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This website is related to the Curtis Institute of Music's 201011 all-school study, the Paris Project.
More on the Paris Opera Online
In the 19th century, Paris had been the star of European opera. Thirty theatres overflowed with works of various styles and seriousness. Composers Rossini, Bellini, Donizetti, Meyerbeer, Offenbach, Verdi, and Wagner could be found in Paris, in person. French composers Berlioz, Debussy, Bizet, Gounod, and Massenet further added to the repertoire.
The period between the wars, however, was not a prolific time for French opera. Audiences dwindled, as conservative tastes overcame composers' and presenters' interest in new music. The sacred, too, drew people to programs inspired by religious themes and ancient Greece or the Baroque era. Some operas added to their sense of spectacle by blending ballet with their productions.
Between the wars, fully staged productions and concert performances of the relatively few new operatic works by French and visiting composers included:
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The Paris Opéraalso called the Académie de Musique, Paris, and Palais Garnierdated back to 1875. The history of the opera house of that name began in 1671 and, over the centuries, covered a succession buildings in Paris. In 1939 the Opéra, whose income dropped by nearly 40 percent in the 1930s, was taken over by the government and renamed Réunion des Théâtres Lyriques Nationaux.
The Opéra-Comique, Paris, was the city's second opera house. In 1902 it housed the premiere of Debussy's sole opera, Pelléas et Méisande, in a building only a few years old.
In 1922 Théâtre des Champs-Elysées brought opera back to its stage, after a period of bankruptcy. An international flavor would mark its interwar productions:
Among the other theatres in Paris were the Trianon-Lyrique (18871934) and several that featured lighter operettas:
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Opéra Comique, the building's history (company website)
Ravel's L'Enfant et les sortilèges, history and recording (Classical Archives)
Stravinsky's Mavra, history and recording (Classical Archives)
Stravinsky's Oedipus Rex, history and recordings (Classical Archives)
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PRINT AND ELECTRONIC RESOURCES ON INTERWAR PARIS AND THE ARTS
Grove Music Online, The Oxford Companion to Music, and The Oxford Dictionary of Music
Jackson, Jeffrey H., Making Jazz French: Music and Modern Life in Interwar Paris (Durham: Duke UP, 2003)
Mann, Carol, Paris: Artistic Life in the Twenties and Thirties (London: Laurence King, 1996)
Nichols, Roger, The Harlequin Years: Music in Paris 19171929 (Berkeley: UCalifornia P, 2002)
Shack, William A., Harlem in Montmartre: A Paris Jazz Story between the Great Wars (Berkeley: UCalifornia P, 2001)