These publications have received funding from the European Union’s Horizon 2020 research and innovation programme under the Marie Skłodowska-Curie grant agreement no 893106

Elisa Cazzato, “Performing for Napoleon: Production Quarrels at the Paris Opéra”

Dance Research, 41.2 (2023): 275–296 

This study addresses the collaboration of the stage designer Ignazio Degotti (1758–1824) with the choreographer Pierre Gardel (1758–1840) in a series of works presented at the Théâtre de l’Opéra in Paris during the Napoleonic administration (1804–1815). Backstage episodes in three key performances demonstrate that although the Opéra was politically crucial to Napoleon, there were practical problems in theatre management on his watch. This study argues that the inadequacy of spaces for artistic creation and a lack of coordination among the creative team were the most pressing issues in this respect.

Elisa Cazzato, “«Le plus grand théâtre de la République, la première réputation dans l’Europe». Ignazio Degotti (1758-1824) Behind the Stage of the Paris Opéra”

Studi Francesi, 201, in press

This article explores the role, the vision, and the artistic expectations of the Italian stage designer Ignazio Degotti (1758-1824). With a few career interruptions, Degotti was the principal stage designer of the Théâtre de l’Opéra from 1795 to 1822. He approached his art as a fine and skilled connoisseur of architecture, perspective, decoration, and botany. Convinced that much of the effect of the opera resided in the visual, Degotti gave himself a special status of an artistic interlocutor among other opera creators. His persona, however, rarely fit the controlling requirements of theatre administration. Frustrating requests urged him to produce grandeur on stage, but under controlled timelines and budgets. Meanwhile, outside the Opéra, Degotti worked with Jacques-Louis David, organising the scenography of the Coronation’s painting; his portrait stands right next to that of Napoleon’s First Painter. It is when Degotti eluded the daily fights and controls of the Opéra and meshed his talents with art-academy relationships that he settled comfortably into his artistic role. Through unpublished archival material, this paper brings to the foreground the figure of Degotti, promoting his practice as an account very much integrated into the visual and cultural histories of his time.