Techniques | French Grand Opéra | Early Romantic | Opera
In France audiences had a taste for imposing grandeur and the big canvas of elemental events that manifest itself in opera after about 1820 as French grand opéra. Everything about grand opéra was supersized and deliberately made so by its chief architects, the artist and set designer Pierre-Luc-Charles Cicéri (1782–1868), the lighting expert Louis Daguerre, the librettist Eugène Scribe and the co-ordinator of all their efforts Louis Véron (1798–1867), manager of the Paris Opéra. French grand opéra normally comprised four or five acts and included performances of ballet. Great care was taken to use only historically and geographically accurate sets that were changed for each act, and sometimes for each scene. Scenery was usually three-dimensional and was subtly varied by the use of lighting effects and moving backcloths. Stage machinery came into operation for the finale to depict some cataclysmic event such as an earthquake, volcanic eruption, avalanche, shipwreck or other disaster. The cast list for grand opéra could be extensive, since the performers had to ‘populate’ processions, battles, festivals, riots and other crowd scenes. The orchestra, too, increased in size and there were also on-stage bands, which played unusual instruments such as saxhorns, tuned bells and even anvils.
Techniques | End of the Aria? | High Romantic | Opera
Stage & Scene | Mastery of Stage Design: Pierre-Luc-Charles Cicéri | Early Romantic | Opera
Houses & Companies | Paris Opéra | High Romantic | Opera
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