French Romantic Opera- Music 3751- notes from Dr. Helsen

  • Period: to

    Romantic Era plus

  • Tennis Court Oath- Tiers État

    Tennis Court Oath
    france is in financial trouble (American war, tax issues, military ventures and battles)
    enlightenment ideals reject versailles-style living
    catholic church felt oppressive
    "why are people telling me what to do?"
    King calls national assembly-Three estates (clergy, nobility, all-the-rest)
    Tiers État decides to vote on behalf of the people, King locks the doors to the vote, convene in a Tennis Court, new constitution
  • Storming of the Bastille

    Storming of the Bastille wiki
    freeing political prisoners"
    really about weapons and symbolism, there were only 7 prisoners in there
  • Giacomo Meyerbeer born

    Meyerbeer wiki born Jacob Liebmann Beer
    Jewish, Berlin, Wealthy
    successful because he was, in a way, German, Italian, and French (born in germany, trained in Italy, composed in France)
    was able to take liberties when composing because of wealth
    commuted between Paris (work) and Berlin (mother and wife)
  • The Legislative Assembly

    new constitution- constitutional monarchy FELL APART
  • The National Convention

    National Conventionnew-new constitution
    no monarchy
    year one of the french republican calendar
    the national convention- the governing body that sprung up after the election and tried to calm everything down
  • The Terror

    committee of public safety begins a reign of terror in the streets and kills 16 000 "counter-revolutionaries"
    Sansculottes (didn't wear fancy underwear called culottes) were perpetrators
    Jacobins (left wing crazy guys that met in a former dominican convent, not actually monks) were perptrators
    Robespiere (main leader) was executed because of internal politics, the Jacobins dissolved after his death
  • The Directory

    new-new-new government trying to get things back together
    house of representatives and a senate
    Problems: lack of money, lack of trust from the people
  • Napoleon Bonaparte's Coup D'État

    "First Consul" of 5 people...then 3...then 1.
    championed french revolution ideals (Liberty, etc.)
    crowned himself emperor brings back the authoritarian nature of france (basically the same as a king)
    born in corsica, italy, corsican nationalist, but he lead an invasion of italy
  • La Vestale- Spontini

    precursor to grand opera
  • Les Abencérages- Cherubini

    precursor to grand opera
  • The Bourbon Restoration

    Bourbon Restorationbourbon monarchy re-instated
  • Napoleon exiled to Elba (island of)

  • Napoleon's 100 Days

    leads french army in "100 Days"
    "meets his waterloo" (Waterloo, Belgium against the Duke of Wellington) and is defeated! on July 8 1814 (actually 111 days)
  • Napoleon exiled to St. Helena Island

    off the coast of africa
    died there in 1821
  • Meyerbeer starts studying in Italy

    (sometime in 1816) where he met Rossini
  • Il crociato in Egitto- Meyerbeer

    premiered in venice
    meyerbeer in Italy!!!
  • La Muette de Portici-Daniel Auber

    thought of as the first grand opera!!!
  • Guillaume Tell- Rossini

    grand opera
  • The July Revolution

    overthrew Charles X
    because of his policies
    he was forced to flee
    Replaced by Louis-Phlippe d'Orleans: called himself King of the French (emphasized that the people gave him his power)
    grand opera flourished under the july monarchy
    he refused to allow anti-monarchists to meet
  • Robert le Diable-Meyerbeer

    grand opera
    opened successfully in Paris
    helped by the fact that he paid the Opera a substantial amount of money to have it performed there (it helps to be rich!)
  • La Juive- Halevy

    plea for religious freedom
    grand opera
  • Les Huguenots

    Grand Opera
    3 years late
    he paid a contractual fee for its lateness (helps to be rich!)
    libretto problems, he was dissatisfied with Scribe (librettist), went to Italy to work with Gaetano Rossi, his old librettist
    hired a translator (Emile Deschamps) to translate it back to french from italian
    had to shorten it by 45 minutes in the last month of rehearsals
    most successful opera of the 19th century
    performed over 1000 times at the Opera
    opened the modern Covent Garden Theatre in 1858
  • Georges Bizet born

    born: Alexandre Cesar Leopold Bizet (baptized "Georges" in 1840)
    student at the conservatoire; won the Prix de Rome competition at 19 (artists get money to spend living and working with other artists in Rome)
    early compositions: mostly songs and transcriptions of (other songs) symphonies etc for piano
    amazing pianist
    while in rome, he wrote some smaller works, including one opera-sent to the board at rome to show you're working
    by 1860, returned to Paris to see his ill mother, set sights on O.C.
  • Napoleon III elected president

    country's first election
    won by a landslide
  • Realism begins

    began some time in 1850s
    b/c of science, the realest of things
    chemical and technological improvements
    political upheaval, industrialization, urbanized society
    philosophical balancing act
    artistic consequences: poverty and freedom (gov'ts were interested in numbers not grandeur and art- end of patronage!)
  • Coup- Napoleon III crowns himself Emperor

    Foreign Policy was problematic-aggressive against every neighbouring country
  • Les Troyens- Berlioz

    berlioz composed this from 1856-1858, saw the second half of it performed, but never the whole thing
    the opera was closed when he finished it, so a smaller troupe performed the last three acts, very popular, this premiered in 1863
  • Claude Debussy born

    born in Paris, moved to Cannes in 1870-joined conservatoire
    won prix de rome (1884)
    did not like rome or his experiences there
    1888-went to germany to familiarize himself with wagner's operas
    labelled impressionist composer, did not like the title (initially derogatory)
    unconventional harmonic progressions, questioned tonalities
    married LIlly Textier- fashion model in 1899
    fell in love with emma bardac in 1904
    lilly tried to commit suicide
    had a child- Claude-Emma with emma
    married emma in 1908
  • Les pecheurs de perles- Bizet

    Bizet's first staged opera at Theatre Lyrique
    opera comique
  • Impressionism in painting begins!

    Sometime in 1863 Manet's Luncheon in the Grass was rejected from "Salon de Paris" art show. this started impressionist movement
    in front of the thing itself (usually outdoors)
    camera was invented, painters didn't want to paint things as they literally were, but how they perceived them, without any greater or moral meaning
    at different times of day- physics was making discoveries about light
    Manet, Monet, Degas, Renoir,
    movement lasted about 12 years
  • Meyerbeer dies

  • Austro-Prussian War

    didn't come to austria's aid in austrian/prussian conflict (basically Germany) conflict in 1866)
    didn't demand anything in return from Prussia (Bismarck)- bad diplomatic move
    so Prussia stepped in when France annexed Belgium and Luxembourg
    ends August 23 1866
  • La jolie fille de Perth- Bizet

    opera comique
    staged at theatre lyrique
    after this he runs out of grant money from rome, decided to predominantly earn money teaching and transcribing for piano
    married daughter of Halevy in 1869
  • Who will be the Spanish King?

    some time in 1868: who will be the Spanish King? Vacancy in the Spanish nobility-competing interest sparks a war
    france doesn't want a Prussian- translated into insult by Bismarck
    french find out bismarck twisted naopleon III's words: this means war
  • Franco-Prussian War

    till 10 May 1871 Germans (Prussians) get the upper hand
    War keeps going even after Napoleon III is captured (under new French gov't- Government of National Defence, but they keep getting beat)
    Paris is captured in May 1871; treaty signed giving the territories of Alsace/Lorraine back to the Germans
    This war brought Germany as a nation together
  • Bizet joins the army!

    some time in 1870
    said that the quality of their guns are more of a threat to themselves than the enemy
    stayed in Paris when the Prussians took over but fled Paris with his wife when the Commune took over, then came back to the outskirts of town
  • The Paris Commune

    ended 28 may 1871 Government of Paris wants to rule the entire country (hard-core leftish, ideological communists, enforced these policies in a brutal way)
    socialist (had a red socialist flag flying over paris)
    national army fought back
    commune wanted to return to the early days of the Republic (adopt french republican calendar again, etc)
    suppressed by French forces in "the bloody week" beginning may 28 1871
  • Bizet starts working on Carmen

    some time in 1872
    abandoned it when the plot became too violent for opera comique rules
    two directors at O.C. said no.
  • Bizet starts work on Carmen (again)

    some time in 1874
    the one director at Opera Comique that didn't like Carmen resigned, so Bizet starts again!
    mix of exoticism and realism= scandal
    some spoken dialogue (fits with o.c. tradition)
    tragic ending (new for o.c.)
    spanish "flair" (e.g. habanera, toreador song)
  • Premiere of Carmen- Georges Bizet

    finally premiered to luke-warm, disappointing reception
    became more popular when Bizet died suddenly during its run!
  • Georges Bizet dies

    with Carmen still running at Opera Comique, Bizet went on holiday outside of Paris
    went for a swim in the Seine river
    next day: high fever and heart attack
    day after that, recovered
    day after that: another heart attack, DIES!
    Funnily enough, this gave Carmen the boost it needed. Everyone LOVED it once he was dead!
  • Symbolism begins

    began some time in the 1880s
    using artistic tools to make an impression or experience for the viewer
    see Pelleas and Melisande reading!!!
  • Post-impressionism begins

    emotion put back into the impression
    van gogh, gauguin
    begand some time in 1886
    ended in 1892
  • Pelléas et Mélisande

    symbolist play by Maurice Maeterlinck (1862-1942)
    play first performed in 1892
    merges material and imaginary worlds
    theatrical version of an impress. painting
    symbols act as characters onstage
    sea, forest, fountain, well- THe Unconscious
    premiere of opera in 1902- water is voiced by the orchestra (sea, fountain, and well) rep. how experience floats over people
    more of a symph. poem with running commentary by the singers than a conv. opera
  • Pelléas et Mélisande continued

    avoids melody because it is anti-lyric and powerless to express the constant change of motion or life
    no aria/recit forms: just natural sounding french recit lines throughout- connection to Wagner