Saint-Saëns was consciously using the hyperchromaticism of Liszt and Wagner in his opera, and the French were embroiled in the early stages of one of the largest ideological battles in music history: those who favored the “New Music” of Liszt and Wagner versus those who allied themselves with the more conservative classical tradition of composers like Mozart, Schubert and Brahms. Thus, many in the French musical establishment felt Saint-Saëns was too liberal or progressive.