The closest parallels and antecedents to Eugene Onegin can be found in France, where a new genre—sometimes rather redundantly called opéra lyrique (or drame lyrique) after its bastion, the Paris Théâtre Lyrique (opened 1851)—had arisen in more or less conscious opposition to the bloated grand opéra, or at least as an alternative to the latter and a challenge to its proud status as the national opera of the French. The Théâtre Lyrique's showpieces were two operas by the prolific Charles-François Gounod (1818–93): Faust (1859), after Goethe's famous dramatic poem, and Roméo et Juliette (1867) after Shakespeare. As exemplified by Gounod, the genre could be described as a hybrid that retained the accompanied recitatives of the grand opera (albeit tuneful ones), but that cut the musical forms (and, consequently, the characters who express themselves through them) down to comic-opera size. The musical emphasis, like Chaikovsky's, is on characterization through attractive melody reminiscent of “domestic romances” and ballroom dances, rather than impressive musico-dramatic structures.
- Citation (MLA):
- Richard Taruskin. "Chapter 12 Cutting Things Down to Size." The Oxford History of Western Music. Oxford University Press. New York, USA. n.d. Web. 4 Dec. 2013. <http://www.oxfordwesternmusic.com/view/Volume3/actrade-9780195384833-div1-012006.xml>.
- Citation (APA):
- Taruskin, R. (n.d.). Chapter 12 Cutting Things Down to Size. In Oxford University Press, Music in the Nineteenth Century. New York, USA. Retrieved 4 Dec. 2013, from http://www.oxfordwesternmusic.com/view/Volume3/actrade-9780195384833-div1-012006.xml
- Citation (Chicago):
- Richard Taruskin. "Chapter 12 Cutting Things Down to Size." In Music in the Nineteenth Century, Oxford University Press. (New York, USA, n.d.). Retrieved 4 Dec. 2013, from http://www.oxfordwesternmusic.com/view/Volume3/actrade-9780195384833-div1-012006.xml