French opera is second only to Italian opera in the length, breadth, and diversity of its history. Yet most people, if asked to come up with titles, could mention only a handful of titles—Carmen, Faust, Pelleas et Melisande, Samson et Dalila—a small list for an operatic tradition that began in the seventeenth century and is still very much alive. This book provides a full, single-volume account of opera in France from its origins to the present day.
Vincent Giroud looks at the leading composers, from Lully to Messiaen and beyond; at the development of French operatic form and style; at performance, performers, and audience; and at the impact of French opera beyond France’s borders. Lovers of opera will find this an ideal companion to their appreciation of the form.
"[Giroud is] an indispensable guide to 350 years of French repertory. . . . He does a superb job parsing the bewildering taxonomy of French opera, distinguishing grand opera from tragedie lyrique, operette from opera-cominique. . . . His unapologetic advocacy and depth of knowledge make this 'short history' a rich one."—Jesse Cohen, Opera News ~Jesse Cohen, Opera News