The Royal Ballet of the Night

Directed by Francesca Lattuada

Commissioned by Mazarin in the aftermath of the Fronde to establish the power of the young Louis XIV, Le Ballet Royal de la Nuit established him as the Sun King. After four years of work and research, Sébastien Daucé has reconstructed the score of this extraordinary show, which was never performed again after its creation in 1653.

After the remarkable release Royal Concert of the Night (2015, Harmonia Mundi), 2017 saw the rebirth of the Ballet in its version directed by Francesca Lattuada.

But how to make this music heard today? Immersed in this dreamlike universe, the temptation of a reconstruction was strong, but the pomp and splendor that it would require and the great mystery of the original performance make this perspective impossible. On the other hand, several ideas were imposed and first of all that of juxtaposing the French ballet and the Italian opera. This pastiche allows for the reintegration of a great variety, while at the same time creating a dialogue between characters that are found from one work to the other, sometimes in French, sometimes in Italian; it also provides a complete picture of the incredible musical life of Paris in the middle of the Grand Siècle.

Two Italian operas, composed respectively in 1647 and 1662 by two Italian masters invited by Mazarin to stay in Paris and work for the court, seemed perfectly suited for this project: Luigi Rossi’s Orfeo and Francesco Cavalli’s Ercole amante. To these Italian scenes were added some older arias, notably by Antoine Boësset: it was a common practice to take the most famous old arias and put them in a new ballet.

The objective is to restore the idea of a feast as this court ballet intended to do, in this year of the carnival of 1653, to dispense the profusion of tastes, sensations and colors, to an audience supposed to represent the universe, the court looking at itself as a mirror on stage.

With the support of the Michelin Foundation.