Illuminating Gustavus the Third and the Art of Spectacle in 1830s London

Alexander, Tamsin. 2017. Illuminating Gustavus the Third and the Art of Spectacle in 1830s London. Cambridge Opera Journal, 29(1), pp. 33-52. ISSN 0954-5867 [Article]

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Abstract or Description

To turn to 1830s London is to explore a time and place newly obsessed with the eye and with lighting technologies. Understanding how opera was experienced at this time, therefore, requires that visuality be brought to the fore. One staging in particular, that of Gustavus the Third, adapted from Daniel Auber’s Gustave III for Covent Garden in 1833, reveals how new discussions about light and vision were influencing responses to opera. While London adaptations of French grands opéras in the nineteenth century have often been dismissed as shabby imitations, critics insisted that the spectacle in Gustavus outstripped anything that had ever been done in Paris. The reason, I propose, was the source and focus of that spectacle: light.

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19 October 2016Accepted
11 October 2017Published Online
March 2017Published

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24 Apr 2017 09:48

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24 Mar 2021 10:02

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Yes, this version has been peer-reviewed.


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