Facial Expression in Italian and French Opera Acting at the Turn of the 18th and 19th Centuries: Perspective of the Encyclopedic Sources
Keywords:opera theatre, facial expression, acting, music dictionary, 18th century opera, 19th century opera
AbstractThe expressive qualities of acting in opera – both French and Italian – in the 18th century were highly valued. My analysis will include comments made on this subject by J.J. Rousseau in his famous “Dictionnaire de musique”, followed by other encyclopedists of the late 18th and early 18th/early 19th centuries, especially French. Although it was agreed that correct singing technique was a sine qua non condition for performing an opera role, meeting this condition was only the beginning of a difficult path, the aim of which was to express affect using various stage means. I will show that the facial expression recommended to opera actors aimed primarily at presenting values consistent with bourgeois ethics and aesthetics derived from sentimentalism, in line with the new direction of development of opera theatre in social life, especially in France.
Copyright (c) 2023 Bulletin of the Transilvania University of Braşov. Series VIII: Performing Arts
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