This is the first critical study of the nineteenth-century French grand opera La Juive (Paris Opera, 1835), a powerful and successful work by the leading dramatist and librettist Eugene Scribe, and Conservatoire-trained composer, Fromental Halevy. Hallman explores the politically charged messages of the opera within the context of French social and cultural history. The book addresses the opera's portrayal of religious intolerance and Jewish-Christian conflict in subject, setting, and characterization, viewing the anticlerical thrust of its critique as a reminder of the historical abuses of an autocratic Church and State and as reflection of the era's liberal ideology. It also considers the portrayal of the central Jewish characters in light of literary stereotypes and contradictory, antisemitic attitudes toward Jews in French society.
Diana Hallman is Associate Professor of Musicology at the University of Kentucky. She is a contributing author to the forthcoming Cambridge Companion to Grand Opera edited by David Charlton, and has written articles and reviews concerning Halevy and the politics of French grand opera, as well as an article on the librettist Ludovic Halevy, in the Dictionary of Literary Biography, 1998. She was a featured speaker for the BBC's live broadcast of La Juive from the Vienna Staatsoper, 1999. Dr Hallman's research interests also include the history of American concert life and performance, and she is completing a book on turn-of-the-century Austrian-American pianist Fannie Bloomfield Zeisler.