February 25, 2014 – History
French opera 19 century:
• Opéra comique: folk like styles (makes it more relatable), spoken words, popular tunes,
pre-classical times, pastoral settings, sentimental ideas, remains well-established,
favored to get the propaganda across/ keeping people behind the government (self-
sacrifice, civic virtue)
o rescue opera: after the revolution, wrongfully accused their lives hang by a
thread but at the end they are saved! Noted composer: Cherubini, Les Deux
Journees, premiered in Vienna. Affected Beethoven’s rescue opera.
o 1817: Rossini’s influence on opera comique: Rossini’s opera takes Europe by
storm, light, funny -> influence on opera comique: very light, bouncy, happy,
frivolous operas. Auber. Worked with the librettist Scribe. Fra Diavolo: set in an
inn in Italy, bandit. This kind of opera is meant to keep the people happy, distract
them from the war and turmoil.
Zerline: wants to marry Lorenzo (the hero), but she will be married to a
Lorenzo finds Fra Diavolo’s loot and suddenly has enough money to
Fra Diavolo hides under her bed and steals the money that Lorenzo had
given to her to marry her. Ends with Lorenzo finding Fra Diavolo and
captures the bandit!
o opera bouffe: satirical commentary, Bizet’s Carmen. 1875. Spoken dialogue,
lower class characters, recitatives were eventually written for it, Bizet was dying
and died during the production. Reminiscent motives are very important.