Paris: Opera Reigns Supreme

  • James Harding
Part of the Man & Music book series (MAMU)


The France that Napoleon created has been with us for nearly two centuries. His influence remains pervasive and inescapable throughout every aspect of French life. He modelled the legal system and divided the country into administrative units, each named after a local river and with its prefect whose duty was to keep an eye on the provinces and report to central government in Paris any unrest or conspiracy. Education was reformed and new institutions were created to ensure la carrière ouverte aux talents. The constitution of the Comédie-Française was dictated by the busy emperor at a spare moment during the Moscow campaign, and he found time, between plotting battle positions, to reorganize the Paris Conservatoire. The system of concierges in Paris houses gave him a useful network of spies who kept the police in touch with what was going on. He even laid down the method by which houses in the streets of the capital were to be numbered. As a young man he had written a sentimental novel in the best — or perhaps the worst — tradition of the emergent Romantic movement. He is now known to have composed an opera; it probably followed the model of Paisiello, a composer said to be his favourite musician.


French Literature Paris House Opera House Favourite Musician Great Composer 
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Bibliographical Note Historical and cultural background

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Copyright information

© Granada Group and The Macmillan Press Ltd 1991

Authors and Affiliations

  • James Harding

There are no affiliations available

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