Querelle des Bouffons  

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Train wreck at Montparnasse (October 22, 1895) by Studio Lévy and Sons.
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Train wreck at Montparnasse (October 22, 1895) by Studio Lévy and Sons.

The Querelle des Bouffons (also known as the Guerre des Bouffons; English: War of the Comic Actors) was the name given to a battle of musical philosophies in France which took place between 1752 and 1754. The controversy concerned the relative merits of French and Italian opera.

It was sparked by the reaction of literary Paris to a performance of Giovanni Battista Pergolesi's short intermezzo La serva padrona at the Académie royale de musique in Paris on August 1, 1752. La serva padrona was performed by an itinerant Italian troupe of comic actors, known as buffoni (bouffons in French, hence the name of the quarrel). The work had already been given in Paris in 1746, but had attracted little notice. This time it provoked a full-scale war of words between the defenders of the French operatic tradition and the champions of Italian music. In the controversy which followed critics such as Jean-Jacques Rousseau and Friedrich Melchior Grimm, together with other writers associated with the Encyclopédie praised Italian opera buffa and compared it favourably to French lyric tragedy, a style originated by Jean-Baptiste Lully and promoted among then-living composers such as French composer Jean-Philippe Rameau.

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Unless indicated otherwise, the text in this article is either based on Wikipedia article "Querelle des Bouffons" or another language Wikipedia page thereof used under the terms of the GNU Free Documentation License; or on original research by Jahsonic and friends. See Art and Popular Culture's copyright notice.

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