Moving scenes

BookMoving scenes

Moving scenes

the circulation of music and theatre in Europe, 1700-1815

Oxford University Studies in the Enlightenment, 2018:02


February 28th, 2018



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In eighteenth-century Europe, artistic production was characterised by significant geographical and cultural transfer. For innumerable musicians, composers, singers, actors, authors, dramatists and translators – and the works they produced – state borders were less important than style, genre and canon. Through a series of multinational case studies a team of authors examines the mechanisms and characteristics of cultural and artistic adaptability to demonstrate the complexity and flexibility of theatrical and musical exchanges during this period.
By exploring questions of national taste, so-called cultural appropriation and literary preference, contributors examine the influence of the French canon on the European stage – as well as its eventual rejection –, probe how and why musical and dramatic materials became such prized objects of exchange, and analyse the double processes of transmission and literary cross-breeding in translations and adaptations. Examining patterns of circulation in England, France, the Netherlands, Germany, Scandinavia, Russia, Bohemia, Austria, Italy and the United States, authors highlight:

  • the role of migrant musicians in breaching national boundaries and creating a ‘musical cosmopolitanism’;
  • the emergence of a specialised market in which theatre agents and local authorities negotiated contracts and productions, and recruited actors and musicians;
  • the translations and rewritings of major plays such as Sheridan’s The School for scandal, Schiller’s Die Räuber and Kotzebue’s Menschenhass und Reue;
  • the refashioning of indigenous and ‘national’ dramas in Europe under French Revolutionary and imperial rule.


'This volume develops our understanding of the roles played by numerous agents in the circulation of drama and music across Europe.’
Modern Language Review

'The resulting text has been given an extremely high standard of finish, linguistically and editorially.'
H-France Review

Author Information

Table of Contents

Table of Contents
Section TitlePagePrice
Title Page4
Copyright Page5
List of illustrations and tables10
I. National taste and cultural domination20
Domestic versus foreign composers at the Opéra and the King’s Theatre in the eighteenth century22
Non-French music and foreign musicians at the Musique du roi, Versailles, c.1760-179236
French and German theatre troupes in Aachen and Trier during the French occupation (1794-1814)52
The revolution of Jommelli’s objets d’art: Bernard Sarrette’s requests for the Bibliotheque du Conservatoire74
French administrators and local dramatic repertoires in the annexed de´partements: censorship in an occupation context90
The limits of cultural imperialism: French theatre in Napoleonic Europe102
II. Actors and patterns of circulation124
‘Il faut du nouveau’: functions and issues of international drama and music news in Le Courrier d’Avignon (1733-1793)126
The adaptation of French performance as shown in Favart’s correspondence140
Lyrical diplomacy: Count Gustav Philip Creutz (1731-1785) and the opera156
Figaromania in Europe: the circulation and appropriation of Beaumarchais’s plays in the eighteenth century170
Circulation and social mobility: Lorenzo Da Ponte’s career from Gorizia to New York (c.1780-c.1830)184
Hiram at the playhouse: Masonic and theatrical travels in Europe202
From the theatre box to the salon: music and theatre as elements of an aristocratic language in the Habsburg monarchy at the turn of the nineteenth century214
From archive boxes to cardboard screens: the diffusion of French theatre in Russia at the end of the eighteenth century230
When dances circulated on paper: European dancing masters and the art of dancing ‘by characters and demonstrative figures’254
III. Translations and adaptations in revolution270
Youth theatre and family theatre: translation and cultural transfer272
The Teatro moderno applaudito (1796-1801): Italian translationsof French plays in Venice284
Jean-Jacques Ampère and the translation of Artaxerxes302
The creation of an amateur theatre in Mainz under the occupation of General Custine318
The evolution of French adaptations of Richard Sheridan’s The School for Scandal during the French Revolution and the First Empire330
‘Imitations’ at the Théâ tre des Variétés-Etrangè res: a subversive circumlocution?344
Biographies of contributors382
Selected bibliography384