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Classic staging: Pauline Viardot and the 1859 Orphée revival

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  25 January 2012


The 1859 revival of Gluck's Orphée, reworked for the occasion by Berlioz, was one of a series of operatic résurrections staged at the Théâtre-Lyrique in Paris during the Second Empire. Starring Pauline Viardot (1821–1910) in the title role, it was the first major revival of Gluck's opera since the 1820s and attracted considerable attention in the press and elsewhere. Critics and others were fascinated by Viardot's dramatic presence on stage, producing images (both in pictures and words) of her Orpheus that are often striking in their awareness of time past. Indeed, ambivalence about the past and its artefacts might be said to haunt the reception of a work – and performer – many designated as the epitome of the classique. Contextualising this Orphée within the changing meanings of the term classique in the mid-nineteenth century, the article focuses on a particularly revealing moment in the transition between an operatic culture based on new works and one ever more reliant on revivals of acknowledged masterpieces.

Research Article
Copyright © Cambridge University Press 2012

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1 For a detailed study of the modifications Berlioz made in creating an amalgam of Gluck's Orfeo ed Euridice (Vienna, 1762) and Orphée et Eurydice (Paris, 1774), with the role of Orpheus adapted for female contralto, see Fauquet, Joël-Marie, ‘Berlioz's Version of Gluck's Orphée’, in Berlioz Studies, ed. Bloom, Peter (Cambridge, 2006), 189253Google Scholar. Viardot's voice had a huge range (three octaves by some accounts): a result of its artificial extension in youth. I follow April Fitzlyon in her designation of the singer as a mezzo-soprano; see April Fitzlyon, ‘Viardot [née García], (Michelle Ferdinande) Pauline’, in The New Grove Dictionary of Opera (Oxford Music Online, accessed 11 July 2010).

2 The standard and most reliable English-language biography of Viardot remains Fitzlyon, April's The Price of Genius: A Life of Pauline Viardot (London, 1964)Google Scholar.

3 Her final performance was at the Théâtre-Lyrique on 24 April 1863, as Orpheus. According to Fitzlyon, Gluck's opera was staged for Viardot's farewell ‘by general request’ and was received so enthusiastically that it had to be repeated (Fitzlyon, Price of Genius, 371). Following official retirement she continued to perform on minor European stages, and in concert; among other significant appearances, she gave the first public performance of Brahms's Alto Rhapsody on 3 March 1870 in Jena. Nonetheless, the vocal problems that had led to her early retirement worsened; she never publicly performed either Saint-Saëns's Dalila or Berlioz's Cassandre or Didon in Les Troyens – roles originally conceived with her in mind. For more on Viardot's retirement, see Fitzlyon, Price of Genius, 371ff.

4 The most recent biography, Barbier, Patrice's Pauline Viardot (Paris, 2009)Google Scholar, dedicates an entire chapter to her 1859 Orpheus; Barbier describes the Gluck revival as one of the ‘plus grandes triomphes du siècle’ (219); and one of his chapter's sections is entitled, ‘Orphée ou l'apothéose d'une carrière’ (213).

5 Alain Plessis uses the phrase to refer to the period from 1852 to 1861, during which Napoléon III's regime was at its most stable and popular; see Plessis, , The Rise and Fall of the Second Empire, 1852–1871, trans. Mandelbaum, Jonathan (Cambridge, 1987), 132–51Google Scholar.

6 I use the term here with all three elements of its modern primary sense in mind: ‘1a. An object made or modified by human workmanship, as opposed to one formed by natural processes. b. Archeol. An excavated object that shows characteristic signs of human workmanship or use. c. In fantasy role-playing games, computer games etc.: an object which may be found or collected by a player, typically conferring an advantage in the game.’ (Oxford English Dictionary, accessed 13 June 2011). The less common sense of c. particularly interests me in the context of a gradual redistribution of cultural or historical value in mid-nineteenth-century operatic practices.

7 Kracauer, Siegfried, Jacques Offenbach and the Paris of His Time (1937; rpt. New York, 2002), particularly 204–13 and 215–26Google Scholar.

8 For more on early nineteenth-century revivals of Orphée in Paris, see Fauquet, ‘Berlioz's Version of Gluck's Orphée’, 191–3.

9 See Ellis, Katharine, Musical Criticism in Nineteenth-Century France (Cambridge, 1995), 83CrossRefGoogle Scholar.

10 The nineteenth-century reception of Gluck in German-speaking countries was another matter; see, for instance, Rehding, Alexander's Music and Monumentality: Commemoration and Wonderment in Nineteenth-Century Germany (Oxford, 2009), in particular ‘Classical Values’, 109–40CrossRefGoogle Scholar.

11 Peculiar as it may now seem, and despite the widespread use of other Orphic tropes, very few critics mentioned Offenbach's work; the majority either preferred to avoid such musical disrespect or ignored the comparison entirely, so wide was the chasm of taste thought to separate the Bouffes-Parisiens from true opéra.

12 De Charbales, ‘Théâtre-Lyrique. – Orphée de Gluck’, La Vie moderne (23 November 1859). Precisely how Gluck's opera came to be revived in relatively unpromising circumstances remains unclear: the initial impulse has been attributed variously to Berlioz, Carvalho (director of the Théâtre-Lyrique 1855–60 and again 1862–8) and even to Meyerbeer. Fitzlyon's suggestion of Carvalho seems the most convincing (The Price of Genius, 345); Fauquet attributes more agency to Berlioz himself (‘Berlioz's Version of Gluck's Orphée’, 195); D. Kern Holoman reports that Meyerbeer suggested a revival of Orphée to Viardot; see his Berlioz (London, 1989), 494Google Scholar.

13 ‘le seul théâtre musical de Paris qui mérite qu'on se dérange’; Paul Scudo, ‘L’Orphée de Gluck’, Revue des deux mondes (November–December 1859), 726.

14 See Ellis, Katharine, ‘Systems Failure in Operatic Paris: The Acid Test of the Théâtre-Lyrique’, in Music, Theater and Cultural Transfer: Paris, 1830–1914, ed. Fauser, Annegret and Everist, Mark (Chicago, 2009), 58Google Scholar.

15 See Ellis, ‘Systems Failure’, 58.

16 The exact phrase is Charles Desolmes's (‘L'Orphée de Gluck au Théâtre-Lyrique’, L'Europe Artiste (27 November 1859)), but similar ideas appear elsewhere.

17 For a table of the most frequently performed operas at the Théâtre-Lyrique during the Second Empire (including Orphée), see Ellis, ‘Systems Failure’, 55. As Ellis has shown elsewhere, the vogue for early music in nineteenth-century France began in the first half of the century with instrumental and choral music, in particular with Choron's choir school and the concerts historiques devised by Fétis. See her Interpreting the Musical Past: Early Music in Nineteenth-Century France (New York, 2005), 4380Google Scholar.

18 Desolme, ‘L'Orphée de Gluck au Théâtre-Lyrique’. The seminal modern text about this ‘museum’ is, of course, Goehr, Lydia's The Imaginary Museum of Musical Works (Oxford, 1992)Google Scholar.

19 See, for example, Calinescu, Matei, The Five Faces of Modernity (Durham, NC, 1987)Google Scholar and Harvey, David, Paris, Capital of Modernity (New York, 2006)Google Scholar.

20 For more on the rise of heritage culture in Second Empire Paris, see Harvey, Paris, Capital of Modernity, 152. The standard text on the modernisation of the capital under Haussmann remains Pinkney, David H., Napoleon III and the Rebuilding of Paris (Princeton, 1958)Google Scholar. For more recent accounts, see Jordan, David P., Transforming Paris: The Life and Labors of Baron Haussmann (New York, 1995)Google Scholar and Carmona, Michel, Haussmann (Paris, 2000)Google Scholar, translated by Camiller, Patrick as Haussmann: His Life and Times, and the Making of Modern Paris (Chicago, 2002)Google Scholar. Priscilla Parkhurst Ferguson has observed a ‘revolution of representation’ during the Second Empire directly connected to Haussmannisation. She notes that, as one of his first acts after being appointed Prefect of the Seine in 1853, Haussmann assigned the city a new seal drawing on a conspicuously older iconographic tradition; as Ferguson suggests, ‘Urban renewal at midcentury began … with a deliberate link to the old’; Ferguson, , Paris as Revolution: Writing the 19th-Century City (Berkeley, 1994), 117Google Scholar.

21 White, Hayden, Metahistory: The Historical Imagination in Nineteenth-Century Europe (Baltimore, 1975), 39Google Scholar.

22 The author was Aristide Farrenc, who went on to edit one of the first major collections of early keyboard music, Le Trésor des pianistes (Paris, 1861). For more on Farrenc, see Ellis, Musical Criticism in Nineteenth-Century France, 61. For Farrenc's historical series, see ‘Le Chevalier Gluck et la partition d'Orphée’, La France musicale (27 November 1859; 4 December 1859; 18 December 1859; 25 December 1859; 1 January 1860; 8 January 1860; 15 January 1860).

23 Fiorentino, P.-A., ‘Dialogue des morts et des vivans’, Le Constitutionnel (21 November 1859)Google Scholar.

24 ‘Opéra – Lulli – Rameau – J. J. Rousseau – Gluck’, Le Ménestrel (in fourteen instalments from 11 December 1859 to 29 April 1860).

25 ‘Imaginez un chef-d'œuvre de Corneille sortant, à la Comédie Française, d'un demi-siècle d'oubli, reprenant la vie et souffle par la voix d'une admirable interprète; c'est l'effet qui vient de produire au Théâtre-Lyrique la reprise de l'Orphée de Gluck’; de Saint-Victor, Paul, ‘Théâtre-Lyrique: Orphée’, La Presse (27 November 1859)Google Scholar.

26 ‘fiers et sobres génies bien dignes de représenter l'idéal de l'art de la France’; Scudo, ‘L'Orphée de Gluck’, 729. For more on the nineteenth-century reception of Virgil in France, see Haynes, Kenneth, ‘Classic Vergil’, in A Companion to Vergil's Aeneid and its Tradition, ed. Farrell, Joseph and Putnam, Michael C. J. (Chichester, 2010), 421–34Google Scholar.

27 Léon Escudier makes a similar rhetorical move in his review, divining in Gluck's music ‘le charme de Raphaël, uni à la grandeur et à l'énergie de Corneille’; Escudier, ‘Théâtre-Lyrique. Orphée de Gluck’, La France musicale (20 November 1859), 462.

28 ‘nous nous demandions si, depuis Gluck, la musique … avait réellement fait de progrès. Je crois qu'il est permis d'en douter’; Philippe Martin, ‘Revue des Théâtres Lyriques’, L'Univers musical (20 November 1859), 171. For other reviews of Orphée that address the question of its relationship to cultural or historical progress, see, for instance: Le Constitutionnel (21 November 1859), which emphasises the technical progress made in musical instruments since Gluck's lifetime; Le Siècle (22 November 1859), which notes the progress made in modern music as part of an argument against Carvalho's privileging of the music of dead composers at the Lyrique; and Revue des deux mondes (November–December 1859), which contrasts the technological progress made in recent times with the timeless beauty of great art.

29 ‘L'art moderne est-il réellement à bout de force et d'inspiration, et doit-il voiler sa tête pour se préparer à mourir, ou bien a-t-il encore en lui assez de jeunesse et de vigueur pour espérer de nouveaux triomphes?’ Louis Jourdan; quoted in Anon., ‘Exposition de peinture et de sculpture. 1859’, Almanach de la littérature, du théâtre et des beaux-arts, 8 (1860), 55.

30 ‘Qui aurait pu affirmer qu'après quatre-vingt-six ans, la musique d'Orphée produirait, sur la génération actuelle, une impression profonde?’ Escudier, ‘Théâtre-Lyrique. Orphée de Gluck’, 461. Escudier's mathematics lagged behind his critical acuity: the French version of Gluck's opera was eighty-five years old in 1859.

31Orphée est presque centenaire, et après un siècle d'évolutions, de révolutions, d'agitations diverses, dans l'art et dans tout, cette œuvre a profondément attendri et charmé l'assemblée choisie …’; Berlioz, Hector, ‘Théâtre-Lyrique. Première représentation d'Orphée’, Journal des débats (22 November 1859)Google Scholar.

32 Desolme, ‘L'Orphée de Gluck au Théâtre-Lyrique’; Escudier, ‘Théâtre-Lyrique. Orphée de Gluck’, 463; Perrin, Émile, ‘Chronique musicale: Gluck au Théâtre-Lyrique’, Revue Européenne 6 (1859), 208Google Scholar.

33 Martin, ‘Revue des Théâtres Lyriques’, 172.

34 The Larousse Dictionnaire étymologique dates ‘classique’ (meaning a first-class writer) to 1548. Le Grand Robert de la langue française traces its additional implication of paradigmatic status to 1611, with specific reference to the works or authors of antiquity particularly common during the eighteenth century; Voltaire is credited as the first to use the term in relation to the Grand Siècle.

35 See Haynes, ‘Classic Vergil’, 429.

36 ‘Un classique, d'après la définition ordinaire, c'est un auteur ancien, déjà consacré dans l'admiration, et qui fait autorité en son genre’. Le Constitutionnel (21 October 1850); quoted in Prendergast, Christopher, The Classic: Sainte-Beuve and the Nineteenth-Century Culture Wars (Oxford, 2007), 21CrossRefGoogle Scholar.

37 The apparent timelessness of the Sainte-Beuvian classic is obviously linked to the new meaning of modernité identified in Baudelaire's 1863 ‘The Painter of Modern Life’ by Calinescu, who notes that the term lost its descriptive function and thus ‘can no longer serve as a criterion for cutting out from the historical process a segment that might be convincingly designated as the present and, in that capacity, be compared to the past either wholly or in certain specific respects’; Calinescu, Five Faces of Modernity, 49.

38 See Ellis, Musical Criticism in Nineteenth-Century France, 5. For more on the idea of the canon in nineteenth-century opera, see Ellis, ‘Systems Failure’ and Weber, William, The Great Transformation of Musical Taste: Concert Programming from Haydn to Brahms (Cambridge, 2008)Google Scholar.

39 ‘le familiariser aux belles œuvres des temps passés, c'est affermir son pas vers l'avenir, c'est ouvrir ses yeux sur le présent’; Perrin, ‘Chronique musicale: Gluck au Théâtre-Lyrique’, 208. The fact that Perrin was the director responsible for the revival of Alceste at the Opéra in 1861 makes this statement more significant still (if a little self-serving).

40 ‘Il ne suffit pas de chanter, pour être une cantatrice; il faut avoir le sentiment de la forme visible … Un opéra n'est pas un concert’; Ulbach, Louis, ‘L'Orphée de Gluck. – Madame Viardot’, Gazette des beaux-arts (January–March 1860), 100Google Scholar.

41 ‘s'est étudié à mettre dans le côté plastique de son rôle autant de vérité qu'elle mettait d'idéal dans l'interprétation de la musique’; Ulbach, ‘L'Orphée de Gluck. – Madame Viardot’, 100.

42 ‘Mme. Viardot s'est montrée aussi grande tragédienne que grande cantatrice. Attitudes, gestes, diction, chant, tout est vraiment admirable en elle’; Barry, G. W., ‘Théâtre-Lyrique. L'Orphée de Gluck et ses interprètes’, Le Monde dramatique (8 December 1859)Google Scholar.

43 For more on Rachel and French tragedy in the mid-nineteenth century, see Brownstein, Rachel M., The Tragic Muse: Rachel of the Comédie-Française (New York, 1993)Google Scholar and Booth, Michael R., Stokes, John and Bassnett, Susan, Three Tragic Actresses: Siddons, Rachel, Ristori (Cambridge, 1996)Google Scholar.

44 ‘Le chant et le jeu de Mme. Viardot ont dépassé pour moi toute attente. Je n'ai jamais rien vu, pas même Rachel, qui approchât de cette beauté plastique, et de cette liberté, dans le sentiment de l'antique. On ne sent là rien de voulu, rien de cherché, rien qui rappelle l'école. Elle m'a fait constamment penser aux plus beaux bas-reliefs et vases grecs’; 25 April 1861, quoted in Dupêchez, Charles, Marie d'Agoult, 1805–1876 (Paris, 1994), 264Google Scholar.

45 Chorley, Henry, Thirty Years' Musical Recollections, II (London, 1862), 58Google Scholar. A ‘Correspondance d'Angleterre’ reporting on this private performance at Dudley House was published in La France musicale (29 July 1860), dated 25 July. For more on this performance, see Kendall-Smith, Barbara, The Life and Work of Pauline Viardot-García. Vol. I: The Years of Fame, 1836–1863 (Amersham, 2003), 417–18Google Scholar.

46 ‘Sa pantomime … a la beauté d'un marbre ému, d'une sculpture qui se mettrait à vivre’; Saint-Victor, ‘Théâtre-Lyrique: Orphée’.

47 The proximity of this image to Ovid's Pygmalion – the love-struck sculptor who caressed his statue only to find, ‘beneath his touch the flesh / Grew soft, its ivory hardness vanishing’ – is interesting, given how widely reproduced that myth was by the mid-nineteenth century; Ovid, Metamorphoses, trans. Melville, A. D. (Oxford, 1986), 233Google Scholar. David Scott has observed that at this time those writing about art and sculpture saw their work in the same mythological terms as Ovid's famous creator: their vocation was ‘to breathe life through their poetry into the perfect but mute images’. Conceived thus, as a metaphor for critical ventriloquism of a silent artwork, the awakening of Pygmalion's sculpture no longer pivots on the divine intervention of a compassionate Venus, but on the sculptor's own inspiration. See Scott, David, ‘Matter for Reflection: Nineteenth-Century French Art Critics' Quest for Modernity in Sculpture’, in Impressions of French Modernity: Art and Literature in France 1850–1900, ed. Hobbs, Richard (Manchester, 1998), 104Google Scholar.

48 For more on Pasta and the statuesque, see Rutherford, Susan, ‘“La cantante delle passioni”: Giuditta Pasta and the Idea of Operatic Performance’, this journal, 19 (2007), 107–38Google Scholar.

49 Gautier's ‘Contralto’, with its ‘statue énigmatique’, is an obvious example of this tendency, one all the more significant here following the suggestion of Felicia Miller Frank that Gautier may have had Viardot in mind as the eponymous ‘Contralto, bizarre mélange, / Hermaphrodite de la voix!’; see Frank, Miller, The Mechanical Song: Women, Voice, and the Artificial in Nineteenth-Century French Narrative (Stanford, 1995), 109Google Scholar.

50 Clark, Maribeth, ‘Bodies at the Opéra: Art and the Hermaphrodite in the Dance Criticism of Théophile Gautier’, in Reading Critics Reading: Opera and Ballet Criticism in France from the Revolution to 1848, ed. Parker, Roger and Smart, Mary Ann (Oxford, 2001), 237–53, at 238Google Scholar.

51 For more on the discursive relationship between genius and animation, see Nead, Lynda, The Haunted Gallery: Painting, Photography, Film c. 1900 (New Haven and London, 2007), 46Google Scholar. This modified version of the statuesque trope (particularly as phrased by Saint-Victor) recalls very closely a report of Rachel's performance of ‘La Marseillaise’ as a Republican live allegory in 1849, which makes clear the symbolic association of the actor's statuesque qualities and her interpretative genius in an overtly political context. An article in L'Artiste (9 April 1849) refers to ‘the altogether sculptural poses of Mademoiselle Rachel when she sings the Marseillaise. What an eloquent symbol of pride, audacity and verve! It is so noble that it could be marble, but this is marble palpitating with life’; quoted in Agulhon, Maurice, Marianne into Battle: Republican Imagery and Symbolism in France, 1789–1880, trans. Lloyd, Janet (Cambridge, 1981), 90Google Scholar.

52 ‘A ses accents, l'antiquité sort de l'oubli’; Martin, ‘Revue des Théâtres Lyriques’, 71.

53 In full, the passage reads: Viardot, ‘dans le rôle de Fidès, a déployé un talent dramatique dont on ne la croyait pas (en France) douée si éminemment. Toutes ses attitudes, ses gestes, sa physionomie, son costume même sont étudiés avec un art profond. Quant à la perfection de son chant, à l'extrême habileté de sa vocalisation, à son assurance musicale, ce sont choses connues et appréciées de tout le monde, même à Paris’; Berlioz, Hector, ‘Théâtre de l'Opéra. Première représentation de Prophète’, Journal des débats (20 April 1849)Google Scholar.

54 Morley, Henry, The Journal of a London Playgoer 1851–1866 (London, 1866), 90–1Google Scholar.

55 The now-canonical account of nineteenth-century changes and developments in visual culture in general is Crary, Jonathan, Techniques of the Observer: On Vision and Modernity in the Nineteenth Century (Cambridge, MA, 1991)Google Scholar.

56 ‘Les peintres et les statuaires ne l'admirent pas moins que les littérateurs et les musiciens. A l'une des dernières soirées, à côté de certains spectateurs qui lisaient la partition de Gluck, on remarquait des dessinateurs occupés à copier les poses, les attitudes sculpturales de l'actrice’; Berlioz, Hector, ‘Théâtre-Lyrique. Orphée, Guignol, Mme. Viardot, Gluck, un plagiat de Philidor. Fidelio’, Journal des débats (9 December 1859)Google Scholar.

57 In the context of the dynamics of the singer portrait as outlined here it is useful to recall Richard Dyer's work on stars; although his focus is on the film stars of the mid-twentieth century, his conceptualisation of the production of the ‘star image’ of the performer is nonetheless suggestive for Viardot a century earlier. Stars, Dyer writes, ‘are involved in making themselves into commodities; they are both labour and the thing that labour produces. They do not produce themselves alone’; see Dyer, Richard, Heavenly Bodies: Film Stars and Society (London, 2005), 5Google Scholar.

58 These images may be viewed using Gallica, the BnF's digital library, and are located in the collection, ‘Pauline Viardot (1821–1910): [portraits et documents]’. See (accessed 9 August 2010).

59 In a letter to Julius Rietz (dated 21 November 1859), Viardot described her costume for the revival in some detail: ‘My costume was thought to be very handsome – a white tunic falling to the knees – a white mantle caught up at both shoulders à l'Apollon. Flowing tresses, curled, with the crown of laurel. A chain of gold to support the sword, whose sheath is red. A red cord around the waist – buskins white, laced with red’; translated and printed in Viardot-García, Pauline and Baker, Theodore, ‘Pauline Viardot-García to Julius Rietz (Letters of Friendship) [Concluded]’, Musical Quarterly, 2/1 (January 1916), 46Google Scholar.

60 For more on this trend and on the training of artists, see Waller, Susan S., The Invention of the Model: Artists and Models in Paris, 1830–1870 (Aldershot, 2006), 45Google Scholar.

61 The underlying division here between the functionality of the so-called ‘useful arts’ and the ideal qualities of the fine arts has, of course, a long and distinguished history. A pertinent footnote to this history has recently been provided by Leo Marx, who has traced the emergence of the concept of ‘technology’ alongside and within such a division: Marx suggests that the term enabled and embodied a further separation between ‘dirty’ industrial processes and ‘clean’ modern science, with ‘technology’ accruing for the latter the ‘elevated status long ago accorded the fine arts’; see Marx, Leo, ‘Technology: The Emergence of a Hazardous Concept’, Technology and Culture, 51/3 (July 2010), 573–4Google Scholar.

62 ‘La photographie est impersonnelle; elle n'interprète pas, elle copie; là est sa faiblesse comme sa force, car elle rend avec la même indifférence le détail oiseux et ce rien à peine visible, à peine sensible, qui donne l'âme et fait la ressemblance’; Burty, Philippe, ‘Exposition de la Société française de photographie’, Gazette des beaux-arts (April–June 1859), 211Google Scholar.

63 ‘La poésie et le progrès sont deux ambitieux qui se haïssent d'une haine instinctive, et, quand ils se rencontrent dans le même chemin, il faut que l'un des deux serve l'autre’; Baudelaire, ‘Salon de 1859’, 278.

64 Odd as it may seem, given that Baudelaire was an arch-modernist, responsible for formulating part of our notion of ‘modernity’, his position here seems to recall that of conservative music critic François-Joseph Fétis, who had insisted in an article published in 1850 that ‘The object of science is reality; that of art, is the ideal. This simple distinction suffices to demonstrate that art cannot progress, and that its products cannot perish’; Fétis, , Revue et Gazette musicale de Paris (2 June 1850), 181Google Scholar, quoted and translated by Ellis in Musical Criticism in Nineteenth-Century France, 58.

65 ‘les ruines pendantes, les livres, les estampes et les manuscrits que le temps dévore’; Baudelaire, ‘Salon de 1859’, 278.

66 The step forward may itself be significant as a highly specific statuesque trope: following the unveiling in 1845 of the Bonn Beethoven monument, which portrayed the composer in mid-stride, various commentators described the statue as portraying Beethoven stepping into the future. For more on the Beethoven monument and its reception, see Bodsch, Ingrid, ed., Monument für Beethoven (Bonn, 1995)Google Scholar. Thanks to Alex Rehding for bringing this connection to my attention.

67 Barthes, Roland, Camera Lucida (London, 2000), 26–7Google Scholar and passim.

68 The notion of possession is, of course, a rich one in the history of visuality; see in particular Andriopoulos, Stefan's cult-gathering Possessed: Hypnotic Crimes, Corporate Fiction and the Invention of Cinema, trans. Jansen, Peter and Andriopoulos, Stefan (Chicago, 2008)CrossRefGoogle Scholar.

69 ‘pour mettre en lumière la côté antique du talent de Mme Viardot’; de la Genevais, F., ‘Théâtres. – Opéra – La corbeille d'oranges’, Revue des deux mondes (1 April 1851), 981Google Scholar.

70 ‘Chargée de retrouver et d'indiquer la pensée de ces maîtres, elle se sentait portée vers ce travail par les études de toute sa vie, par ses réflexions et ses goûts, par sa pratique journalière de l'art du chant, soit sur la scène, soit dans l'enseignement.’ ‘Préface des éditeurs’, in École classique du chant, ed. Viardot-García, Pauline (Paris, 1861)Google Scholar. A copy is held in the Bibliothèque nationale de France (BN Mus. Vma 489). The École classique includes ‘J'ai perdu mon Eurydice’ from Orphée, complete with performance markings and comments on vocal control by Viardot; these directions match reports of her own famous rendition of the aria.

71 ‘l'artiste qui représente le mieux la tradition du grand style’; ‘la fille de Garcia, la sœur de Malibran, le dernier rejeton de cette noble famille d'artistes’; Perrin, ‘Chronique musicale: Gluck au Théâtre-Lyrique’, 205.

72 ‘La talent de Mme Viardot a réveillé en moi ces beaux souvenirs’; Scudo, ‘L'Orphée de Gluck’, 727. It is worth noting that Alfred de Musset, reviewing Viardot's début (as Pauline García) in 1839, reported that the resemblance to Malibran's voice ‘is so striking that it would appear supernatural, were it not completely straightforward that two sisters are alike’ (‘est tellement frappante qu'elle paraîtrait surnaturelle, si n'était pas tout simple que deux sœurs se ressemblent’); ‘Concert de Mademoiselle García’, Revue des deux mondes (1 January 1839), 111.

73 Sterne, Jonathan, The Audible Past: Cultural Origins of Sound Reproduction (Durham, NC, and London, 2003)CrossRefGoogle Scholar. Sterne uses the phrase in relation to early sound recording, which emerged two decades after the Orphée revival.

74 It is no coincidence, as Sterne has noted, that these middle decades of the nineteenth century, in which sound recording (and, I would add, an operatic canon predicated on the idea of ‘the classic’) came gradually into being, was also the period in which the chemical embalming of corpses became more widespread. Each was part of the same fundamental impulse to preserve. According to Sterne, eleven major patents for ‘fluids, processes and media for chemical embalming’ were granted in America between 1856 and 1869; Sterne, Audible Past, 295.

75 Anon. (‘From our own correspondent’), ‘Foreign Intelligence’, The Literary Gazette, 4/98 (12 May 1860), 589Google Scholar.

76 ‘Quelque admirateur que l'on soit du passé, on éprouve une espèce de froid à voir représenter un chef-d'œuvre ancien; on sent que ce sont des paroles mortes, des mélodies mortes. L'âme est partie: il n'y a plus cette animation que communique à une pièce un public en communion avec l'auteur’; Gautier, Théophile, article dated 5 July 1843, reprinted in Histoire de l'art dramatique en France, III (Paris, 1858), 72Google Scholar. Translation from Lacombe, Hervé, The Keys to French Opera in the Nineteenth Century, trans. Schneider, Edward (Berkeley, 2001), 31Google Scholar.

77 Johnson, Barbara, Persons and Things (Cambridge, MA, 2008), 39Google Scholar. It is of course no coincidence that this threat was precisely what haunted commodity fetishism as theorised by Karl Marx: a concept that not only involved the ‘solidifying of human relations into intimacy with things’, as Johnson observes (Persons and Things, 20), but that was predicated on workers themselves becoming commodities or – to borrow a phrase from the 1848 Communist Manifesto – ‘an appendage of the machine’; Marx, Karl and Engels, Friedrich, The Communist Manifesto, ed. McLellan, David (Oxford, 2008), 910Google Scholar. For more on commodity fetishism, see Marx, Karl, Capital, I, trans. , Eden and Paul, Cedar (London, 1957), particularly ‘Commodities’, 258Google Scholar.

78 See de Certeau, Michel, The Writing of History, trans. Conley, Tom (New York, 1988)Google Scholar. Certeau describes the writing of history as an act that ‘aims at calming the dead who still haunt the present, and at offering them scriptural tombs’; Writing of History, 2.