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Critical and analytical chronology of opera performances in Paris and at court from 1655 to 1687

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Need for a chronology

In 1987, the tercentenary of Lully’s death, Quinault and Lully’s opera Atys was given at the Salle Favart in Paris, the first performance of any opera by Lully for well over two hundred years. More performances were given that month, and there followed an international tour, taking in three continents. It was not long before the Théâtre des Champs-Elysées, also in Paris, staged a cycle of three of the Quinault-Lully operas: Alceste, Armide, and Roland. The new opera house in Lyon opened in 1993 with the same Phaéton that had been the first opera performed in the old house in 1688. Concert versions of Amadis, Isis, Persée, and Thésée followed, and the two last-named also attracted staged performances in North America. More recently still, Cadmus et Hermione has been given in a concert version. In sum, almost all the operas by Lully and Quinault have been revived, and over the same period there have been performances and recordings of operas by Lully’s contemporaries and successors, composers of the last twenty-five years of the reign of Louis XIV such as Campra, Charpentier, Desmarest, and Marais. Our knowledge of French baroque opera is growing by leaps and bounds.

William Brooks, University of Bath, & Buford Norman, University of South Carolina 

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