ABSTRACT

The genesis of Gambara, marred by a complicated transaction between an undecided author and an eager publisher, is in itself a tale. The cell of the original idea fissioned, producing what were to become shortly the two organisms of Gambara and Massimilla Doni. Gambara, by the novelist's own admission "that character worthy of Hoffmann", is a fit descendant of conductor Krelsler and of Knight Gluck. Two common denominators underlying the thinking of Hoffmann and Balzac relate to the nature of the composer and the role of the human voice in opera. Hoffmann's idea of the supernatural merely added an extra dimension to the nature of the composer without replacing the fundamental concept of Gretry. Through Gambara's Mahomet, Honore de Balzac too maintained the primary role of the subject in guiding the musician toward a vision of poetic truth.