Fromental Hale?vy's La tempesta a study in the negotiation of cultural differences /

by 1965- Hendley, Christopher Dean

Abstract (Summary)
This dissertation deals with the performance and reception of the opera La Tempesta, composed by Fromental Halévy and adapted from Shakespeare by Eugène Scribe. In La Tempesta, French grand opera, the London Italian opera tradition, and Shakespearean appropriation collide. Thus its composer, its librettist, its critics, and even its audience become agents of cultural change in the process by which the negotiation of cultural differences is carried out, while the opera itself comes into focus only when seen from all three perspectives. Beginning with the conception of La Tempesta in the hands of London’s beloved adopted composer Felix Mendelssohn, the study traces the history of La Tempesta from its premiere in London to its revival a year later for the Théâtre-Italien in Paris. It examines the opera from two perspectives: as a historical and cultural event, emphasizing the opera’s production and reception in London; and as a musical and dramatic work, dealing with such technical aspects as harmony, form and overall dramatic construction. In viewing the opera as an event, the study also addresses its broader contexts, including the history of Shakespearean reception in both England and France, the tradition of Italian opera in London, and the role of cultural prejudices that existed between France and England. Integral to the study is an exploration of how certain genres of European lyric drama, particularly Italian opera, French grand opéra and opéra comique, and melodrama may have influenced the authors of La Tempesta in their effort to create a successful work. The study also includes a complete harmonic and formal analysis of Halévy’s music, and a thorough analytic comparison of Shakespeare’s text with Scribe’s adapted libretto. By relying on the published vocal score and libretto and other primary sources such as the unpublished autograph score, personal memoirs, letters, and contemporary journal and newspaper reviews, this study provides a window on the insular world of London lyric drama, and demonstrates the differences, similarities, and in some cases reciprocal influences among the various national schools of nineteenth-century opera and drama.
Bibliographical Information:


School:The University of Georgia

School Location:USA - Georgia

Source Type:Master's Thesis



Date of Publication:

© 2009 All Rights Reserved.