Le Ballet Royal de la Nuit

staging Francesca Lattuada


Ordered by Mazarin the day after the Fronde to emphasize the power of the young Louis XIV, Le Ballet royal de la Nuit has consecrated the latter as the Sun King. After four years of work and research Sébastien Daucé has reconstructed the score of this extraordinary show that was never replayed after its creation in 1653.

After the remarkable release Le Concert royal de la Nuit (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 dream world, the temptation of a reconstruction was strong but the pomp and splendor it would require, and the great mystery of the unfolding of the original show make this perspective impossible. On the other hand, several ideas were imposed, and in the first place that of juxtaposing the French ballet and the Italian opera. This pastiche makes it possible to reintegrate a great variety, while making dialogues characters found from one work to another, sometimes in French, sometimes in Italian; he also gives 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 to carry out this project: Luigi Rossi’s Orfeo and Francesco’s Ercole lover Cavalli. To these Italian scenes were added some older tunes, especially Antoine Boësset: it was common practice to take the most famous old tunes to arrange them in a new ballet.

The aim is to restore the idea of ​​a feast such as this court ballet proposed back then, at the carnival of 1653, to dispense the abundance of tastes, sensations and colors, to a public representing the universe, the courtyard looking at itself like in the mirror on stage.

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