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French Opera at the Fin de Siecle$
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Steven Huebner

Print publication date: 2005

Print ISBN-13: 9780195189544

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: May 2008

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780195189544.001.0001

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Alfred Bruneau and Émile Zola

Alfred Bruneau and Émile Zola

(p.395) 24 Alfred Bruneau and Émile Zola
French Opera at the Fin de Siecle

Steven Huebner

Oxford University Press

This chapter focuses on Alfred Bruneau and Émile Zola. Bruneau was known as a musical progressive in his work as a music critic for Gil-Bias and Le Figaro and in his compositions. His orchestral pieces and songs were heard at the Colonne and Lamoureux concert series as well as at the Société nationale. Émile Zola was a political columnist who lambasted the Catholic-royalist proponents of Moral Order in the early days of the republic; an essayist who defended Impressionist painters at the first hour in 1866; a literary critic who urged writers to ‘observe and experiment’; and a novelist who created a sensation in 1877 through the unprecedented graphic description of (in his own words) ‘the authentic smell of the people’ in L'Assommoir. It is argued that Zola and Bruneau ostensibly attempted to build a healthy French order upon the legacy of Wagner. Ironically, despite widely divergent political and patriotic agendas, they shared some territory in this respect with the d'Indy of Fervaal.

Keywords:   French opera, Wagner, Le RÊve, d'Indy, Gil-Bias, Le Figaro

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