"Eighteenth-century French cultural life was often characterised by quarrels, and the arrival of Viennese composer Christoph Willibald Gluck in Paris in 1774 was no exception, sparking a five-year pamphlet and press controversy which featured a rival Neapolitan composer, Niccolo Piccinni. However, as this study shows, the Gluck-Piccinni controversy was about far more than which composer was better suited to lead French operatic reform. A consideration of cultural politics in 1770s Paris shows that a range of issues were at stake: court versus urban taste as the proper judge of music, whether amateurs or specialists should have the right to speak of opera, whether the epic or the tragic mode is more suited for drama reform, and even: why should the public argue about opera at all? Mark Darlow is Senior Lecturer in French at the University of Cambridge."

chapter |22 pages


chapter 1|43 pages

Opera Reform on the Eve of Gluck's Arrival

chapter 3|29 pages

Simplicity without Primitivism

chapter 4|44 pages

Talking about Opera

chapter 5|20 pages


chapter |4 pages