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Music and story

Most important of all is the fact that for each new ballet-pantomime created at the Paris Opéra during the July Monarchy, a new score was produced. The reason for this is simple: these ballet-pantomimes told stories—elaborate ones—and music was considered an indispensable tool in getting them across to the audience. , music had to be newly created to fit each story.

Music tailor-made for each new ballet-pantomime, however, was only one weapon in the Opéra’s explanatory arsenal. was the ballet-pantomime libretto, a printed booklet of fifteen to forty pages in length, which was sold in the Opéra’s lobby (like the opera libretto), and which laid out the plot in painstaking detail, scene by scene. Critics also took it upon themselves to recount the plots (of both ballet-pantomimes and operas) in their of premières. So did the publishers of souvenir albums, which also featured pictures of famous and of scenes from favourite ballet-pantomimes and operas.