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Theatres of litigation: Stage music at the Théâtre de la Renaissance, 1838–1840

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  12 July 2004

Abstract

From 1807 to 1864, Parisian music drama was governed by a system of licences that controlled the repertory of its three main lyric theatres: the Opéra (variously Académie Royale, Nationale and Impériale de Musique), the Théâtre-Italien and the Opéra-Comique. Between 1838 and 1840, the Théâtre de la Renaissance gained a licence to put on stage music, and quickly succeeded in establishing a reputation for energetic management, imaginative programming together with artistically and financially successful performances. It could do this only by exploiting what were effectively newly invented types of music drama: vaudeville avec airs nouveaux and opéra de genre. The invented genres however brought the theatre into legal conflict with the Opéra-Comique and Opéra respectively, and opened up a domain of jurisprudence –associated with repertory rather than copyright – hitherto unsuspected.

Type
Regular Articles
Copyright
© 2004 Cambridge University Press

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Footnotes

Parts of this article were read at the 68th Annual Meeting of the American Musicological Society, Columbus, Ohio (October 2002). I would like to thank the following, who either assisted with aspects of the research or read and commented on early drafts: M. Elizabeth Bartlet, Jacques Chalmeau, Jane Fulcher, Philip Gossett, Rebecca Harris-Warrick, Steven Huebner, Ralph Locke, Roger Parker and Corinne Schneider. Acknowledgement is also due to the two anonymous readers for the Cambridge Opera Journal who were confronted with a text that metamorphosed into the present article and a separate chapter entitled ‘Donizetti and Wagner: opéra de genre at the Théâtre de la Renaissance’, now published in Mark Everist, Giacomo Meyerbeer and Music Drama in 19th-Century Paris, Variorum Reprint Series (Aldershot, [2005]). The two articles should be read as complements to each other.
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