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The Paris Opera chorus during the time of Rameau.

Some of the most profoundly touching moments in Rameau's tragedies en musique are phrases sung by the chorus as they respond to an unexpected event: the grief-laden downward appoggiatura of 'Hippolyte n'est plus' and the exquisite chromaticism accompanying the words of the Spartan people ('Que tout gemisse') at the tomb of Castor are two eloquent examples.(1) Indeed, the latter passage was frequently cited for its expressive effect, and Rameau himself described its chromatic line played by oboes, bassoons and strings as depicting 'des pleurs & des gemissemens causes par de vifs regrets'.(2) Yet despite the beauty and extraordinary craft of Rameau's choral writing, most studies of this aspect of his music have concentrated upon the variety of textures and forms he employed,(3) and little attention has been paid to performance issues. Moreover, until quite recently recordings and performances of his operas have perpetuated some long-standing misconceptions about the size and especially the distribution of parts within the chorus.(4)

The fact that performance issues in particular have received little attention may be attributed in part to the scarcity of documentary evidence concerning the size and distribution of the chorus at the Academie Royale de Musique (known colloquially as the Opera). Some historical documents that mention the Opera chorus lead us to believe that its size remained stable throughout Rameau's career - but information from the lists of performers included in printed librettos does not support this conclusion - and with some exceptions most sources provide little indication of how the parts were distributed within the chorus, since they mention only the total number of singers and not how many performed each part. Thus Paul-Marie Masson assumed that the chorus remained constant in size between 1713 and 1760, and he concluded that the distribution of voice parts within it probably remained constant as well.(5) He also noticed an apparently disproportionate number of women's voices: twelve of the 31 singers were women, all of whom sang the soprano part, while only nineteen men were divided among the other three parts.(6) But Lois Rosow and Antonia Banducci have demonstrated that Masson's assumptions do not hold good for individual works by Lully and Campra,(7) and, as we shall see, new evidence now allows us to establish the size and distribution of parts within the Opera chorus during Rameau's career as well.


Most of Rameau's choral writing is in four parts - designated dessus, haute-contre, taille and basse (also called basse-taille) - with all parts but the top sung by male voices. Even when specific designations are lacking, each part can readily be identified by its clef: G2 for dessus, C3 for haute-contre, C4 for taille and F4 for basse. Rameau does not usually use any other clefs for the different voice types, although some earlier composers do: in Thetis et Pelee (1689), for example, Pascal Collasse divides the male voices into four parts for the celebrated Chorus of Destiny ('Qu'un respect plein d'epouvante fasse tout trembler') and notates each in a different clef (C3, C4, F3, F4).(8) Treatises from the first half of the eighteenth century include descriptions of as many as six different voice types,(9) each employing a different clef, but all six clefs (G2, C1, C3, C4, F3, F4) are rarely found in choral writing. Distinctions between the dessus and bas-dessus among women's voices were applied mainly to solo roles, where differences in tone colour were important for dramatic reasons. The women's part in the chorus was usually called simply dessus or, in a divisi section, [] and [2.sup.e] dessus.

Although four-part writing may be considered the norm for Rameau's choruses, we also find a variety of other textures. The terms petit choeur and grand choeur were used for pieces requiring fewer or more than four voice parts respectively, but petit choeur did not indicate a reduction in the number of singers per part, as it did in the orchestra.(10) In the petit choeur, the two lower parts often dropped out, and the remaining two parts were expanded to three by dividing the dessus, with the haute-contre serving as a bass.(11) In a five-part grand choeur, the dessus was usually divided. A remarkable ten-part piece that demonstrates Rameau's use of unusually large choral forces is found in the act entitled 'Canope' from Les Fetes de l'Hymen et de l'Amour, a ballet heroique written for the marriage of the dauphin in 1747. This chorus is unsurpassed in Rameau's output for imaginative vocal scoring, and Masson has rightly called it 'one of Rameau's finest achievements'.(12) The forces divide into two (with, unusually, two different texts), a bass soloist (Canope) and four-part chorus, and the grand priest with another four-part chorus. The scene forms a dramatic climax in the act, as the god Canope appears in a chariot drawn by crocodiles after a thunderous symphonie depicting the waves rising on the river. The libretto includes not only the names of those who took part in the chorus but also the part each person sang, a rarity at the time.(13) The total number of singers - 56 in all (18 women and 38 men) - goes well beyond the norm for Rameau's works.(14)


The earliest reference to the number of singers in the Academie Royale de Musique is a document from 1704 which mentions a chorus of 23 singers, including fifteen men (four of whom also sang secondary roles) and eight women (five of whom also sang secondary roles).(15) By a royal decree of 1713, the Academie Royale de Musique was officially constituted with 36 members (22 men, two boys and twelve women), but it is very unlikely that all of them sang in any one performance.(16) Other archival documents from about the same period (1704-13) mention a chorus of at least 23 singers (fifteen men and eight women),(17) but some contemporary illustrations suggest that in the early eighteenth century the number of singers may have been sixteen or even fewer.(18) The chorus was also augmented by the soloists assigned minor roles, as outlined in a regulation of 19 November 1714: 'Tousles Acteurs & Actrices, a l'exception de ceux & de celles qui occuperont les huit premiers Rolles, seront obligees de servir dans les Choeurs, & d'y chanter, lors meme qu'ils seront charges de quelques petits Rolles; apres l'execution duquel ils reprendront leur place ordinaire'.(19) Thus when considering the number of participants in the chorus for a given performance we should be aware that the number of chorus members given in a libretto does not necessarily correspond to the actual number of singers used, which may have varied slightly according to the number of minor characters joining the chorus because they were not performing their own roles.

Printed librettos list only about 30 chorus members in most performances until at least 1730 (see Table I), but, for the second quarter of the century, documents suggest 33-36 singers.(20) Nicolas Boindin's total of 33 chorus members in 1719 included fourteen women (four of whom also sang solo roles) and nineteen men.(21) Durey de Noinville (1757) mentions payments for a chorus of 36 singers - twelve women, two pages (boys) and 22 men(22) - but, as Graham Sadler has already noted, the two boys had long since been dismissed.(23) By 1778, the number had apparently grown to 50 (24 women and 26 men), according to La Borde.(24)

Chorus Size in Selected Operatic Works Performed 1700-1730

Composer and Work                     Date    Women    Men    Total

Campra, Tancrede                      1702       8      19      27
Lully, Armide                         1703      12      19      31
Lully, Psyche                         1703      11      17      38
La Coste, Philomele                   1709       8      17      25
Lully, Atys                           1709      10      17      27
Campra, Les Fetes venitiennes         1710       8      23      31
Lully, Phaeton                        1710       9      22      31
Lalande & Destouches, Les Elements    1721      12      16      28

Since librettos identify the singers by name but do not usually list the parts they sang, it is much more difficult to establish the distribution of parts within the chorus than it is to determine the total number of men and women who performed. However, two documents offer important information on the performance of Rameau's works at the Paris Opera. Both provide lists of the soloists, chorus, dancers and orchestral players who performed for the Academie Royale de Musique, with their salaries and other special payments, as well as their dates of entry and retirement or dismissal. The 'Detail de la regie actuel [sic] de l'Academie Royalle de Musique avec un denombrement de tout ce qui fait la recette et la depense de ce spectacle en 1738' - formerly in the private collection of Francois-Joseph Fetis (1784-1871) and now in the Bibliotheque Royale Albert Ier in Brussels (MS II 4119, ff. 128-87) - is a compendium of information about individual performers at the Opera: its significance in relation to Rameau's performances of the 1730s has already been noted by Sadler.(25) A related document that preserves lists of singers, dancers and instrumentalists who were active during Rameau's career is the so-called Amelot manuscript, entitled 'Memoires pour servir a l'Histoire de l'Academie Royale de Musique vulgairement l'Opera depuis son Etablissement en 1669 - jusqu'en l'annee 1758', now in the Bibliotheque-Musee de l'Opera in Paris (Res. 516; [ILLUSTRATION FOR PLATE I OMITTED]). Sadler has identified a portion of the earlier 'Detail' as a copy of the Amelot manuscript,(26) but the significance of the Amelot manuscript in relation to the distribution of parts within Rameau's choruses has otherwise gone unnoticed. A partial digest is provided in the Appendix, below.

Information about each singer recorded in the Amelot manuscript typically includes: the voice part normally assigned; whether the singer performed solo roles or belonged to the chorus; and his or her dates of service at the Opera. Although the manuscript was intended to provide material for a history of the Opera since its founding in 1669, only one singer from before 1700 is included,(27) and most entries are for singers active in the 1740s and '50s; the final entries are for several singers who performed in 1760. By comparing the chorus lists in printed librettos with entries in the Amelot manuscript, one can determine the distribution of choral parts for most of Rameau's works performed at the Opera, at least up to the 1750s. In practice, of course, a singer may have performed a different part on occasion, although the relatively distinct ranges of the three male voice parts make this possibility seem unlikely.

The lists of performers in printed librettos also provide us with evidence about the changes in overall size of the chorus during Rameau's career (see Table II, which conflates information from the Amelot manuscript and printed librettos). The total number of singers increased from about 32 to about 40 between 1730 and 1760, and during the same period the distribution of parts within the chorus also changed markedly. In the 1730s, the three lower parts appear to have been nearly equally distributed (with a slightly larger basse section). The dessus remained the largest of all, a tradition since Lully's day.(28) During the late 1740s and the 1750s, there was a trend towards a slight reduction in the inner parts and a modest increase in the basses, and by the mid 1750s we find an increase in both the outer parts and a reduction in the inner ones, especially in the tailles. Looking at individual works is also instructive. The premiere of Hippolyte et Aricie in 1733 included a chorus of 30, with the distribution slightly favouring the dessus and basse sections. The chorus for the 1742 performance, with only one additional singer, was more equally distributed among the male parts. In 1757, however, the chorus was significantly larger, with 38 singers in a decidedly less equal distribution. Thus we can observe in general that [TABULAR DATA FOR TABLE II OMITTED] while the dessus and basse sections tended to increase in size, the number of hautes-contres remained relatively constant, and the taille section decreased to a remarkable extent during the 1750s.


There having been a significant increase in the size of the chorus between 1733 and 1760, it remains to determine whether there is evidence of a change in Rameau's writing to accommodate the different balance and distribution of parts arising therefrom. Given the increased size of his chorus during the 1750s, we might expect him to have taken these considerations into account as he reworked certain passages, particularly in the case of works written more than a decade earlier. Although there are indications that his solo roles were frequently written with individual singers in mind, especially Marie Fel and Pierre Jelyotte,(29) no study of this aspect of his choral writing has yet been attempted. The following observations may point the way for further research in this area.

It is clear that there are considerably fewer changes in Rameau's choruses than in his vocal airs and recitatives, where he frequently rewrote passages, altered details of instrumentation, and added or deleted entire movements. Alterations that do occur include, for example, the addition of new words in one chorus for the 1754 revival of Castor et Pollux(30) and, in the same scene, some rescoring in the Choeur des Plaisirs celestes. In both the 1737 and the 1754 versions, the latter chorus begins in four parts, but in the 1737 version the trio passages are scored for divided dessus and tailles, whereas in the 1754 version the lower part is sung by tailles and hautes-contres in unison. Since the taille section had been reduced in the 1750s to only a few singers, it is possible that Rameau's addition of the haute-contre doubling was out of consideration for balance. In the 1754 version, Rameau also added a new petit choeur ('Qu'il est doux') with a particularly attractive scoring of solo voice (Castor) and [] dessus and tailles, followed in bar 8 by a brief pairing of the solo voice again with the [] dessus in thirds to delightful effect (Ex. 1).(31) Another type of revision is the solo line for Pluto added for the 1742 revival of Hippolyte et Aricie during the chorus of infernal spirits (II.2), which is preserved in an autograph annotation in a copy of the 1733 printed score [ILLUSTRATION FOR PLATE II OMITTED]. Although we cannot be certain that Rameau undertook revisions such as these with the performing forces at the Opera in mind, they do nevertheless demonstrate Rameau's concern for textural variety and balance within the chorus.

It is clear that in performances of Rameau's works today we must be aware of the size as well as the balance of parts within the chorus, and must uphold in particular the principle that the outer parts are always more heavily weighted. Ideally, we should look for a total of 30-40 singers, with the parts balanced in favour of the dessus and basse. The chorus's distribution resembles that of the orchestra in this regard, since woodwind instruments (principally oboes and bassoons) also doubled the outer parts there. The varied textures of Rameau's petit choeur are enhanced by the use of male singers for the haute-contre, and it seems that Rameau's scoring and even some of his revisions were completed with these performance issues in mind. The [Musical Expression Omitted] [Musical Expression Omitted] [Musical Expression Omitted] presence of as many as 30-40 singers on the stage offers an opportunity, too, for some interesting dramatic moments, both visual and aural. Although the physical movement of the chorus was probably restrained in general, some gestures of the hands or arms and some facial expressions may have been employed.(32) This new information concerning the size and distribution of the chorus also has implications for future recordings of Rameau's music, since the original proportions of both chorus and orchestra contribute significantly to the clarity of texture and counterpoint it requires. When the chorus is large enough to balance a full orchestral complement, the interplay between instruments and voices, and between solo and tutti, displays to best advantage the full range of Rameau's skill and inventiveness.

1 Hippolyte et Aricie, Act IV scene 4, in Jean-Philippe Rameau: Oeuvres completes, ed. Camille Saint-Saens et al., Paris, 1900 (repr. New York, henceforth OC). 1968, vi. 320; Castor et Pollux, Act I scene 1 (1737 version), OC, viii. 62-67.

2 Jean-Philippe Rameau, Observations sur notre instinct pour la musique, Paris, 1754, p. 68, given in La Querelle des bouffons, ed. Denise Launay, Geneva, 1973. iii. 67-68. According to the anonymous author (Travenol?) of La galerie de l'Academie Royale de Musique, Paris, 1754, p. 42. the music of the chorus owed its effect to its 'complete harmony'; see La Querelle des bouffons, ed. Denise Launay, ii. 1528. In another anonymous pamphlet - Refutation suivie et ditaillee des principles de M. Rousseau de Geneve (Paris, 1754) - the writer poses the question (p. 65) of whether Telaire's grief would be as touching if heard from 'un Acteur subalterne qui viendroit raconter led details de cette mort, en s'afforcant d'etre tragique'. He concludes that the chorus is much more effective as Rameau wrote it.

3 For example, Paul-Marie Masson, L'Opera de Rameau, Paris, 1930 (repr. New York, 1972), 287-312; Glen Edward Barksdale, The Chorus in French Opera (unpublished dissertation), University of Utah, 1973; Robert Peter Wolf, Jean-Philippe Rameau's comedie lyrique 'Les Paladins' (1760): a Critical Edition and Study (unpublished dissertation), Yale University, 1977; Etienne Haeringer, L 'Esthetique de l'opera en France au temps de Jean-Philippe Rameau, Oxford, 1990, pp. 32-34. For developments in choral writing between Lully and Rameau, see especially James R. Anthony, French Baroque Music from Beaujoyeulx to Rameau, 2nd edn., rev., New York, 1978, pp. 88-91; Robert Fajon, 'Le Preramiste dans le repertoire de l'Opera', Jean-Philippe Rameau: Colloque international Dijon 21-24 septembre 1983, ed. Jerome de La Gorce, Paris, 1987, pp. 307-29; and Leslie Ellen Brown, 'Departures from Lullian Convention in the tragedie lyrique of the preramiste Era', Recherches sur la musique francaise classique, xxii (1984), 59-78.

4 One of the most vexing problems facing a conductor is, of course, the relatively high register of the haute-contre part and the shortage of singers trained for it. A recent exception to the frequent solution of substituting female altos is William Christie's recording of Castor et Pollux (Harmonia Mundi 901435-7), in which the haute-contre section consists entirely of male voices. Nevertheless, Christie's chorus is considerably smaller than Rameau's (24 singers instead of 30-40), and the balance (9-4-5-6) only slightly layouts the top part instead of establishing a distinct polarity between the outer voices.

5 Masson, L'Opera de Rameau, pp. 298, 299 n. 1.

6 The nineteen men included six hautes-contres, four tailles and nine basses according to De Jeze, Etat ou tableau de la Ville de Paris, Paris, 1760, ii. 2, 3, cited in Masson, L'Opera de Rameau, p. 299 n. 1. Working on the basis of a 3:1 ratio of men's to women's parts, James Anthony reaches a different conclusion by observing a 'disproportion resulting from this domination by male voices' (French Baroque Music, p. 90). Although the total number of men's voices was undoubtedly larger, it does not necessarily follow that an unbalanced sound would result when heard within the four-part texture, especially when one considers that the soprano part was at times augmented by falsettists and boys.

7 Lois Rosow, Lully's 'Armide' at the Paris Opera: a Performance History, 1686-1766 (unpublished dissertation), Brandeis University, 1981, i. 235-7; eadem, 'Performing a Choral Dialogue', Early Music, xv (1987), 325-35, at p. 326; Antonia Banducci, 'Tancrede' by Antoine Danchet and Andre Campra: Performance History and Reception (17021764) (unpublished dissertation), Washington University, St Louis, 1990, p. 334.

8 Paris, Bibliotheque Nationale, V[m.sup.2] 106, Act III, p. 255. According to an anonymous writer in the Mercure de France (October 1745, p. 142), Rameau's invocation scene in Les Fetes de Polymnie compared favourably with Collasse's famous passage because the chorus was 'beaucoup plus travaille'. Rameau's chorus, however, calls for the normal distribution in four parts (G2, C3, C4, F4).

9 At least four eighteenth-century treatises provide ranges for all six voice types as follows. [?] David, Methode nouvelle ou principes generaux pour apprendre facilement la musique et l'art de chanter, Paris. [1737]. 76: dessus, d' -a"; has dessus, c' -a"; haute-contre, e-c"; taille, c-a'; basse-taille, E-d'; basse, F-e'. [?] de Lachapelle, Suite des vrais principes de la musique, livre [3.sup.e], Paris, 1739, p. 53: dessus, d' -a"; bas dessus, b-f"; haute-contre, e-b"; taille, c-g'; basse-taille, F-c"; basse, F-c". Michel Corrette, Le Parfait Maitre a chanter, Paris, [1758], 19: dessus, e' -a"; has dessus, c' -e"; haute-contre, g-c'; taille, e-g', basse-taille, G-f'. Jean Benjamin de La Borde, Essai sur la musique ancienne et moderne, Paris, 1780, ii. 25-26: dessus; e' -b flat"; bas-dessus, a-g", haute-contre, g-c"; taille, d-g'; basse-taille, A-f'; basse, E flat-c'.

10 See the entry 'Choeur' in Jean-Jacques Rousseau, Dictionnaire de musique, Paris, 1768 (repr. New York, 1969), 96. James Anthony again reaches a different conclusion (French Baroque Music, loc. cit.): that the vocal petit choeur and grand choeur may be equated with the Italian use of concertino and ripieno. Although the two terms were used in this way in reference to the Opera orchestra, in the case of the chorus they referred to the texture, that is, the number of voice parts, and not to a reduction or increase in the number of singers per part.

11 Again, 'Choeur' in Rousseau, Dictionnaire de musique; and also Haeringer, L'Esthetique de l'opera en France au temps de Jean-Philippe Rameau, pp. 30-34.

12 Masson, 'French Opera from Lully to Rameau', The New Oxford History of Music, v: Opera and Church Music, 1630-1750, ed. Anthony Lewis & Nigel Fortune, London, 1975, pp. 256-7. The music is in OC, xv. 166 ff.; and see also Masson, L 'Opera de Rameau, p. 305.

13 The 'Acteurs et actrices chantans dans les Choeurs' are listed as follows in the printed libretto (p. 4; in four columns):

Dessus / Les Demoiselles / Dun, Tulou, Delorge, Larcher, Delastre, Riviere, Cazeau, De Lurcie, Montbrun, Cartou, Monville, Masson, Rollet, Delorme, Lablotiere, Chedville, Requier, Gondre [18]

Hautes-contres / Les Sieurs / Levasseur, Belot, Dugue, Chapotin, Louatron, Cordelet, Rhone, Duguay, LeBegue, Bazire, Guedon, Bertrand [12]

Tailles / Les Sieurs / Fel, Bourque, Duchenet, Gallard, Rochette, Houbeau, Bornet, Cuvillier, Pinot, Daigremont [10]

Basses-Tailles / Les Sieurs / Marcelet, Le Page - C., Armand, Lefebvre, L'Aubertie, Bellanger, De Serre, Gratin, Le Mesle, St. Martin, Secqueval, Dun, Lamarre, Godoneche, Douzain, Benoit [16]

14 When the work was performed in Paris in 1748 and 1754, however, the size of the chorus was reduced, to 35 in 1748 (nineteen women and sixteen men) and 40 in 1754 (nineteen women and 21 men). This is closer to the norm for Rameau's other works of the same period; see Table II, below. In the 1753 performance at Fontainebleau, the chorus included only twenty singers (six women and fourteen men).

15 Jerome de La Gorce, 'L'Academie Royale de Musique en 1704, d'apres des documents inedits conserves dans les archives notariales', Revue de musicologie, lxv (1979), 160-91.

16 See Rosow, Lully's 'Armide' at the Paris Opera, i. 233.

17 See La Gorce, 'L'Academie Royale de Musique en 1704', pp. 174-5.

18 See, for example, the 1674 engraving by Le Pautre of Lully's Alceste. Neal Zaslaw, who studied the engraving carefully for the exact size and distribution of the chorus and orchestra, counts seven singers in the left box and five in the right one; see his 'Lully's Orchestra', Jean-Baptiste Lully: Acres du colloque Saint-Germain-en-Laye/Heidelberg, 1987, ed. Jerome de La Gorce, Laaber, 1990, pp. 539-79, at pp. 543-5.

19 Jean-Baptiste Durey de Noinville, Histoire du theatre de l'Academie Royale de Musique en France, depuis son etablissement jusqu 'a present, 2nd edn., Paris, 1757, pp. 133-4.

20 See also Banducci, 'Tancrede' by Antoine Danchet and Andre Campra, p. 334.

21 Nicolas Boindin, Lettres historiques sur les spectacles de Paris, Paris, 1719, p. 113. His figures for the orchestra include a petit choeur of eleven and a grand choeur of 32.

22 Histoire du theatre de l'Academie Royale de Musique en France, pp. 118-20. On the use of pages in the chorus, see Lionel Sawkins, 'For and against the Order of Nature: Who Sang the Soprano?', Early Music, xv (1987), 315-24.

23 Graham Sadler, 'Rameau's Singers and Players at the Paris Opera', Early Music, xi (1983), 453-67, at p. 459.

24 La Borde, Essai sur la musique ancienne et moderne, i. 40.

25 Sadler, 'Rameau's Singers and Players at the Paris Opera'; idem, 'The Paris Opera Dancers in Rameau's Day: a Little-Known Inventory of 1738', Jean-Philippe Rameau: Dijon 1983, pp. 519-31.

26 Sadler, 'Rameau's Singers and Players at the Paris Opera', p. 466 n. 4.

27 Dun pere, a basse-taille active between 1686 and 1736.

28 See Rosow, 'Performing a Choral Dialogue by Lully', p. 326.

29 See Mary Cyr, 'Eighteenth-Century French and Italian Singing: Rameau's Writing for the Voice', Music & Letters, lxi (1980), 318-37.

30 Rameau replaced the original text beginning 'Connaissez notre puissance' with 'Pouvez-vous m'econnaitre [sic]'; see OC, viii. 143, 405.

31 In OC, viii. 427, the passage lacks the indication '[]' for the dessus part, but Rameau's marking is essential for the balance.

32 Antonia Banducci discusses an exceptional example of a chorus of soldiers moving to centre stage in Campra's Tancrede (1.3); see her 'Staging a tragedie en musique: a 1748 Promptbook of Campra's Tancrede', Early Music, xxi (1993), 180-90. Another example of movement by a chorus (in this case, nine singers), and also by an on-stage oboe band, can be found in the original choreography for a mascarade performed at Versailles in 1688; see Rebecca Harris-Warrick & Carol G. Marsh, Musical Theatre at the Court of Louis XIV: the Example of 'Le Mariage de la Grosse Cathos', Cambridge, forthcoming. I am grateful to Rebecca Harris-Warrick for providing me with a copy of Chapter 4 ('Le Mariage de la Grosse Cathos in Performance') and for drawing my attention to this new material. On iconographical and documentary evidence supporting the use of gesture by the chorus, see also Mary Cyr, 'The Dramatic Role of the Chorus in French Opera: Evidence for the Use of Gesture, 1670-1770', Opera and the Enlightenment, ed. Thomas Bauman & Marita P. McClymonds, Cambridge, forthcoming.


The following list includes information about singers at the Academie Royale de Musique (the Paris Opera) between 1669 and 1758 drawn from the Amelot manuscript Paris, Bibliotheque-Musee de l'Opera, Res. 516, pp. 281-430). Amelot also includes entries for dancers, members of the Opera orchestra, and other employees such as set and costume designers; these are omitted below. The information given in each entry generally includes the date of appointment as either a soloist or a member of the chorus, salary and subsequent increases awarded, dates of service, and circumstances of retirement or termination. I have summarized this information, particularly that relating to years of service; salary figures have been omitted, but dates of appointment (= 'appt.') and leave or termination are included. Inconsistencies of wording reflect inconsistencies in the source.

The spelling of names and the use of accents follow Amelot. Entries there appear in the order (i) singers, (ii) members of the orchestra, (iii) dancers and others; they are normally alphabetical within these categories, although singers appointed in the 1750s are usually entered at the end of each entire alphabetical section. The present order is purely alphabetical; when two names are identical, the older singer is entered first. Names such as 'de Cazeau' and 'De Briere' are entered according to their alphabetical position in Amelot; the use of upper case follows the original. Since all female singers were assigned to the same part (dessus), voice parts are identified only for male singers (h-c = haute-contre; t = taille; b-t = basse-taille). Names that appear in italic are not in Amelot but have been added from Vol. 3 of Jean Benjamin de La Borde's Essai sur la musique ancienne et moderne (Paris, 1780). Although a few other singers' names are known, the sources (with the exception of La Borde) do not give their voice type. Footnotes provide additional information about some well-known singers. Further information about these and other performers at the Opera can be found in Jean-Baptiste Durey de Noinville's Histoire du theatre de l'Academie Royale de Musique en France, depuis son etablissement jusqu a present (2nd edn., Paris, 1757) and in Emile Campardon's L 'Academie Royale de Musique au [XVIII.sup.e] siecle (Paris, 1884).

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Title Annotation:Academie Royale de Musique; Jean Philippe Rameau
Author:Cyr, Mary
Publication:Music & Letters
Date:Feb 1, 1995
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