Grand opéra (Fr.)
- M. Elizabeth C. Bartlet
French opera of the Romantic period, sung throughout, generally in five acts, grandiose in conception and impressively staged.
A grand style was frequently considered essential for works written for the Paris Opéra. Even in Lully’s day contemporaries occasionally referred to tragédies en musique as ‘grands opéras’, although librettists and composers preferred designations underlining the literary genre in lyric setting. It was not until the early 19th century, however, that the term ‘grand opéra’ became current. Castil-Blaze, for example, defined it as sung throughout (in contrast to ...