William J. Gibbons F'09

William J. Gibbons
Associate Professor
School of Music
Texas Christian University

Mellon/ACLS Dissertation Completion Fellowships 2009
Doctoral Candidate
Musicology
University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill
Eighteenth-Century Opera and the Construction of National Identity in France, 1875-1918

In the wake of France’s defeat in the Franco Prussian War, the nation turned to the past in order to reconnect with its former glory. Musicians featured prominently in this effort, and the period around the turn of the twentieth century saw the development of an Operatic Museum, where the music of the past, as cultural artifacts, was performed alongside modern operas. The questions of which works were suitable for presentation and how they would be performed in this museum were critical in shaping narratives of the French musical past, present, and future. This dissertation focuses on the operas of Mozart, Gluck, and Rameau—three composers whose widely varying reception during this period provides a window onto the uses of eighteenth-century music in the formation of French cultural identity.