Reference Entry

Rousseau, Jean-Jacques (opera)

Daniel Heartz

in Oxford Music Online

Published in print December 1992 |
Published online January 2002 | e-ISBN: 9781561592630 | DOI:

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(b Geneva, June 28, 1712; d Ermenonville, July 2, 1778). Swiss philosopher, theorist and composer. His early training in music was poor and his first operatic ventures unsuccessful: in Chambéry (1739–40) he attempted to write both words and music for a serious opera, and in Lyons (1742) he composed the music for part of another opera. In 1743 he began work on an opéra-ballet, Les muses galantes, modelled on Rameau’s Les Indes galantes. A sojourn in Venice (1743–4) interrupted composition, but the task was completed, with the help of Philidor, by mid-1745 and the piece presented to Rameau. Rameau heard the music with reluctance, and criticized the contributions allegedly by Rousseau as the work of a musical ignoramus. Rousseau never forgave his great contemporary.

Another task involving Rousseau’s talents as a poet-musician was the hasty revision of La princesse de Navarre...

Reference Entry.  1507 words. 

Subjects: Opera

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