralisation and regeneration at the Théâtre des Arts, Rouen, 1889-1891. Revue de Musicologie 94 (1) , pp. 139-180.

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Abstract

A concern in certain quarters from the mid-1840s onwards, lyric decentralisation became a hotly debated topic in Paris during the mid-1880s with the Opéra and Opéra-Comique mounting few new works, the failure of Parisian authorities to re-establish the Théâtre-Lyrique, the resounding flop of the Opéra populaire in 1884, and increasing numbers of French works being premièred at the Théâtre de la Monnaie in Brussels. Thus in 1888, a commission of Parisian musical and literary figures - including the composers Edouard Lalo, Emmanuel Chabrier and Ernest Reyer - proposed to transform Rouen's municipal theatre into a " Théâtre lyrique départemental français ". Consequently, the 1890 and 1891 seasons saw the ambitious and prestigious programming of a number of French premières: Camille Saint-Saëns's Samson et Dalila, Albert Cahen's Le Vénitien, Gustave Canoby's La Coupe et les lèvres, Reyer's Salammbô, Charles Lenepveu's Velléda, but also Richard Wagner's Lohengrin (in French). This article surveys the " business " of opera in the provinces, and how municipal subsidy, intention and intervention, as well as Rouennais reception functioned alongside impresario-style theatre directors with high-idealed intentions of making Rouen's theatre a national forum of innovation and creation, open to the Parisian public and press. During two seasons, directed by Henry Verdhurt, formerly of La Monnaie, and Auguste Taillefer, reformer of the Grand Théâtre in Nice, these ambivalent relations and their underlying tensions are revealed. The article thus examines the ways in which different reformers envisaged lyric decentralisation, the renewal of the repertoire (to which the idea of decentralisation was intimately linked), as well as issues of market forces, entrepreneurship and the economic instability of operatic creation in the late-nineteenth century.

Item Type: Article
Date Type: Publication
Status: Published
Schools: Music
Subjects: M Music and Books on Music > M Music
Publisher: Société Française de Musicologie
ISSN: 0035-1601
Last Modified: 04 Jun 2017 02:59
URI: http://orca.cf.ac.uk/id/eprint/15066

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