Jump to ContentJump to Main Navigation
Opera and the Political Imaginary in Old Regime France$
Users without a subscription are not able to see the full content.

Olivia Bloechl

Print publication date: 2018

Print ISBN-13: 9780226522753

Published to Chicago Scholarship Online: January 2019

DOI: 10.7208/chicago/9780226522890.001.0001

Show Summary Details
Page of

PRINTED FROM CHICAGO SCHOLARSHIP ONLINE (www.chicago.universitypressscholarship.com). (c) Copyright University of Chicago Press, 2021. All Rights Reserved. An individual user may print out a PDF of a single chapter of a monograph in CHSO for personal use.date: 14 June 2021

The Politics of Glory: Angelic Citizenship and the Contemplative Chorus

The Politics of Glory: Angelic Citizenship and the Contemplative Chorus

(p.22) Chapter One The Politics of Glory: Angelic Citizenship and the Contemplative Chorus
Opera and the Political Imaginary in Old Regime France

Olivia Bloechl

University of Chicago Press

This chapter examines glorification choruses in tragédie en musique prologues and divertissements, and asks why they were so ubiquitous in this semi-official opera genre. It builds on Giorgio Agamben’s “archaeology of glory” and adapts his question--“Why does power need glory?”--to this operatic convention. The author finds that contemplative choruses of praise, acclamation, and supplication presented an angelic model of citizenship that corresponded to the genre's theological model of sovereignty. The prologue to Jean-Baptiste Lully's Cadmus et Hermione (1673) is used to illustrate this interaction between a contemplative chorus and Apollo, a divinity who recurs in the genre as an icon of transcendent sovereign government. Contemplative choruses did provide ideological support for the Bourbon monarchy, but their performance also routinely suspended or exceeded this function. The author concludes that contemplative song in this tradition is at basis inoperative, or beyond utility, and that this inoperativity is key to its politics.

Keywords:   glorification chorus, tragédie en musique, Agamben, archaeology of glory, contemplative chorus, Lully, Cadmus et Hermione, inoperativity

Chicago Scholarship Online requires a subscription or purchase to access the full text of books within the service. Public users can however freely search the site and view the abstracts and keywords for each book and chapter.

Please, subscribe or login to access full text content.

If you think you should have access to this title, please contact your librarian.

To troubleshoot, please check our FAQs, and if you can't find the answer there, please contact us.