If before you were Billboard weekly or decadal repertoire of all Opera houses in the country, almost in each of them you would have found the names of one, two, and possibly three operas written by French composers. In any case, it is difficult to imagine such an Opera troupe, which would not put the “Carmen” of Georges Bizet or “Faust” by Charles Gounod. Undoubtedly, these works included in the Golden Fund of world Opera classics, and time has no power to force them to tarnish their wonderful musical paint. Generations replace each other, but the popularity of these masterpieces of Visa and Gounod did not weaken.
But, of course, the importance of French Opera in the historical development of this genre is not limited to the named works of Gounod and Visa. Starting with Jean Baptiste Lully (1632-1687), French culture can rightfully be proud of many and many of its composers, who left a valuable legacy in the field of musical theatre. The best examples of this heritage had a marked influence on the development of other national schools of Opera.
In April 1659 in Paris, put the piece “Pastorale Issy”. The authors of its music and lyrics French: Robert Kamber and Pierre Perrin. The score of the play has not survived, but remained a poster, indicating that “pastoral” was listed as the “first French Comedy, set to music and presented in France”. Sometime later, in 1671, the pastoral “Pomona” by the same authors Camber and Perrin opens the “Royal Academy of music”.
Louis XIV gives Perino patent, according to which the latter is fully responsible for the performance at the Academy Opera. But soon the reins of “the Royal Academy of music” pass to Jean the Baptiste Lully, a man of great intelligence, boundless energy and a comprehensive musical talent. On his share and had an important historic mission to become the founder of the French national Opera.
The legacy of Lully represented by such musical theater works like “Armida”, “Roland”, “Bellerophon”, “Theseus”, “ISIS”. They French Opera established itself as a lyrical tragedy (the word “lyrical” in those days was understood to be music, singing tragedy). The latest stories are based on events of ancient history or Greek mythology.
In Opera scores by Lully many heroic and lyrical moments, genre scenes and episodes. The composer has a wonderful sense of the nature of the voices, it sound great solo vocals, ensembles, choirs. It Lully subsequent generations of musicians of France required that in their operas the recitative scenes that convey the melodiousness of the French language. Lully is an outstanding master of orchestral writing. Its colorful diverse tools, extensive sound palette, especially in those cases where the composer refers to the image patterns of nature.
Following Lully largest figure in the genre of Opera was Jean Philippe Rameau (1683-1764), in His “Hippolytus”, “Gallant India”, “Castor and Pollux”, “Triumph Hebe”, “Dardanus” and other works continue and develop the tradition of Lully, Marked by exquisite taste, they always melodic, vividly theatrical. The significant attention pays Rameau dance scenes. We note in passing that whatever further or varied stylistic features of French support, the element of dance will always play a huge role.
Operas by Rameau, like his predecessor Lully, of course, belonged to a significant phenomenon of the cultural life of Paris of Louis XV. However, the era characterized by rapid sociopolitical development of all the puff of the French nation, were not satisfied with traditional artistic ideas and forms. Increased tastes and demands of the Parisian bourgeois is not consistent with the musical style operas of the Lully Rameau, with their tragic stories drawn from ancient Greek and biblical myths. Reality powerfully suggested figures of music, new images, themes, plots. Prompted new Opera genre. So in the middle of the XVIII century in France, was born of a national comic Opera.
Its origins a truly Parisian farce and fair view. Sharply satirical in their intent, they ridiculed the mores of the ruling classes the aristocracy, the clergy. Were created as parodies of drama and Opera. The authors of this kind of ideas readily used the melodies that existed in the nation.
The emergence of French comic Opera influenced “The Servant mistress” by G. Verdi. Pergolesi, with which the Parisians I met in 1752, during a tour of the Italian troupe. Since then, the French comic Opera understands the peculiarity of the Italian music action scenes punctuated by spoken interludes.
In the same 1752, when Paris was “The Servant mistress”, Jean Jacques Rousseau wrote his “Village magician”. Here are not only purely external forms of Comedy. The “Village magician” claims a fundamentally new type of musical play: legendary figures and mythological characters are replaced by the French Opera stage ordinary people with their everyday interests, joys and sorrows.
Along with J.J. Rousseau French comic Opera owes much to the talent of composers such as E. R. Duni (1709-1775), P. A. Monsigny (1729-1817). F. A. Philidor (1726-1795) and A. E. M. Gretry (1741-1813). In collaboration with P. Lesage, S. Favart, J. F. Marmontel and other librettists, they provide excellent examples of national musical Comedy. In its evolution it is, of course, is undergoing significant changes primarily in terms of the story.
Along with fun and exciting intrigue of the libretto for a new comic operas find a place sensitive, sentimental mood, sometimes large and dramatic feelings. These features noted, in particular, “The Deserter” Monsigny, “Nina, or Mad love”, N. Dalarna and in particular the best establishment Gretry “Richard the Lionheart”. In these Mature works musical traits of the romantic Opera the next, XIX century.
While the genre of comic Opera develops significantly in comparison with the first experiments in this field, “The Royal Academy of music” dominated by the spirit of the strict classical opera, themes and style which is close to the creative school of Gluck. These are the “Tarare” Antonio Salieri, “Oedipus at Colonus” Antonio Sacchini, “Il demofonte” Luigi Cherubini.
In our story about the history of French Opera, not by accident named the name of the German composer Christoph Willibald Gluck. Shortly before the victory of the French bourgeois revolution of 1789 Paris with deep interest the activities of Gluck, chose the French capital the artistic arena, where was held in the life of his famous Opera reform. Glitch was based on the French lyrical tragedy.
He, however, refused purely decorative luxury, beating on the external effect and characteristic views of the Royal era Lully Rameau. All the aspirations of the composer, all of his means of expression was subordinated to one goal: to make the Opera meaningful naturally and logically developing musical drama. High artistic achievements of Gluck, in varying degrees, have used all school of Opera, including the French Opera house.
The storming of the Bastille (14 Jul 1789) marks the beginning of the revolution in France. Dramatically change all aspects of public and political life of the country. However, curiously, this short, but intense turbulent events of the era is not marked by such operatic works, which artistically significant images captured the grandeur of the event. Vigorous public life made the creative efforts of French composers and those who found in France a second home (for example, Luigi Cherubini), in a different channel.
It creates a huge amount of marches, revolutionary songs (among them such masterpieces as “All. Forward” and “Carmagnola” anonymous authors, “La Marseillaise” Rouget de Lille), choral and orchestral works, intended for an audience in the streets and squares, for parades and processions, a large scale national festivals. At the same time, Opera does not rise above musical and dramatic performances Gretry type “Offering Freedom”, “Triumph of the Republic” or “Republican darling”. Named works were put on stage “Royal Academy of music”, which was renamed at that time in the “theatre of the national Opera”. In the days when the monarchy collapsed l was executed king Louis XVI, they signified themselves to the destruction of strict classical style, originating from the time of Lully.