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Ancient Drama in Music for the Modern Stage$
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Peter Brown and Suzana Ograjenšek

Print publication date: 2010

Print ISBN-13: 9780199558551

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: April 2015

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:osobl/9780199558551.001.0001

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Dance in Lully’s Alceste

Dance in Lully’s Alceste

(p.85) 5 Dance in Lully’s Alceste
Ancient Drama in Music for the Modern Stage

Jennifer Thorp

Oxford University Press

This chapter examines the importance of dance in tragédie-en-musique, a genre of opera which dominated the stage of the Académie Royale de Musique (commonly known as the Paris Opéra) in the seventeenth century. It focuses on Alceste, the second work in this genre created by Quinault and Lully. It shows that dance played a varying but essential part in French opera of the time, either as ‘ordinary’ or as ‘imitative’ dance, or as dance with elements of both. The familiarity and adherence to convention of these dances not only provided an aesthetically ‘correct’ visual episode for the audience, but also a preparation for, and antidote to, the more dramatic moments of the opera.

Keywords:   French opera, dance, theatrical dance, tragédie-en-musique, Académie Royale de Musique, Paris Opéra

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