Opera in the Novel from Balzac to Proust by Newark

By Newark

The turning element of Madame Bovary, which Flaubert memorably set on the opera, is just the main recognized instance of an incredibly lengthy culture, one universal to quite a number French literary kinds and sub-genres. within the first book-length learn of that culture to seem in English, Cormac Newark examines representations of operatic functionality from Balzac's l. a. Comédie humaine to Proust's À l. a. recherche du temps perdu, when it comes to (among others) Dumas père's Le Comte de Monte-Cristo and Leroux's Le Fantôme de l'Opéra. conscious of textual and musical aspect alike within the works, the learn additionally delves deep into their reception contexts. the result's a compelling cultural-historical account: of adjusting methods of creating experience of operatic event from the 1820s to the Twenties, and of a perennial writerly fascination with the recording of that have.

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Comte ! dit-il. – Cher Maximilien, interrompit le comte, e´coutez de quelle adorable fac¸on Duprez chante cette phrase : « Oˆ Mathilde ! idole de mon aˆme. « Tenez, j’ai devine´ le premier Duprez a` Naples, et l’ai applaudi le premier. Bravo ! bravo ! » Morrel comprit qu’il n’y avait plus rien a` dire, et il attendit. ” Morrel, amazed, let fall Monte Cristo’s hand. ” said he. “Dear Maximilian,” interrupted the count, “listen how adorably Duprez sings this line: “O Mathilde! ” “I was the first to discover Duprez at Naples, and the first to applaud him.

This organ-like machine produces a sound variously compared to that of wind and string instruments, and even to young girls’ voices, but its role in the novel is more easily described: Balzac wants to illustrate a conception of music in which compositional inspiration and practical performance are not the only factors. As Gambara tries to explain to the count, La musique est tout a` la fois une science et un art. 79 [Music is at the same time both a science and an art. ] Hence Gambara’s investment in the practical business of making and repairing instruments, which represents the way forward, as he sees it, for music.

Morrel saw it was useless to say more, and refrained. 7 Exactly how it functions with respect to the plot of the novel is for the moment tantalisingly unclear, even if the two confrontations seem nonetheless intended to work in tandem, as hinted by the passing pun on ‘sce`ne’. 10 Although set only a few years in the past, the novel is in this (and every other) way quite as historical as Dumas’ costume-drama blockbusters of the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries. It renders with arresting vividness not only a time that has already been buried by the fast-moving political events of nineteenth-century France, but also the process of that burial, delving into the sordid careers of those who have managed to profit at every turn.

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