Fontainebleau Operas for the Court of Louis XV of France by Jean-Philippe Rameau (1683-1764)

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During the eighteenth century, the French court made yearly trips to the chateau of Fontainebleau during the autumn months enjoying evenings of operas and plays presented by the leading performers from Paris.

Jean-Philippe Rameau (1683-1764), the leading French composer of the period, was asked to present five new operas at the chateau in 1753 and 1754. Only one of these works was ever published and three of the five were never heard in Paris. Consequently, these works have remained little known.

This book presents Rameau’s works first heard at Fontainebleau in the context of their compositional and performance histories, a context which is rich in court intrigues and social change. This study is the first published work to investigate these operas in detail, Rameau’s relationship to the court and the public opera house of Paris is reevaluated, and the richness of Rameau’s musical imagination is revealed in works from his maturity.


“Dr. Rice is truly to be commended for having achieved a wonderful balance between music-historical research and systematic analysis of musical works in this book. It will not only be of interest to musicians but sure to attract scholars from other disciplines as well.” –Dr. Barbara Reul, Luther College University of Regina

“The author is to be commended on the painstaking work evident in this ambitious work. The appendixes are excellent especially the inventory of dance movements…..There is a great deal of valuable and erudite material in this book. This book provides an opportunity to know more about these works and their social, political and musical significance.” – Mary O’Keeffe, Performing Harpsicordist of Rameau Music

"Rice, who is an associate professor of musicology at Memorial University of Newfoundland, is the first to investigate this group of operas in detail, as well as the significance of the Fontainebleau voyages and Rameau's relationship to the court ... This wonderfully written and finely detailed monograph is a must for all those interested in the resurrection and re-evaluation of this pivotal figure of French music history." - Paul-James Dwyer for Opus Magazine, Fall 2004

Table of Contents

Table of Contents:
1. Historical Background
2. The Voyage of 1753
3. Music in 1753
4. The Voyage of 1754
5. Music in 1754

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