“We cannot seem to be rid of kings” (ix). Olivia Bloechl begins her original and provocative new monograph with a succinct assessment of French operatic historiography. The foundations of the tragédie en musique are indelibly associated with the court of Louis XIV, and in writings on the genre, both venerable and recent, the specter of absolutist politics looms large. How and to what extent were the lofty ideals of the Bourbon regime reflected in the messier realities of the creation and reception of its public art? In Opera and the Political Imaginary in Old Regime France, Bloechl does not dismiss the oft-discussed links between monarchical rule and the conventions and topics of lyric tragedy. Indeed, in her telling the thematics of the tragédie en musique remained remarkably consistent—and in several respects remarkably conservative—from Lullian origins through the late eighteenth century. Bloechl's primary contribution is rather to nuance and reorient...
Review: Opera and the Political Imaginary in Old Regime France, by Olivia Bloechl
JULIA DOE is Assistant Professor of Music at Columbia University. She is the recipient of the Alfred Einstein and M. Elizabeth C. Bartlet awards from the American Musicological Society, and of grants from the National Endowment for the Humanities and the Fulbright Program. Her recent articles have appeared in this Journal and Eighteenth-Century Music. Her book The Comedians of the King is under contract with the University of Chicago Press.
Julia Doe; Review: Opera and the Political Imaginary in Old Regime France, by Olivia Bloechl. Journal of the American Musicological Society 1 December 2019; 72 (3): 880–885. doi: https://doi.org/10.1525/jams.2019.72.3.880
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