Phantasmagoria in Nineteenth-Century Opera
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1820s. Parisian audiences at the Academie Royale de Musique were struck by the novelty and power of grand opera upon the introduction of gaslight illumination, a technological innovation that quickly influenced productions across the Western operatic world. With this innovation, grand opera transformed into
an audio-visual spectacle, delivering dream-like images and evoking the ghosts of its audiences' past.
Through case studies of operas by Giacomo Meyerbeer, Richard Wagner, and Giuseppe Verdi, Cruz demonstrates how these works became an increasingly sophisticated medium by which audiences could conjure up the past and be transported away from the breakdown of modern life. A historically informed narrative that traverses far and wide, from dingy popular theatres in post-revolutionary Paris, to nautical shows in London, and finally to Egyptian mummies, Grand Illusion provides a fresh
departure from previous scholarship, highlighting the often-neglected visual side of grand opera.
List of Illustrations and Note on Translations
List of Music Examples
Preface and Acknowledgments
Introduction: The Modernity of Grand Opera
1. Opera and Beauty
2. Gaslight and Phantasmagoria at the Opera
3. The Diorama, Apparitions and Dream Image in Robert le Diable
4. The Phantom Ship in Der fliegende Hollander and L'Africaine
5. The Poetics of Sensation in L'Africaine and Tristan und Isolde
6. Aida, Egyptomania and the After-Life of Grand Opera