The fashion of Rossinism in Paris under the Restoration

The fashion of Rossinism in Paris under the Restoration

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  • Rossini single-handedly supporting all of Italian opera.

    DELACROIX Eugène (1798 - 1863)

  • Rossini.

    MAILLY Hippolyte (1829)

To close

Title: Rossini single-handedly supporting all of Italian opera.

Author : DELACROIX Eugène (1798 - 1863)

Creation date : 1821

Date shown: 1821

Dimensions: Height 26.8 - Width 21.3

Technique and other indications: Extract from the Journal le Miroir

Storage place: National Library of France (Paris) website

Contact copyright: © Photo National Library of France

Picture reference: Music Prints IFN-07721522 img 8

Rossini alone supporting all of Italian opera.

© Photo National Library of France

To close

Title: Rossini.

Author : MAILLY Hippolyte (1829 -)

Creation date : 1867

Date shown: 04 July 1867

Dimensions: Height 37.5 - Width 28.5

Technique and other indications: Handcoloured lithograph by H. Mailly but after Dantan. (published in Le Hanneton, July 4, 1867)

Storage place: National Library of France (Paris) website

Contact copyright: © Photo National Library of France

Picture reference: Music Prints IFN-07722116 img 15

© Photo National Library of France

Publication date: December 2005

Historical context

When Rossini arrived in Paris in November 1823, he was no stranger because twelve of his works had already been staged at the Théâtre-Italien, including four in 1822. Rossini enjoyed a life of glory, honor and wealth in Paris. during two major phases of his existence: from 1823 to 1836, then from 1855 to his death in 1868. He was the most famous composer of his time, in France but also abroad, being a myth during his lifetime.

Image Analysis

Delacroix's humorous engraving is part of a set published in the Mirror of spectacles, letters, customs and the arts of August 13, 1821, while the painter, passionate about music, occasionally worked on caricatures for financial reasons. At this time, the influence of the press in political and cultural life becomes decisive. Music journals are the precious mirrors of musical life in the 19th century.e century. In the field of lyrical art, their role is considerable, and the place they devote to performance reviews and to the artists themselves confirms the interest that society now has in music. Delacroix wanted to express the essence of the Italian Theater, embodied here by Rossini - braced on his widely spread legs, the young composer already covered with glory fills the entire stage with his genius. He supports with all his might three singers, protagonists of his main works, who have met with phenomenal success at the Théâtre-Italien in Paris. On the left are two of the greatest performers of his opera Otello, the Spanish tenor Manuel García, who created the title role, and La Pasta, who played the role of Desdemona and seems to slip out of his brain. Indeed, the creation ofOtello at the Théâtre-Italien on May 31, 1821, was a key moment for Parisian Rossinism. On the right, we recognize Figaro (The Barber of Seville) played by singer Pellegrini. Rossini's pockets are overflowing with scores, illustrating the abundance of his work and his ease of composing.

"Here is a drawing of unusual boldness and impertinence that deserves correction ... What blasphemy! "So Stendhal quipped about this work, which he actually found tangy and spiritual. In fact, this lithograph only affirms the immense importance of Rossini's music at the Théâtre-Italien. In barely two years, the progress of Rossinian performances was overwhelming. At the date when this plate was published, the Théâtre-Italien had already given, since the beginning of the year, eighty-one performances, forty-five of which were devoted to Rossini, and this trend was going to be accentuated to peak in 1826. -1827 while the other composers gradually disappeared from the scene.

Hippolyte Mailly caricature illustrates the second period that Rossini lived in Paris. This colored lithograph in fact evokes the last important work that Rossini composed in his life as a musician. It is the hymn to Napoleon III which was commissioned to be performed during the solemn distribution of the awards at the Universal Exhibition of 1867, in the gigantic Palace of Industry. Dedicated to the Emperor, this piece was performed during the ceremony immediately after the arrival of Napoleon III and his retinue. The event sparked many caricatures. This charge against Rossini represents him as a man-orchestra, in full effervescence, surrounded by a multitude of rhythms and musical notes. At the same time, the one who was called Signor Tambourossini, because of the importance he placed on percussion, blows a bugle, rings a bell and lights the barrel of the barrel. The caricature here alludes to the "Rossini revolution", its powerful, brilliant orchestra, and its fiery crescendos. The Parisian press was actually quite divided on the merits of the work, but all the papers mentioned the cannon shots in the finale and the sensational effect of the sound of the bells. The war songs, large and powerful, were of a grand effect, but the military and violent nature of the music was criticized. Some accused the composer of "making noise", of causing a deafening uproar. The cannon is also often represented in Rossini's satirical images as a substitute for the instrument.

Almost half a century apart, these two images also illustrate the evolution of the romantic generation, little by little overtaken by power and institutionalization on the one hand, and by a production in the process of industrialization of the 'other.


Despite a long tradition of Franco-Italian exchanges, national susceptibility was always ready to awaken, and Rossini's entry into the Opera was not smooth. His status as a foreigner made his position very delicate. The growing enthusiasm for his music in the early 1820s was unbearable for some and created a heated climate of controversy. His enemies reproached him for producing easy, pleasant, almost commercial music.

A fiery representative of Italian and modern music, Rossini angered both nationalists and traditionalists. Some viewed with displeasure the neglected French opera and its representatives eclipsed by Italian vogue, others witnessed with regret the gradual abandonment of classical works such as those by Cimarosa or Paisiello, in favor of works by Rossini alone. As a result, in the face of the triumphant Rossinist movement, we saw the emergence of an active anti-Rossinism, which for several years favored the emergence of numerous articles and pamphlets.

  • caricature
  • Italy
  • music
  • opera
  • Restoration
  • Rossini (Gioacchino)
  • Second Empire
  • Theater-Italian


Jean-Marie BRUSON, Rossini in Paris, catalog of the exhibition of the Musée Carnavalet, October 27-December 31, 1992, Paris, Society of Friends of the Carnavalet Museum, 1992 Damien COLAS, Rossini, the opera of light, Paris, Gallimard , coll. "Discoveries", 1992.

To cite this article

Catherine AUTHIER, "The fashion of Rossinism in Paris under the Restoration"

Video: 100 Years of French Fashion. Glamour


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