La Feste de Chantilly and the dances of Guillaume-Louis Pécour, August 1688, J Thorp

Tags: dancers, Chantilly, Monseigneur, Versailles, Michel Blondy, Mademoiselle Subligny, Grand Dauphin, France, Lestang, entertainment, Mademoiselle de La Fontaine, Jean-Baptiste Lully, Claude Balon, Subligny, Jennifer Thorp, French opera, Perdou de Subligny, Mademoiselle, Madame La Princesse de Conti, Ensemble, Michel Le Clerc, Louis Lestang, Gaudon Messieurs Magny, Pierre Piquet, Feste de Venus, Messieurs, Feste de Chantilly, Messieurs des Hayes, Paolo Lorenzani, Le Sueur, Desnoyers, Mlle de La Fontaine seule, Mlle de La Fontaine Troupe, Blondy Monsieur de, Mlles de Subligny, Morel Mlle de Subligny seule, Messieurs Poitier, Piffetot Mlle Pesan L., Mlle de La Fontaine, Huit Compagnons de Gelon Messieurs Diot, Desnoyers C. Mlles Durieux, Messieurs Thibault, Seve Messieurs Magny, Mlles de La Fontaine, Pesan L. Mons, La Feste de Chantilly, Stag hunt, Pesan L. Louis Lestang, Madame la Duchesse, Duc de Nevers, Mlle La Fontaine, Piftot Piquet Poitier Prevost Renaud Roussel Subligny Thibaut, Monsieur le Duc, Madame la Princesse, Prince de Cond, Mademoiselle de Nantes, Princesse de Conti, Madame de Montespan, Appartement, Mademoiselle de Blois, Mademoiselle La Valliere, Wolf hunt, Temple de la Paix, Louis XIV, Enchantment, Antonio Cesti, entertainments, Le Grand Cond, Paris, theatrical dance, Jean-Louis Lully, La Chapelle, Fontainebleau, Pierre Beauchamps, le Duc, Maison de Sylvie, Lestang Lestang Magny Morel Pecour Pesan C. Pesan, Charles Desnoyers, Jacques-Claude Renaud
Content: La Feste de Chantilly and the dances of Guillaume-Louis Pйcour, August 1688 Jennifer Thorp
Guillaume-Louis Pйcour (1653­1729) is best known today for his numerous dances for the ballroom and the stage, many of the latter being created for magnificent productions at the Paris Opйra and performed by the leading dancers of their day. Thanks to the work of Jйrфme de La Gorce we know much about Pйcour's background and career,1 but one source worthy of closer attention is the detailed description of the extraordinary entertainments put on at the chateau of Chantilly by Henri-Jules, the new Prince of Bourbon-Condй (his father, Le Grand Condй, having died in 1686), for the eight-day visit of Monseigneur le Grand Dauphin and his entourage in August 1688.2 The description, probably penned by Jean Donneau de Vizй, was published in a Special Issue of the Mercure galant that September and also issued separately as a small volume.3 It confirms that entertaining the heir to the French throne and his entourage was not for the faint-hearted: it required stamina, good taste, and much money. Along with the wolf and deer hunts, visits to the menagerie and the maze, the many banquets, concerts and evening appartements, there was also opera in the Orangery theatre, and a huge open-air divertissement for which Pйcour created the dances. Since he had only recently begun to take over some of Pierre Beauchamps' choreographic responsibilities at the Acadйmie royale de musique (the Paris Opйra), the Chantilly entertainments were among the earliest major events that Pйcour undertook in his burgeoning career as choreographer to that institution. The event also marks what may be the earliest documented performance of the young Anthony L'Abbй, who would later attract considerable fame in London.4 The estate of Chantilly, situated about thirty miles north of Paris, was home to the princely Condй family. Louis, `le Grand Condй', a powerful opponent of the King during the wars of the Fronde, had forfeited the estates in 1654 but managed to regain favour partly by his military prowess and partly by making Chantilly second only to Versailles for its outstanding beauty and lavish hospitality.5 Louis XIV himself visited in 1671 (the occasion now, alas, best remembered for the suicide of Condй's major-domo Vatel after the catering went awry), and Henri-Jules in turn continued to pour money into the spectacular park, hunting grounds and entertainments for which Chantilly became renowned; small wonder that the Grand Dauphin was keen to visit in August 1688. There was another reason too, for three years earlier his half-sister Louise had married HenriJules's eldest son, the next heir to Chantilly. Despite some discrepancies in his arithmetic, the commentator's detailed descriptions of the entire eight-day visit convey an excellent sense of the extravagant nature of each entertainment: see Table 1 for a summary of the main events. Those which involved theatrical dance were the open-air procession and ballet by woodland deities; the opera Orontйe; and a staged divertissement titled Le Dieu Pan. Copyright © 2016 Jennifer Thorp This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial- NoDerivatives 4.0 International License. Published on-line 20 December 2016
Day 1: open-air procession, ballet and Lysisca's Hunt The first musical entertainment took place on the day of Monseigneur's arrival (Sunday 22 August). He and his hosts spent the day hunting, ending up at a clearing in the forest known as La Table where twelve avenues met. At their point of intersection a wooden rotunda was built, with views out across the avenues; and inside the rotunda was a large circular table reached by a flight of steps. After a repast of hot and cold dishes had been served, Monseigneur heard drums and trumpets, giving way to `hautbois, flutes, musettes and several other rustic instruments' (pp. 26­27), and saw a procession coming towards him along one of the avenues. It was the god Pan (in reality Jean-Louis Lully, son of the late composer and now Superintendent of the King's Music), beating time with his staff as he walked, and followed by ninety instrumentalists dressed as `fauns, sylvans, satyrs and other woodland deities' (pp. 29­30) marching in three columns. Then came twenty-four satyrs, and twenty-one dancers6 holding cudgels, `standing on each others shoulders to form groups and looking as steady as if they were on the ground' (pp.30­31).7 After them came fifty-one singers, also dressed as forest deities. As they approached the rotunda, the hautbois players ranged themselves beside the steps, and when they were in place `the dancers executed perfectly what they had devised, which was to jump down to dance while still in their formations. For this effect those who were highest (`les plus йlevez') jumped down together in four measures and, `because no more than three at a time jumped down, one always saw three people forming the same figure as the three previous' (p.33). Clearly the twenty-one dancers came forward in rows, and however they were grouped, each threesome jumping down would add to the sense of a continuous cascade from row to row. The singers coming along behind them went off to one side, the music changed, and `all the fauns and satyrs performed a most extraordinary dance...which one might call a small ballet' (p.35), and it greatly pleased Monseigneur and his entourage. By now the singers had moved to an area where some huntsmen were apparently fast asleep.8 As the dancing ended, the singers commenced a vocal air, calling to the huntsmen to wake up for Lysisca's Hunt (p.39). The men made a great dumb-show of waking up, hunting horns blared out and a captured stag was released across Monseigneur's field of vision. Predictably, he called for hounds and horses, which of course appeared immediately, and off they went in pursuit. The commentator noted that all the music was by Jean-Louis Lully9 and all the dances by Guillaume-Louis Pйcour, and that Jean Berain, `Dessinateur ordinaire du Cabinet du Roy', designed all the costumes as well as the rotunda itself (pp. 44­46). Days 2 & 3: the opera Orontйe The next theatrical entertainment occurred on the following two evenings (Monday 23 and Tuesday 24 August), in performances of Paulo Lorenzani's only French Opera, Orontйe.10 It was staged in Berain's speciallyconstructed theatre in the Orangery. According to the commentator, this building was seventy toises11 (approximately four hundred and twenty feet) long,
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Table 1. Programme of events at Chantilly, August 1688
1st day: Sun. 22nd 2nd day: Mon. 23rd 3rd day: Tue. 24th 4th day: Wed. 25th 5th day: Thu. 26th 6th day: Fri. 27th 7th day: Sat. 28th 8th day: Sun. 29th Mon. 30th
Monseigneur comes from Versailles to the edge of the forest; met by le Prince de Condй & Mons. le Duc, and hunts game birds. 5.00 pm Repast in the Forest at La Table; Divertissement and Lysisca's Hunt. Return to chateau; Supper. Wolf hunt near the village of La Chapelle. Visit to gardens and fountains. Opera Orontйe in the Orangery theatre. Return to chateau; Appartement. Visit to park, woodlands, canals and cascades. Repast. Visit to Menagerie. Stag hunt. Opera Orontйe in the Orangery theatre. Return to chateau; Appartement. Hunts game birds and hares. Repast. Visit to Galerie des Cerfs & Pavillon des Etuves; Cascades; Pheasantry; Bois de Lude & Pavillon de Manse. Displays of jousting and water sports; boating & fishing. Return to chateau by carriage; Appartement and Supper. Princesses* arrive from Versailles, and are met and escorted by fauns & satyrs in cavalcade. Princesses retire to the chateau while Monseigneur goes on a wolf hunt at Merlou. After dining, the Princesses watch a water tournament beneath the chateau ramparts. Stag hunt (2 hours) around l'Etang de Comelle; collation served in a specially built arbour with tents for the ladies. Boar & deer hunt from boats; some prey netted and released. Return to chateau; Appartement and opera (music concert). Monseigneur goes on a wolf hunt; ladies remain at chateau (poor weather), but he returns to dine with them. Concert in the apartments of La Princesse de Conti (Lysisca's Hunt verses adapted). Appartement and opera (music concert); Medianoche. Mass. Stag hunt with le Grand Prieur's hounds. `Disnй' (dйjeuner) at La Maison de Sylvie. Visit to the Maze, and collation; displays of tennis, archery &c.; marble statues and Enigmas. 8 -9.00 p.m. Staged divertissement in the Orangery theatre: Le Dieu-Pan et les Divinitez des Bois. 9.00 p.m. Gardens, steps and grottoes lit by flambeaux; illuminations along canal, cascades and fountains; fireworks. Monseigneur, `despite being tired', hunts for most of the day before leaving for Versailles.
* Madame la Princesse (Anne of Bavaria, wife of Henri-Jules de Condй), Madame la Duchesse (Mademoiselle de Nantes, legitimised daughter of Louis XIV & Madame de Montespan, now wife of Condй's eldest son Monsieur le Duc), the dowager Princesse de Conti (Mademoiselle de Blois, legitimised daughter of Louis XIV & Mademoiselle La Valliere), La Princesse de Conti (Condй's newly-married daughter).
twenty-seven feet wide, twenty-six feet high, and divided into three chambers opening off each other. The audience congregated in the first chamber, a Vestibule some one hundred and eighty feet long, inside which live trees were planted behind low porcelain walls either side of a pathway leading to a great marble and gold doorway sixteen feet high and eight feet wide. This doorway opened into the second chamber or Gallery, ninety-six feet long, decorated with wall-panels and tapestries depicting scenes from the mythology of Venus, and lit by crystal lustres and candelabras. At the far end of the chamber was another door leading into the third chamber. This was the Salle de l'opйra, one hundred and forty-two feet long, and even more sumptuously decorated than the other chambers. Its walls were punctuated by fourteen marble pilasters decorated with gilded festoons carved in relief, and between the pilasters were marble panels and tapestries with similar designs to those of the doorways picked out in gold against a crimson velvet background, and topped by a marble cornice. The area for the musicians in front of the stage was similarly of marble, and the stage itself was flanked by life-sized statues: Page 2
Music on one side, Poetry on the other. `This room', added the commentator rather unnecessarily, `was so brilliant and so rich that one could not look at it without astonishment followed by admiration' (pp. 96­97); and that was even before the opera began. The stage was to reveal yet more wonders, and the commentator's detailed description (pp. 99­166) of the opera itself adds valuable information to the published livret for this `tragйdie-en-musique decorated with ballet entrйes, machines, and changes of scenery'.12 Indeed the entire work adds to our knowledge of what was happening to French opera for a few years following Jean-Baptiste Lully's death, as his rivals vied for recognition. Orontйe was the work of the Italian composer Paolo Lorenzani (1640­1713), who had been the highly respected Master of Music in the Queen's Chapel13 but had always been prevented by Lully from presenting any theatrical works at Court, apart from the successful staging at Fontainebleau in 1681 of his pastoral opera Nicandro & Fileno under the patronage of Mazarin's nephew, the Duc de Nevers. Historical Dance Volume 4, Number 3, 20xx
Table 2. Dancers in Orontйe at Chantilly, 23 & 24 August 1688 (female dancers in italics)
Name in livret Balon Beauchamps Blondy Breard Carrй Colin De Sesve/Seve Deshayes Desnoyers Desnoyers C. Diot Durieux Gaudon L'Abbй La Fontaine Le Sueur L'Estang, Lestang Lestang Magny Morel Pecour Pesan C. Pesan L. Piftot Piquet Poitier Prevost Renaud Roussel Subligny Thibaut
Status in Orontйe
Child (Ensemble)
Claude Balon (1676-1739). Debut with ARM 1688
Child (Ensemble)
Michel Blondy (1675-1739), nephew of Pierre Beauchamps, successor to Pйcour at ARM 1729
Mlle Brйard, danced in Lully's Temple de la Paix at Fontainebleau in 1685
Debut with ARM 1681
Perhaps from the family of acrobats
Jacques Des Hayes/Dezais?
Perhaps a son of Charles Desnoyers, Paris dancing-master who died 1653
Perhaps a son of Charles Desnoyers, Paris dancing-master who died 1653
Antoine [Anthony] (1666-1757). Debut with ARM 1688, career in London 1698-1737
Solo; Duet with Pйcour; Mlle La Fontaine (1655-173). Debut with ARM 1681; danced in Lully's
Temple de la Paix for the Dauphin at Fontainebleau in 1685. Retired to a
convent c. 1696
Solo; Duet with Pesan L.
Louis Lestang (died c. 1739). Debut in court ballets, and ARM 1673 (where he and Pйcour became composers of ballets from 1687); danced in Lully's Temple de la Paix for the Dauphin at Fontainebleau in 1685
Mlle Geneviиve Lestang. Debut with ARM 1688
Child (Ensemble)
Claude-Marc Magny (1676-1727), debut in court ballets from 1681; employed at the court of Lorraine 1698-1709
Child (Ensemble)
Solo; Duet with La Fontaine
Guillaume-Louis Pйcour (1653-1729), pupil and successor of Pierre Beauchamps. Debut in court ballets 1673, soloist 1680-1702; composer of ballets, with Lestang, at ARM from 1682; danced in Lully's Temple de la Paix for the Dauphin at Fontainebleau in 1685
Solo; Duet with Lestang; Debut with ARM 1681 Ensemble
Perhaps Pierre Piquet, dancing-master in the household of Madame, 1670s
Child (Ensemble)
Perhaps Pierre or Jacques-Claude Renaud; both brothers worked at the Paris Fairs with the acrobat Allard in 1702
Child (Ensemble)
Solo; Ensemble
Mlle Marie-Thйrиse Perdou de Subligny (1666 ­ after 1735). Debut with ARM 1688, successor to Mlle de La Fontaine, retired 1707
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In Orontйe Lorenzani created an opera which appealed to French taste while still retaining aspects of Italian form, and this may be seen in its structure and use of dance: consisting of a prologue and five acts, the typical form of a French tragйdie-en-musique, but removing all the dancing from the action and placing the divertissements at the end of each act, which would have been unusual in France.14 Also significant was the collaboration, as librettist, of the lawyer Michel Le Clerc (1622­1691), member of the Acadйmie Franзaise and by 1688 author of several odes in praise of the King, Monseigneur le Grand Dauphin, Madame La Princesse de Conti, and an epitaph to Le Grand Condй.15 The dances in Orontйe were all devised by Pйcour apart from two which were created by his colleague Louis Lestang, and were performed by thirty-one dancers (fourteen men, six young boys, and eleven women: see Table 2). The Orontйe livret states that all the performers were from the Acadйmie royale de musique, and although that may not be strictly accurate for some of the singers16 it does provide valuable evidence for some of the dancers. Livrets of the Acadйmie operas prior to 1699 rarely name the dancers: of those listed for Orontйe at Chantilly only messieurs Lestang, Pйcour and Prevost appear in one or more Lully livrets prior to 1686, plus Michel Blondy from 1690, and Claude Balon and Mademoiselle Subligny from 1699. None of the other dancers is named in the Lully livrets, so their presence in Orontйe in 1688 may throw light on the membership of the Opйra dance troupe at that date; indeed it indicates that Blondy, Balon and Subligny in particular made their debut with the company earlier than the 1690s, and also confirms that L'Abbй did indeed join the Acadйmie royale de musique in 1688. On the other hand, some of the dancers clearly had links with both the Opйra and with ballets put on independently at Court.17 As for Orontйe at Chantilly, the woodland deity theme of the previous day was put to good use again. Set in a beautiful forest, the Prologue opened to reveal the god Pan (sung by Antoine Moreau) surrounded by woodland deities singing, playing hautbois (six on-stage musicians including members of the Hotteterre family), and dancing. As in many French opera prologues, all the singing and dancing was designed to pay tribute to the monarch and his heir: Pan and his followers praised Monseigneur as the glorious son of a glorious king, and the `slayer of monsters in our forests' (a reference to his prowess as a huntsman). Regrettably the livret does not give any indication of how the dancers were used, although it does identify soloists and places them at the head of the list, and also identifies at least one duet, as a faun and a hamadryad, by the established stars of the Opйra Monsieur Pйcour and Mademoiselle de La Fontaine (see Table 3). Everyone else is listed without any indication of partnering or of divisions within the ensembles: six dancing fauns (who including L'Abbй) and seven dancing dryads (led by Mademoiselle Subligny `seule') and six `petits faunes dansans' (including future Opйra stars Claude-Marc Magny and Claude Balon, then aged twelve, and Michel Blondy, aged thirteen). That suggests however that each faun may have been partnered by a dryad, as well as dancing in larger ensembles of fauns, dryads, and small fauns. The main story of the tragйdie concerns Orontйe, Queen of Egypt, whose status demands that she may only take a husband of royal blood. She therefore shuns love ­ until she Page 4
meets a Phoenician refugee named Alidor. After the complicated plot and subplots of disguised identities and jealous rivalries so beloved of Italian opera, and the intervention of demonic forces so popular in French opera, Alidor turns out to be the long-lost heir to the Phoenician throne and so becomes eligible to rule Egypt as Orontйe's husband. The livret confirms that, unusually for tragйdie-enmusique, the dancing occurs only in the closing scene of each act. The end of Act I (set near the temple of Venus and Orontйe's palace) has singing and dancing Egyptians `and other nations', trying to convince Orontйe that she must marry, by sacrificing to the goddess of love. Pйcour is named as a solo Egyptien, and Mademoiselle Pesan l'aоnйe as a solo Egyptienne, and each has six followers (see Table 3). The divertissement seems quite French in its form, with vocal music and dance alternating, but no danced duet is specified. At the end of Act II, the men and women `of various nations', together with four little `Amours' (the young boys Magny, Balon, Renaud and Blondy), dance to express their joy that Orontйe has at last fallen in love. This scene includes solos from Pйcour (supported by four male dancers including L'Abbй) and from Mademoiselle de La Fontaine (supported by four female dancers including Mademoiselle Subligny), and a duet for Lestang and Mademoiselle Pesan. The rest of the opera is set in magnificent gardens for which Berain's stage design still survives.18 It depicts a rectangular stage with the proscenium arch flanked by the statues of Music and Poetry, which the Chantilly commentator had noted, and beyond which were architectural porticos leading the eye to avenues, fountains and steps towards a domed temple in the far distance. The livret names no dancers in Act III, but they doubtless appeared as some of the demons and statues which come to life to warn Orontйe that she may only marry someone of royal blood. This scene would have been made particularly impressive by Berain's use of machines: the sorceress Ismenie strikes the ground with her staff to summon demons to raise the five tombs of Ptolomйe and other ancient Kings of Egypt. Traps open and the five tombs, each with white marble statues carved along their sides in attitudes of grief, rise up from beneath the stage to a height of twenty-four feet, that of Ptolomйe's being centre stage. The demons then circle round, animating the statues on each tomb; and after the prophecy has been delivered they all sink down beneath the stage again.19 Act IV belongs to the Italianate comic subplot, and ends with the servant Gelon (sung by Monsieur Morel, who only a few months earlier had sung in the court mascarade Le Mariage de la Grosse Cathos and was also a stalwart of Moliиre's comйdie-ballets) holding an increasingly drunken feast for his friends (led by Arcas, played by Monsieur Philbert ­ who had sung and danced as Grosse Cathos's hapless bridegroom), before falling asleep on a grassy bank, only to be rudely reawakened by the racket his friends were making. The scene ends with a bucolic dance for eight men, one of whom was L'Abbй, and quite likely Arcas joined in too. Finally, Act V reveals Alidor's royal status, and the whole opera ends with a fкte galante, the dancing (by five men and four women) being led by Lestang. Historical Dance Volume 4, Number 3, 20xx
Table 3. Dancers and roles in the livret for Orontйe at Chantilly, 1688
Order of appearance `Le Theatre represente une grande & belle Forest'
La Tragйdie Act I
Six Faunes dansans Six petits Faunes dansans Sept Dryades dansantes Un Faune & une Hamadryade dansans ensemble `La scene est а Memphis dans le Palais d'Orontйe'
Messieurs Piffetot, L'Abbй, Desnoyers, Diot, Thibaut, Gaudon Messieurs Magny, Balon, Renaud, Blondy, Roussel, Morel Mlle de Subligny seule. Mlles de Sesve, Durieux, Beauchamp, Lestang, Le Sueur, Pesan L. Mons. Pйcour & Mlle de La Fontaine
Troupe de peuples differens qui viennent а la Feste de Venus; Troupe de Demons `Le Theatre represente un grand Palais & dans l'enfoncement le Temple de Vйnus'
Sc.8 Act II Sc.8 Act III
Sept Egyptiens dansants Sept Egyptiennes dansantes
Mons. Pйcour seul. Messieurs des Hayes, Provost, Desnoyer C., Piquet, Poitier, Piffetot Mlle Pesan L. seule. Mlles de La Fontaine, Pesan, de Sesve, Breard, Subligny, Carrй
Cinque hommes dansants Cinque demoiselles dansantes Quatre petits Amours [Duet] `Le Theatre change, & represente un Jardin magnifique...'
Mons. Pйcour seul. Messieurs Thibault, Piffetot, Poitier, L'Abbй Mlle de La Fontaine seule. Mlles de Subligny, Carrй, Breard, de Seve Messieurs Magny, Balon, Renaut, Blondy Monsieur de Lestang & Mlle Pesan
Sc.8 Act IV Sc.8 Act V Sc.7
[Demons & Statues]
[no dancers named]
Huit Compagnons de Gelon Messieurs Diot, Piffetot, Desnoyers, Provost, Colin, Deshayes, Labbй,
`Un Troupe d'Egyptiens & d'Egyptiennes forme une espece de Feste galante' Cinque Egyptiens dansans Quatre Egyptiennes dansantes
Monsieur L'Estang seul. Messieurs Poitier, Piffetot, Provost, Desnoyers C. Mlles Durieux, Pesan, Lestang, Beauchamps
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Day 8: the divertissement Le Dieu-Pan et les Divinitez des Bois The woodland theme was picked up in dance yet again on the last full day of the visit, following an afternoon collation in the Maze and other entertainments. The intention had been to repeat the great open-air entertainment which had taken place at La Table on the first day, now that the princesses had come from Versailles to join the party (see Table 1), but the weather was breaking up and so that evening the Orangery theatre was taken over at short notice for a staged divertissement called Le Dieu-Pan et les Divinitez des Bois. The opening scene revealed Pan Enthroned far upstage, surrounded by fifty-four fauns, satyrs and sylvans who had taken part in the first day's procession. Twenty-four `nymphs, magnificently attired' were seated at the front of the stage, with a group of shepherds behind them. The commentator (pp. 278­283) noted the wonder and novelty of the first scene, which opened with a passepied in which one nymph stood up and started to dance solo, then another suddenly appeared as if from nowhere (`sans кtre appercuл') and joined in, following behind her, then a third joined the line in the same way, and then others `imitating these first three' started to dance until all the nymphs had formed a circle in the middle of the stage which so far had been empty (pp. 282­4). Perhaps each dancer suddenly emerged from the scenery or from behind the singers, and this raises intriguing questions of how many of the twentyfour magnificently attired nymphs were singers, singers who also danced, or dancers. The commentator notes that some of the nymphs sang as they danced, after which Pan and his followers came forward to join the nymphs, shepherds and (mentioned for the first time) shepherdesses, the mixture of their different costumes producing a charming sight. The description provides a rare and fascinating insight to Pйcour's choreographic management of the opening of this divertissement, in which (p. 285) his dances were set to new airs by Lorenzani, added to airs and symphonies from his earlier opera Nicandro & Fileno.20 The commentator also noted (p. 288) that the dancing was imaginative and well executed, despite being performed at very short notice, although, he added (pp. 290­291), it was doubtless one of several entertainments held in reserve at Chantilly that week just in case they were needed. None of the dancers is named, but they no doubt comprised some if not all of those who had danced in Orontйe. The evening's entertainment finished in the gardens with illuminations and fireworks. Conclusion The expense of the visit was colossal,21 but the benefits to the Condй family were immense. They resulted, three years later, in another dynastic alliance by which the King's son Louis-Auguste, duc du Maine, married Henri-Jules's daughter Louise-Bйnйdicte (who as la Duchesse du Maine, would become famous for her innovatory nocturnal ballets at Sceaux), and Chantilly grew further in prestige. Nevertheless, sumptuous and impressive as the Feste de Chantilly was, it poses many questions. We do not yet know who initiated negotiations for it to take place at all: perhaps the Prince de Condй, or the Grand Dauphin himself, or some other powerful party at court. Nor is it known whose idea it was to commission an opera and divertissement from Paolo Lorenzani; he had been Queen Marie-Thйrиse's director of Page 6
music and had become one of Jean-Baptiste Lully's strongest rivals at court, but the Queen had died in 1683 and Lorenzani's influence had waned considerably after that date. The Grand Dauphin had no musical household of his own, and the Prince de Condй was treading a political tightrope in trying to impress the royal family, so neither man is likely to have been in a position to dictate the choice of composer for the staged works at Chantilly. Yet both had an interest in signalling that they looked to the future as Lully's era came to an end. On the other hand, however much the theatrical legacy of Lully was set aside for this event, it still relied on the personnel and expertise of dancers, musicians, and a designer already in the employ of the Paris Opйra and the Menus Plaisirs du Roi; there was nobody else experienced enough to carry it off, and therefore it could not be a total break with the past. Moreover, Lully's son was involved in the Feste as the new Superintendent of the King's Music, and some of the dancers were seasoned performers from Lully's Acadйmie royale de musique. Yet the unique descriptions of the performances at Chantilly also reveal how Guillaume-Louis Pйcour, through his dancers, seized the opportunity to explore new forms of choreography and staging which would bring fresh life to dance in opera during the following decades. References 1 Jйrфme de La Gorce, `Guillaume-Louis Pecour: a biographical essay', Dance Research 8/2 (1990), 3­26. 2 An early version of this research was given as a paper presented at the 14th Annual Oxford Dance Symposium in April 2012. I am most grateful to Rebecca HarrisWarrick, David Parrott, and Giora Sternberg for calling my attention to a variety of primary and secondary sources for these Chantilly festivities; and to Rebecca Harris-Warrick, Ken Pierce, and the anonymous reader of the article in its present form, for their valuable and constructive comments on it. 3 La Feste de Chantilly (Paris: Michel Gerout, 1688), copies of which are held in in the British Library and the Bibliothиque nationale de France; all the page references cited in the present essay are taken from this source, and all quoted extracts are my translations. THE JOURNAList and royal historiographer Jean Donneau de Vizй (1638­1710), founder of the Mercure galant in 1672, is identified as the author of La Feste de Chantilly in the BnF catalogue. 4 The evidence for Monsieur L'Abbй being Anthony L'Abbй is very strong. The Parfaict brothers noted that a Sieur L'Abbй joined the Acadйmie royale de musique in 1688, aged twenty-one, and left for London in 1698, returning to France in 1738: Claude & Franзois Parfaict, Dictionnaire des thйвtres de Paris (Paris: Rozet, 1767), III, 252. Thus he was very likely the dancer named in the ARM livrets for the opera Orontйe at Chantilly in 1688 and the Ballet de Villeneuve-Saint-George `dancй devant Monseigneur' in 1692 (in which many of the Orontйe dancers appeared), and the 1698 and 1738 dates also tally with Monsieur/Anthony L'Abbй coming to London as a very successful performer, choreographer and teacher, from 1698 until his retirement in 1737. 5 All described, with illustrations of the time by Israel Sylvestre and Adam Pйrelle, in Jean-Pierre Babelon's Illustrated Guide, The Chateau of Chantilly (Editions Historical Dance Volume 4, Number 3, 20xx
Scala, 1999/2008), 67­108. 6 The twenty-one dancers are not named, and later described (p.46) only as `the best-costumed dancers in France'. However, fourteen men and six boys would dance in Orontйe the next day and it is likely that they also comprised most of the dancers in this procession. 7 The commentator's description is difficult to follow. In particular it is not clear whether the twenty-one dancers stood on the shoulders of the satyrs, or formed their own acrobatic groups. Various permutations are feasible, but the number three (or multiples of it) is a recurring factor throughout the description. 8 The idea for Lysisca's Hunt may have been inspired by a very similar event depicted in the humorous first intermиde to La Princesse d'Elide which Lully and Moliиre staged on the second day of Les Plaisirs de l'оle enchantйe, the huge extravaganza for Louis XIV at Versailles in 1664: for descriptions see John S. Powell, Music and Theatre in France 1600­1680 (Oxford: O.U.P., 2000), 342, and Cynthia Ruoff, `Enchantment in Baroque Festival Court Performances in France: Les Plaisirs de l'оle enchantйe', in Marlies Kronegger and Anna-Marie Tymieniecka (eds), The Aesthetics of Enchantment in the Fine Arts: Analecta Husserliana 65 (2000), 310. 9 Jean-Louis Lully died in December 1688. 10 Music from the opera was also played in concert at the evening Appartements in the chateau, held on the Friday and Saturday (6th and 7th days of the visit). 11 A French toise prior to 1812 consisted of 6 pieds and measured 1.949 metres, thus 1 pied measured just under 13 inches. For the purposes of This article I have rounded the conversion figures to modern linear feet. 12 All but a fragment of the score of Orontйe is lost. A copy of the livret exists in the British Library (ref. 1560/3751), and clearly refers to this production as its licence to print was issued on 18 August 1688 and its title-page notes the performance before Monseigneur at Chantilly. 13 Queen Marie-Thйrиse died in 1683, but in view of his
long service to her a Royal Proclamation allowed him to retain his title and privileges, albeit with no formal position at Court: Oxford Music Online, New Grove Dictionary, article by Albert La France, `Lorenzani'. 14 Rebecca Harris-Warrick (private communication). The plot derived from another Italian opera, Antonio Cesti's Orontea (1656 and frequent revivals) which contained a prologue and three acts, and in its comic element is considered an important antecedent of opera buffa: Jennifer Williams Brown, `Innsbruck, ich muss dich lassen': Cesti, Orontea, and the Gelone problem', Cambridge Opera Journal 12/3 (2000), 179­180. 15 Le Clerc was a member (seat 40) of the Acadйmie Franзaise from 1662 until 1691, according to the official database of Acadйmie membership ( 16 The commentator for instance notes that the singers included `three of the best singers from the King's Music' (p.99). 17 For instance, the child-dancers Magny le petit and Balon appeared in Delalande's Ballet de la Jeunesse at Versailles in 1686. 18 Archives nationales, Dessins d'Atelier (A. Pan.) O1*3239 fol. 15; it is reproduced in Jйrфme de La Gorce, Jean Berain dessinateur du roi soleil (Paris 1986), 120. 19 It seems likely that this scene also incorporated the use of acrobats who may have also appeared as some of the satyrs and dancers in the procession and ballet the previous day. 20 See Paul Rice, The performing arts at Fontainebleau (1989), 68­9, for its significance as the only opera in Italian to be performed in France between 1662 and 1729. 21 Some 300,000 livres: Katia Bйguin, Les Princes de Condй (Seyssel: Champ Vallon,1999), 360; Jean-Pierre Babelon, The Chвteau of Chantilly (Chantilly, Editions Scala, 1999, repr. 2008), 106. A mid-seventeenth century livre was reckoned to be worth about 1s 6d in English money of the time, thus the Chantilly feste perhaps cost the equivalent of Ј25,000 at that date; several millions today.
Historical Dance Volume 4, Number 3, 20xx
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J Thorp

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