Theatres of litigation: stage music at the Théâtre de la Renaissance, 1838–1840
Cambridge Opera Journal, 16, (2), . (doi:10.1017/S095458670400182X).
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From 1807 to 1864, Parisian music drama was governed by a system of licences that controlled the repertory of its three main lyric theatres: the Opéra (variously Académie Royale, Nationale and Impériale de Musique), the Théâtre-Italien and the Opéra-Comique. Between 1838 and 1840, the Théâtre de la Renaissance gained a licence to put on stage music, and quickly succeeded in establishing a reputation for energetic management, imaginative programming together with artistically and financially successful performances. It could do this only by exploiting what were effectively newly invented types of music drama: vaudeville avec airs nouveaux and opéra de genre. The invented genres however brought the theatre into legal conflict with the Opéra-Comique and Opéra respectively, and opened up a domain of jurisprudence – associated with repertory rather than copyright – hitherto unsuspected.
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