Publisher synopsis: French opera is second only to Italian opera in the length, breadth and diversity of its history. Yet most people, if asked to come up with titles, could mention only a handful of titles - Carmen, Faust, Pelleas et Melisande, Samson et Dalila - a small list for an operatic tradition that began in the seventeenth century and is still very much alive. This book provides a full, single-volume account of opera in France from its origins to the present day. Vincent Giroud looks at the leading composers, from Lully to Messiaen and beyond; at the development of French operatic form and style; at performance, performers, and audience; and at the impact of French opera beyond France's borders. Lovers of opera will find this an ideal companion to their appreciation of the form.