Mounting an opera production might be compared to creating a critical edition of a musical work: those involved in each activity make creative choices, ones that impact on an audience’s experience of those pieces, and, in turn, influence those pieces’ own histories. Arguably such choices become inseparable from the works themselves. These thorny questions are crucial for understanding the musical life of Parma, one of the foremost centres for French opera and ballet outside Paris in the mid-eighteenth century. Understanding Mangot’s milieu sheds light on his importance within it. In 1749 Parma’s new sovereign, Philippe de Bourbon, attempted to transform the city into a modern and sophisticated European capital. In 1759, court composer Tommaso Traetta began to write innovative Italian operas, combining French-inspired dances, choruses and ensembles with Italianate arias, recitatives and other dramaturgical features.