Étienne-Nicolas Méhul's greatest contributions to music were his operas, in which dramatic truth was the paramount goal. The tremendous variety among his operas and his frequently daring and innovative approaches result from consistently putting the requirements of the drama first. Stratonice shows the consolidation and development of new and more extended forms, a greater role for the orchestra, and a broader range of effects, achieved through a larger harmonic vocabula ry, remote modulations, and deliberately unmelodic writing for the voice when justified by the exigencies of the text. Méhul's works for the Opéra-Comique of the 1790s were the mainstay of the Paris repertoire and were often performed elsewh ere. As a group they show better than the oeuvre of any other single composer the stylistic break with the works of the previous generation, the developments contributing to their far greater dramatic impact, and the musical innovations which proved to be influential precedents for Romantic music.