Personalities | Émile Zola | Turn of the Century | Opera

1840–1902, French

Zola’s influence on French opera extended beyond his libretti for the composer Alfred Bruneau as his realist credo became known not only through his novels but also through public exposure. While Bizet’s Carmen began the trend for realistic events, Zola’s ideas confirmed it. Charpentier’s Louise is notable, and there are also works by Gabriel Dupont, Camille Erlanger, Xavier Leroux and Charles-Marie Widor – not to mention Massenet – which display elements of the realist approach. Bruneau himself first set Le rêve, rather an exception to Zola’s usual realism, in 1891, in a version by Gallet, a professional librettist whose adaptation of Zola was also the formula for Bruneau’s next work, L’attaque du moulin (‘The attack on the mill’) of 1893. With Messidor (1897), L’ouragan (‘The hurricane’, 1901) and L’enfant roi (1905) collaboration was direct with no intermediary. After Zola’s death, a couple more adaptations were made before Bruneau turned his attentions elsewhere.

Introduction | Turn of the Century | Opera
Personalities | John Adams | Modern Era | Opera
Techniques | Realism, Naturalisme & Verismo | High Romantic | Opera


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