The Théâtre du Palais-Royal (or Grande Salle du Palais-Royal) on the rue Saint-Honoré in Paris was a theatre in the east wing of the Palais-Royal, which opened on 14 January 1641 with a performance of Jean Desmarets' tragicomedy Mirame. The theatre was used by the troupe of Molière from 1660 to 1673 and as an opera house by the Académie Royale de Musique from 1673 to 1763, when it was destroyed by fire.It was rebuilt and reopened in 1770, but again was destroyed by fire in 1781 and not rebuilt.
The Palais-Royal was originally known as the Palais-Cardinal, since it was built in the 1630s as the principal residence of Cardinal Richelieu.The palace already had a small theatre, the Petite Salle des Comédies, located in the wing running north from the east end of the corps-de-logis . On a 1673 plan it is marked "Petite Salle des Ballets". In 1637 Richelieu asked his architect Jacques Le Mercier to begin work on a larger theatre, located east of the entrance courtyard to the south. The new theatre was built between 1639 and 1640 "at the staggering cost of 300,000 livres —of which 100,000 livres was allocated to stage machinery."
The hall, initially known as the Grande Salle du Palais-Cardinal (Large Hall of the Palais-Cardinal), was one of the earliest theatres in France to use the proscenium arch, seen earlier in Italian theatres,with a solid stage curtain, raised and lowered by a roller behind the arch. It had two balconies, a capacity of about 3,000 spectators and a stage equipped with the latest in theatre machinery.
The theatre opened on 14 January 1641 with a performance of Jean Desmarets' tragicomedy Mirame.The play had a single perspective set, depicting the Palais Royal d'Heraclée (Royal Palace of Heracles), used for every scene, thus conforming to l'unité de lieu (unity of place), one of the Three Unities, which had come under discussion in France during the 1630s. Nevertheless, there were numerous mechanical effects. The Gazette de France of 19 January described the beauty of the Grande Salle and the "majestic ornaments of this superb stage upon which, with transport difficult to express and which was followed by a universal exclamation of astonishment, appeared delicious gardens with grottoes, statues, fountains, and great terraces above the sea." The report also describes elaborate lighting effects: "The sky was lit by the moon ... night was imperceptibly succeeded by day, the dawn and the sun." The play was followed by a ball in a different setting, "circumscribed by the laws of Poetry." "The curtain fell, a golden 'bridge' was rolled out from the stage to the foot of the royal scaffold, and the curtain rose on a great room painted in perspective, gilded and enriched by magnificent ornaments, and lit by sixteen chandeliers. Her Majesty crossed the 'bridge' to the stage followed by ladies and the ball began."
On 7 February 1641, Richelieu produced in the Grande Salle the last of the political ballets of King Louis XIII's reign, the Ballet de la prosperité des armes de France . According to Robert M. Isherwood, Richelieu brought the celebrated Italian designer of sets and stage machinery Giacomo Torelli to Paris for the production.The ballet had several sets depicting the fields of Arras, the plain of Casal, the snow covered Alps, as well as a stormy sea and hell and heaven. The sets were changed rapidly via a system of weights and levers.
Gabriel Gilbert's play Téléphonte was probably produced in the theatre in 1641 and performed by the combined troupes of the Théâtre du Marais and the Hôtel de Bourgogne.Richelieu's last production there was Desmarets' play Europe, a political allegory celebrating Richelieu's career and "the triumph of France over her enemies on the Continent." The play was in rehearsal in the Grande Salle when Richelieu died.
Upon Richelieu's death on 4 December 1642, he left the property to Louis XIII, and it became known as the Palais-Royal, although the name Palais-Cardinal sometimes still continued to be used.Louis XIII died a few months later, on 14 May 1643, and despite his will, his widow, Queen Anne of Austria, at the request of her son, the four-year-old King Louis XIV, became regent without restrictions on 18 May. Anne, the king and his younger brother Philippe moved from the Louvre to the Palais-Royal in October, and her first minister, Cardinal Mazarin, moved there a few months later. Anne was fond of Italian theatre and music, and Mazarin arranged for Italian actors and singers to come to Paris to perform. The establishment of a resident Italian opera became state policy, and the Palais-Royal became the venue for a number of Italian productions.
The first, on 28 February 1645, was a comédie italienne, which may have been Marco Marazzoli's Il Giudizio della Ragione tra la Beltà e l'Affetto (1643), although this has been disputed.Egisto (probably a version of Egisto with music by Francesco Cavalli) was given at the Palais-Royal on 13 February 1646. Luigi Rossi's new opera Orfeo premiered in the theatre on 2 March 1647, "on the eve of the Fronde, as criticism of Mazarin's fiscal policies was mounting". Giacomo Torelli designed the sets and theatre machinery and remodeled the theatre for the production, Mazarin's enemies considered the costs of the production excessive. François de Paule de Clermont, marquis de Montglat , put them at 400,000 livres, while Guy Joly claimed 500,000, saying "sovereign societies who are tormented and see well by this excessive and superfluous expense, that the needs of the state are not so pressing that one could spare them easily if one wished it." These sources may have exaggerated the cost: Mazarin's librarian, Gabriel Naudé stated the expenses only came to 30,000 écus (90,000 livres).
The troupe of Molière and the Comédie-Italienne put on the shows here between 1660 and 1673.Molière's most notable plays were performed here, including L'École des femmes (first performed 26 December 1662), Tartuffe (12 May 1664), Dom Juan (15 February 1665), Le Misanthrope (4 June 1666), L'Avare (9 September 1668), Le Bourgeois gentilhomme (23 November 1670), and Le malade imaginaire (10 February 1673).
On the death of his old collaborator, Lully ejected Molière's troupe to a new home at the Hôtel de Guénégaud and re-used the theatre as the opera house of the Académie royale de Musique (the name of the Paris Opera at the time). Lully had much building work done on it in order to allow the installation of new stage machinery designed by Carlo Vigarani, capable of supporting the imposing sets of the operas he would later put on here. This replaced the old machinery designed by Giacomo Torelli in 1645.After Vigarani's modifications the theatre had a total capacity of about 1,270 spectators: a parterre for 600 standing, amphitheatre seating for 120, and boxes with balconies accommodating another 550. The stage was 9.4 meters across and 17 meters deep, with space in front for the orchestra 7.6 meters across and 3 meters deep.
Several of Lully's operas ( tragédies en musique ) were premiered at the Palais-Royal, including Alceste (19 January 1674), Amadis (18 January 1684), and Armide (15 February 1686). In the 18th century many of Rameau's works were first performed here, including Hippolyte et Aricie (1 October 1733), Les Indes galantes (23 August 1735), Castor et Pollux (24 October 1737), Dardanus (19 November 1739), and Zoroastre (5 December 1749).
The Opera's first theatre was destroyed by fire on 6 April 1763.
The City of Paris, which was responsible for the opera house, decided to build a new theatre on a site slightly further to the east (where the rue de Valois is located today:). In the meantime the company performed in the Salle des Machines in the Tuileries Palace, which was first reduced to a size more suitable for opera by the architect Jacques-Germain Soufflot. The new theatre in the Palais-Royal was designed by architect Pierre-Louis Moreau Desproux and was the first purpose-built opera house in Paris. It had a capacity of more than 2,000 spectators.
The new theatre opened on 20 January 1770 with a performance of Rameau's Zoroastre .It is especially noteworthy as the theatre where most of the French operas of Christoph Willibald Gluck were first performed, including Iphigénie en Aulide (19 April 1774), Orphée et Eurydice (the French version of Orfeo ed Euridice ) (2 August 1774), the revised version of Alceste (23 April 1776), Armide (23 September 1777), Iphigénie en Tauride (18 May 1779), and Echo et Narcisse (24 September 1779). Among the many other works premiered here are Piccinni's Atys (22 February 1780), Grétry's Andromaque (6 June 1780), Philidor's Persée (27 October 1780), and Piccinni's Iphigénie en Tauride (23 January 1781).
The theatre continued to be used by the Opera until 8 June 1781, when it too was destroyed by fire. The Théâtre de la Porte Saint-Martin, much further to the north on the Boulevard Saint-Martin, was hurriedly built in two months to replace it. In the meantime the opera company performed in the Salle des Menus-Plaisirs on the rue Bergère.
Cardinal Jules Mazarin, born Giulio Raimondo Mazzarino or Mazarini, was an Italian cardinal, diplomat and politician who served as the chief minister to the Kings of France Louis XIII and Louis XIV from 1642 to his death. In 1654, he acquired the title Duke of Mayenne and in 1659 that of 1st Duke of Rethel and Nevers.
The Paris Opera Ballet is a French ballet company that is an integral part of the Paris Opera. It is the oldest national ballet company, and many European and international ballet companies can trace their origins to it. It is still regarded as one of the four most prominent ballet companies in the world, together with the Bolshoi Ballet in Moscow, the Mariinsky Ballet in Saint Petersburg and the Royal Ballet in London.
The Palais-Royal is a former royal palace located in the 1st arrondissement of Paris, France. The screened entrance court faces the Place du Palais-Royal, opposite the Louvre. Originally called the Palais-Cardinal, it was built for Cardinal Richelieu from about 1633 to 1639 by the architect Jacques Lemercier. Richelieu bequeathed it to Louis XIII, and Louis XIV gave it to his younger brother, the Duke of Orléans. As the succeeding dukes of Orléans made such extensive alterations over the years, almost nothing remains of Lemercier's original design.
The Comédie-Française or Théâtre-Français is one of the few state theatres in France. Founded in 1680, it is the oldest active theatre company in the world. Established as a French state-controlled entity in 1995, it is the only state theatre in France to have its own permanent troupe of actors. The company's primary venue is the Salle Richelieu, which is a part of the Palais-Royal complex and located at 2, Rue de Richelieu on Place André-Malraux in the 1st arrondissement of Paris.
The Paris Opera is the primary opera and ballet company of France. It was founded in 1669 by Louis XIV as the Académie d'Opéra, and shortly thereafter was placed under the leadership of Jean-Baptiste Lully and officially renamed the Académie Royale de Musique, but continued to be known more simply as the Opéra. Classical ballet as it is known today arose within the Paris Opera as the Paris Opera Ballet and has remained an integral and important part of the company. Currently called the Opéra national de Paris, it mainly produces operas at its modern 2,723-seat theatre Opéra Bastille which opened in 1989, and ballets and some classical operas at the older 1,979-seat Palais Garnier which opened in 1875. Small scale and contemporary works are also staged in the 500-seat Amphitheatre under the Opéra Bastille.
The Salle Le Peletier or Lepeletier was the home of the Paris Opera from 1821 until the building was destroyed by fire in 1873. The theatre was designed and constructed by the architect François Debret on the site of the garden of the Hôtel de Choiseul on the rue Lepeletier. Due to the many changes in government and management during the theatre's existence, it had a number of different official names, the most important of which were: Théâtre de l'Académie Royale de Musique (1821–1848), Opéra-Théâtre de la Nation (1848–1850), Théâtre de l'Académie Nationale de Musique (1850–1852), Théâtre de l'Académie Impériale de Musique (1852–1854), Théâtre Impérial de l'Opéra (1854–1870), and Théâtre National de l'Opéra (1870–1873).
Louis Pécour was a French dancer and choreographer. He is most well known for his work with the Académie Royale de Musique.
Comédie-Italienne or Théâtre-Italien are French names which have been used to refer to Italian-language theatre and opera when performed in France.
Ercole amante is an opera in a prologue and five acts by Francesco Cavalli. Its Italian libretto is by Francesco Buti, based on Sophocles' The Trachiniae and on the ninth book of Ovid's Metamorphoses. The first performance took place on 7 February 1662 in the Salle des Machines of the Tuileries in Paris.
Giacomo Torelli was an Italian stage designer, scenery painter, engineer, and architect. His work in stage design, particularly his designs of machinery for creating spectacular scenery changes and other special effects, was extensively engraved and hence survives as the most complete record of mid-seventeenth-century set design.
Molière's company was the theatrical company which formed around Molière from 1648 onwards, when he was performing in the French provinces after the failure of the Illustre Théâtre in 1645. In 1658 the company moved to Paris and, after a successful performance on 24 October 1658 in front of Louis XIV at the Louvre, was allowed to share the large hall in the Hôtel du Petit-Bourbon with the Italian players of Tiberio Fiorillo. At this time Molière's company became known as the Théâtre de Monsieur, since their official sponsor was the King's brother Philippe, Duke of Orléans, known as Monsieur. When the Petit Bourbon was demolished in 1660 to make way for the eastern expansion of the Louvre, Molière's troupe was allowed to use the abandoned Théâtre du Palais-Royal. The latter theatre had originally been built by Cardinal Richelieu in 1641. After Molière's death in 1673, his widow Armande Béjart and the actor La Grange kept the remnants of the company together, merging with the players from the Théâtre du Marais and moving to the Théâtre de Guénégaud. In 1680 the troupe of the Hôtel de Bourgogne joined the players at the Guénégaud, giving birth to the Comédie-Française.
Jean-Baptiste Lully was an Italian-born French composer, instrumentalist, and dancer who is considered a master of the French Baroque music style. Best known for his operas, he spent most of his life working in the court of Louis XIV of France and became a French subject in 1661. He was a close friend of the playwright Molière, with whom he collaborated on numerous comédie-ballets, including L'Amour médecin, George Dandin ou le Mari confondu, Monsieur de Pourceaugnac, Psyché and his best known work, Le Bourgeois gentilhomme.
Issé is an operatic pastorale héroïque by the French composer André Cardinal Destouches. Initially it was in three acts. The definitive revised version consists of a prologue and five acts. The libretto was by Antoine Houdar de la Motte. Although Destouches was only 25 at the time of its premiere, it is considered his best score.
The Théâtre National was a Parisian theatre located across from the Bibliothèque Nationale de France on the rue de la Loi, which was the name of the rue de Richelieu from 1793 to 1806. The theatre was built by the actress and theatre manageress Mademoiselle Montansier, and opened on 15 August 1793. Other names have included Salle de la rue de la Loi, Salle de la rue de Richelieu, Salle Montansier, and Théâtre Montansier, although the latter two names have also been used to refer to two other theatres built and/or managed by Montansier: the Théâtre Montansier in Versailles and the Théâtre du Palais-Royal. The Théâtre National was designed by the architect Victor Louis and had a capacity of 2,300 spectators. The theatre was demolished in 1820, and its former site is now the Square Louvois.
Andromède (Andromeda) is a French verse play in a prologue and five acts by Pierre Corneille, first performed on 1 February 1650 by the Troupe Royale de l'Hôtel de Bourgogne at the Théâtre Royal de Bourbon in Paris. The story is taken from Books IV and V of Ovid's Metamorphoses and concerns the transformation of Perseus and Andromeda. The play has rarely been revived and is mostly remembered today for the set of six engravings by François Chauveau depicting the elaborate Baroque set designs of Giacomo Torelli.
The Hôtel du Petit-Bourbon, a former Parisian town house of the royal family of Bourbon, was located on the right bank of the Seine on the rue d'Autriche, between the Louvre to the west and the Church of Saint-Germain l'Auxerrois to the east. It was constructed in the 14th century, not long after the Capetian Kings of France enlarged the fortress of the Louvre in order to use it as a royal residence. On two 1550 maps it is shown simply as the Hôtel de Bourbon, but by 1652, as the Petit-Bourbon on the map of Gomboust. The Bourbons took control of France in 1589, at which time they also acquired the Louvre.
The Ballet Royal de la Nuit, Ballet Royal de la Nuict in its original spelling and often referred to simply as the Ballet de la Nuit, is a ballet de cour with a libretto by Isaac de Benserade and music by Jean de Cambefort, Jean-Baptiste Boësset, Michel Lambert and possibly others, which premiered on February 23, 1653, at the Salle du Petit-Bourbon in Paris. It took 13 hours to perform and debuted fourteen year old Louis XIV as Apollo, the Sun King.
Paris in the 17th century was the largest city in Europe, with a population of half a million, matched in size only by London. It was ruled in turn by three monarchs; Henry IV, Louis XIII, and Louis XIV, and saw the building of some of the city's most famous parks and monuments, including the Pont Neuf, the Palais Royal, the newly joined Louvre and Tuileries Palace, the Place des Vosges, and the Luxembourg Garden. It was also a flourishing center of French science and the arts; it saw the founding of the Paris Observatory, the French Academy of Sciences and the first botanical garden in Paris, which also became the first park in Paris open to the public. The first permanent theater opened, the Comédie-Française was founded, and the first French opera and French ballets had their premieres. Paris became the home of the new Royal Academy of Painting and Sculpture, and of some of France's most famous writers, including Pierre Corneille, Jean Racine, La Fontaine and Moliere. Urban innovations for the city included the first street lighting, the first public transport, the first building code, and the first new aqueduct since Roman times.
The Salle du Bel-Air or Salle du Jeu de Paume de Béquet, also spelled Becquet, was a 1672 theatre located in Paris, France. Originally an indoor tennis court it was converted by the Italian designer Carlo Vigarani into a theatre which was used by Jean-Baptiste Lully's Paris Opera from 15 November 1672 to 1 February 1673. It was located in the Rue de Vaugirard, just west of the city moat (fossé) and the Rue des Fossés Monsieur-le-Prince. Today the site of the former theatre extends into the Rue de Médicis, just south of no. 15 Rue de Vaugirard.