The Operas of Rameau: Genesis, Staging, Reception [1 ed.] 1472479262, 9781472479266

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The Operas of Rameau: Genesis, Staging, Reception [1 ed.]
 1472479262, 9781472479266

Table of contents :
Half Title
Series Page
Title Page
Copyright Page
Table of Contents
List of figures
List of music examples
List of tables
List of abbreviations
Notes on contributors
A checklist of Rameau Operas
PART I: Factions and rivalry
1 A little-known contribution to the Lulliste-Ramiste dispute: Jean Galli de Bibiena’s Mémoires et aventures de monsieur de *** (1735)
2 Destouches and Collin de Blamont: two surintendants in the face of the Ramiste threat
3 Rameau versus Mondonville: the construction of a post-Lullian musical identity in France
PART II: Librettos: gestation, attributions, interpretation
4 Jean-Philippe Rameau’s Art d’aimer: music and eroticism in the Age of Enlightenment
5 Re-assessing attributions to Louis de Cahusac of the librettos of Rameau’s Io, Zéphire and Nélée et Mirthis
6 The Triumph of Generosity, or ‘Let’s make an opera-ballet’
7 New light on the genesis of the ill-fated opera Linus by La Bruère and Rameau
PART III: Borrowings and creative renewal
8 A cluster of allusions to Vivaldi’s Le quattro stagioni in Rameau’s ‘Anacréon’ (1757)
9 Recreating Rameau: Jacques-Simon Mangot and his role in Parma
10 An anonymous Messe des morts on themes by Rameau and Mondonville
11 ‘Objet d’étude et de curiosité’: Candeille’s Castor et Pollux and its audiences, 1791–1817
PART IV: Production, performance, and criticism
12 The impact of human and material contingencies on artistic creation: the case of Rameau’s Les Indes galantes
13 Staging time and space in Rameau’s tragédies en musique
14 Stage sets and music in Rameau’s operas
15 Do Rameau’s dances ‘impose physical movement’? A collaborative exploration
16 Through the Mercure’s lens: mid-eighteenth-century acting styles and vocal aesthetics at the Paris Opéra
17 Rameau’s operas on disc
Index of Dramatic Works Cited
General Index

Citation preview

The Operas of Rameau

In recent years, interest in Rameau’s operas has grown enormously. These works are no longer regarded as peripheral by performers and audiences but are increasingly staged in the world’s major opera houses and festivals, while the production of first-rate recordings on CD and DVD continues to flourish. Such welcome developments have gone hand in hand with an upsurge in research on Rameau and his period. The present volume, devoted solely to the composer’s operas, reflects this scholarly activity. It brings together a substantial group of essays by an international team of scholars on a wide range of aspects of Rameau’s operas. The individual essays are informed by a variety of disciplines or sub-disciplines including literature, archival studies, musical analysis, gender studies, ballet and choreography, dramaturgy and staging. The contents are addressed to a wide readership, including not only scholars but also practical musicians, stage directors, dancers and choreographers. Graham Sadler is a research professor at Royal Birmingham Conservatoire and emeritus professor of music at the University of Hull. Shirley Thompson is interim Principal of Royal Birmingham Conservatoire. Jonathan Williams is a leading Rameau specialist in Britain and director of the Rameau Project based at St Hilda’s College, Oxford.

Ashgate Interdisciplinary Studies in Opera

Series Editor: Roberta Montemorra Marvin, University of Massachusetts, USA

The Ashgate Interdisciplinary Studies in Opera series provides a centralized and prominent forum for the presentation of cutting-edge scholarship that draws on numerous disciplinary approaches to a wide range of subjects associated with the creation, performance, and reception of opera (and related genres) in various historical and social contexts. There is great need for a broader approach to scholarship about opera. In recent years, the course of study has developed signifcantly, going beyond traditional musicological approaches to refect new perspectives from literary criticism and comparative literature, cultural history, philosophy, art history, theatre history, gender studies, flm studies, political science, philology, psychoanalysis, and medicine. The new brands of scholarship have allowed a more comprehensive interrogation of the complex nexus of means of artistic expression operative in opera, one that has meaningfully challenged prevalent historicist and formalist musical approaches. This series continues to move this important trend forward by including essay collections and monographs that refect the ever-increasing interest in opera in non-musical contexts. Books in the series are linked by their emphasis on the study of a single genre - opera - yet are distinguished by their individualized and novel approaches by scholars from various disciplines/felds of inquiry. The remit of the series welcomes studies of seventeenth-century to contemporary opera from all geographical locations, including non-Western topics. Curating Opera Reinventing the Past Through Museums of Opera and Art Stephen Mould Digital Scenography in Opera in the Twenty-First Century Caitlin Vincent

For more information about this series, please visit: series/AISO

The Operas of Rameau Genesis, Staging, Reception

Edited by Graham Sadler, Shirley Thompson and Jonathan Williams

First published 2022 by Routledge 2 Park Square, Milton Park, Abingdon, Oxon OX14 4RN and by Routledge 605 Third Avenue, New York, NY 10158 Routledge is an imprint of the Taylor & Francis Group, an informa business © 2022 selection and editorial matter, Graham Sadler, Shirley Thompson and Jonathan Williams; individual chapters, the contributors The right of Graham Sadler, Shirley Thompson and Jonathan Williams to be identifed as the authors of the editorial material, and of the authors for their individual chapters, has been asserted in accordance with sections 77 and 78 of the Copyright, Designs and Patents Act 1988. All rights reserved. No part of this book may be reprinted or reproduced or utilised in any form or by any electronic, mechanical, or other means, now known or hereafter invented, including photocopying and recording, or in any information storage or retrieval system, without permission in writing from the publishers. Trademark notice: Product or corporate names may be trademarks or registered trademarks, and are used only for identifcation and explanation without intent to infringe. British Library Cataloguing-in-Publication Data A catalogue record for this book is available from the British Library Library of Congress Cataloging-in-Publication Data A catalog record has been requested for this book ISBN: 978-1-4724-7926-6 (hbk) ISBN: 978-1-032-07870-0 (pbk) ISBN: 978-1-315-55499-0 (ebk) DOI: 10.4324/9781315554990 Typeset in Garamond by codeMantra Access the companion website: default.php

In memory of Françoise Escande


List of fgures List of music examples List of tables List of abbreviations Notes on contributors A checklist of Rameau Operas Introduction

xi xiii xv xvii xix xxv 1


Factions and rivalry


1 A little-known contribution to the Lulliste-Ramiste dispute: Jean Galli de Bibiena’s Mémoires et aventures de monsieur de *** (1735) 11 F R A NC E S C A PAGA N I

2 Destouches and Collin de Blamont: two surintendants in the face of the Ramiste threat



3 Rameau versus Mondonville: the construction of a post-Lullian musical identity in France




Librettos: gestation, attributions, interpretation 4 Jean-Philippe Rameau’s Art d’aimer: music and eroticism in the Age of Enlightenment R A PH A Ë L L E L EGR A N D





5 Re-assessing attributions to Louis de Cahusac of the librettos of Rameau’s Io, Zéphire and Nélée et Mirthis



6 The Triumph of Generosity, or ‘Let’s make an opera-ballet’



7 New light on the genesis of the ill-fated opera Linus by La Bruère and Rameau




Borrowings and creative renewal 8 A cluster of allusions to Vivaldi’s Le quattro stagioni in Rameau’s ‘Anacréon’ (1757)




9 Recreating Rameau: Jacques-Simon Mangot and his role in Parma



10 An anonymous Messe des morts on themes by Rameau and Mondonville



11 ‘Objet d’étude et de curiosité’: Candeille’s Castor et Pollux and its audiences, 1791–1817




Production, performance, and criticism


12 The impact of human and material contingencies on artistic creation: the case of Rameau’s Les Indes galantes



13 Staging time and space in Rameau’s tragédies en musique L OI S RO S OW


Contents  ix 14 Stage sets and music in Rameau’s operas



15 Do Rameau’s dances ‘impose physical movement’? A collaborative exploration



16 Through the Mercure’s lens: mid-eighteenth-century acting styles and vocal aesthetics at the Paris Opéra



17 Rameau’s operas on disc



Index of dramatic works cited General index

301 305


2.1 Operas by Destouches, Collin de Blamont and Rameau: relative periods of activity at the Académie Royale de Musique (ARM) and at court 26 2.2 Destouches, Collin de Blamont and Rameau: classification of works by operatic genre 27 2.3 Destouches, Télémaque et Calypso, i, 2, (a) Paris, 1714, F-Pn, Vm2. 254, pp. 6–7; (b) Paris, 1730, F-Pn, Vm2. 255, pp. 7–8. Images: BnF 30 2.4 Scheduling of operas by Lully, Destouches, Collin de Blamont and Rameau at the Académie Royale de Musique, December 1732–September 1734 31 2.5 Destouches, Amadis de Grèce, iv, 3, Tambourin, copy by Brice Lallemand, F-Po, A.49.c, pp. 236b–236c. Image: BnF 34 2.6 Destouches, Callirhoé (1743 revision), II, 5, F-Pn, Vm2. 242, p. 131. Image: BnF 35 2.7 Collin de Blamont, Les Fêtes de Thétis, ‘Égine’, scene 2, F-Pn, 36 Rés. Vm2. 141, p. 75. Image: BnF 2.8 Collin de Blamont, Te Deum, ‘Judex crederis’ (1744 revision), F-Pc, D 1128, p. 48. Image: BnF 37 9.1 Libretto title page, Anacreonte (Parma, 1759), New York Public Library for the Performing Arts, Cia Fornaroli Coll., No. 24, MGTY-Res. Photograph: author 152 9.2 Libretto, first page, Anacreonte (Parma, 1759), New York Public Library for the Performing Arts, Cia Fornaroli Coll., No. 24, MGTY-Res. Photograph: author 153 10.1 Anon., Messe des morts, F-Pn, Rés. Vma ms. 1279, des[s]us part-book, f. 2.  Image: BnF 162 10.2 Messe des morts, F-Pn, Rés. Vma ms. 1279, fragment of score A, f. 3v. Image: BnF 163 10.3 Rameau, Castor et Pollux (Paris, 1754), iv, 5.  Image: The Eda Kuhn Loeb Music Library of the Harvard University Library 167 10.4 (a) Castor et Pollux, ii, 5, chorus ‘Triomphe, vengeance’. Image: The Eda Kuhn Loeb Music Library of the Harvard University Library. (b) Castor et Pollux, ii, 3, end of chorus ‘Que l’enfer applaudisse’. Image: The Eda Kuhn Loeb Music Library of the Harvard University Library 168

xii Figures 10.5 (a) Castor et Pollux, iii, 4, ‘2e Air pour Hébé et ses Suivantes’. Image: The Eda Kuhn Loeb Music Library of the Harvard University Library. (b) Castor et Pollux, iii, 4, ‘Qu’Hébé de fleurs toujours nouvelles’. Image: The Eda Kuhn Loeb Music Library of the Harvard University Library 169 10.6 Castor et Pollux, i, 4, Première Gavotte. Image: The Eda Kuhn Loeb Music Library of the Harvard University Library 171 10.7 (a) Castor et Pollux, v, 4, Chaconne. Image: The Eda Kuhn Loeb Music Library of the Harvard University Library. (b) Castor et Pollux, Chaconne. Image: The Eda Kuhn Loeb Music Library of the Harvard University Library 171 10.8 Castor et Pollux, ii, 1, start of chorus ‘Que tout gémisse’. Image: The Eda Kuhn Loeb Music Library of the Harvard University Library 175 14.1 Synchronisation of the music with the start of the scenic effects 231 14.2 Evolution in the number of sets and mechanical effects required in Rameau’s operas 234 14.3 Distribution of scenery according to their generic category in operas by Rameau 236 14.4 Distribution of tonalities in relation to scene-types in Rameau’s operas 236 14.5 Tonal shifts at the appearance of a new decor in relation to the type of mode in Rameau’s operas 238 14.6 Tonal shifts in relation to categories of decor in Rameau’s operas 239 14.7 Tonal shifts accompanying mechanical effects in Rameau’s operas, by type of effect and accumulation 241 15.1 Rameau, Dardanus (Paris, 1739), prologue, ‘Air gracieux pour les Plaisirs’, pp. vi-vii. © The British Library Board (Hirsch ii. 765) 245 15.2 Costume designs for Zéphyr and Flore by Jean-Baptiste Martin, who worked at the Opéra between 1748 and 1757.  Collection de figures théâtrales, inventées et gravées par Martin, cy-devant dessinateur des habillements de l’Opéra (Paris, [1763]), F-Po, RES-2262, ff. 14, 15.  Images: BnF 249

Music examples

4.1 4.2 4.3 8.1

Rameau, Les Fêtes d’Hébé, i, 8, ‘Un jour passé dans les tourments’ 71 Rameau, Les Boréades, v, 5, ‘Que ces moments sont doux’ 77 Rameau, Dardanus, iv, 2, ‘Calme des sens’ 78 (a) Vivaldi, L’autunno, RV 294, second movement (from b. 6); continuo figuring omitted; (b) Rameau, ‘Anacréon’ (1757), scene 3, sommeil (from b. 3); dynamics and ornaments omitted. To facilitate comparison, this passage has been transposed down a fifth 132 8.2 Alternative resolutions of diminished seventh chord 133 8.3 Rameau, ‘Anacréon’, sommeil, bb. 13–16 134 8.4 Vivaldi, L’inverno (RV 297), second movement, bb. 1–2; dynamics and continuo figuring omitted 135 8.5 Vivaldi, L’estate (RV 315), third movement, from b. 10; slurs and continuo figuring omitted 137 8.6 Rameau, ‘Anacréon’, scene 3, orage, bb. 1–6; bassoons and contrebasse omitted 138 8.7 Harmonic structure of Examples 8.5 and 8.6 138 8.8 Relationship between violin scales and bass 138 8.9 Rameau, Les Fêtes de Polymnie, iii, 3, sommeil 140 10.1 Anon., Messe des morts, start of ‘Hostias et preces’ 166 10.2 Messe des morts, start of chorus ‘Et lux perpetua’ 168 10.3 Messe des morts, start of duet ‘Sed signifer sanctus Michael’ 169 10.4 Messe des morts, start of ‘Quam olim Abrahæ promisisti’ 170 10.5 Messe des morts, start of ‘Et tibi reddetur’ (versions i and ii) 172 10.6 Messe des morts, start of ‘Requiem æternam’ (Introït) 176 15.1  Rameau, Les Indes galantes, prologue, ‘Air pour les amants qui suivent Bellone et pour les amantes qui tâchent de les retenir’, first strain 246 15.2  Rameau, Zéphire, scene 5, ‘Air [pour les Zéphyrs et les Nymphes]’, first strain 249 15.3  Excerpts from the A section of Zéphire’s ariette ‘Vole, Amour’, Zéphire, scene 5: (a) bb. 1–8; (b) bb. 37–56 253 15.4  Zéphire, scene 5, Sarabande (instrumental) 255

xiv  Music examples 15.5  Zéphire, scene 5, Sarabande (vocal), bb. 1–28 257 15.6  Zéphire, scene 5, (a) Passepied i, (b) Passepied ii 261 15.7  Rameau, Les Fêtes d’Hébé (1739), iii, 7, Loure grave (viola parts omitted). The dancers on stage are Terpsichore, her Nymphs, Fauns and Satyrs 262


2.1 Académie Royale de Musique, 1749–63: operas by Destouches, Collin de Blamont, Rameau, Mondonville and Dauvergne [c] – creation [cARM] – first production at the Académie Royale de Musique 42 9.1 Tommaso Traetta’s four reform operas for Parma 143 9.2 Musical repertory of Delisle’s troupe, August 1755–November 1758. Dates and some titles are drawn from Ferrari, ‘La compagnia Jean-Philippe Delisle alla Corte di Parma (1755–58) e la “riforma teatrale” di Guillaume Du Tillot’, and Charlton, ‘Duni’s Le Retour au village and the Politics of Parma’. Other titles and dates have been corrected in the light of my study of sources in the Archivio di Stato di Parma 145 9.3 Overlaps between repertoire in Lyon and Parma. Roles as in librettos at F-Pn; other data from Vallas, Un Siècle de musique et de théâtre à Lyon, 1688–1789 147 9.4 Premieres of French operas at the Parma court, 1756–57. Data drawn from an unsigned, undated manuscript list of French repertory performed by the troupe August 1755– November 1757, I-PAas, Teatri, busta 1. Identifications in parentheses are based in part on Ferrari, ‘La compagnia JeanPhilippe Delisle’, with some corrections and additions 149 9.5 Hypothetical reconstruction of the outline of Anacreonte (Parma, 1759). Based on the Parma printed scenario and excerpts from Rameau and Bernard’s ‘Anacréon’ (Les Surprises de l’Amour, 1757) 156 9.6 Contents of Mangot’s anthology (I-Bc, Ms. II. 260) 158 10.1 Tonal structure of the anonymous Messe des morts 172 10.2 Structure of the Offertoire 173 10.3 Texts of the Messe des morts compared with those of borrowings from Rameau, Castor et Pollux 174 10.4 Text of the Sanctus of the Messe de morts compared with borrowing from Mondonville, Les Fêtes de Paphos 174 13.1 Villégier’s staging of Hippolyte et Aricie 225

xvi Tables 14.1 Elements of decor and their uses in eighteenth-century French theatres 230 14.2 Rameau, Hippolyte et Aricie: distribution of decors in relation to the key in which each is first revealed 233 17.1 Recordings of Rameau’s operatic music listed by medium 280 17.2 Categorization of recordings of Rameau’s operatic music 281 17.3 Number of complete recordings of Rameau’s operas 282


Abbreviations in music examples Bc Bn Bs Cor Fl Hb Par PFl Vn

basse continue basson(s) basses (cellos and contrebasse) cors fûtes hautbois parties (violas) petites fûtes (piccolos) violon(s)

Bibliographical abbreviations OOR RCT

Jean-Philippe Rameau: Opera Omnia, general editor, Sylvie Bouissou (Paris: Gérard Billaudot, 1993–2002; Bonneuil-Matours/Tauxigny: Société Jean-Philippe Rameau, 2003–) Sylvie Bouissou, Denis Herlin and Pascal Denécheau, Jean-Philippe Rameau. Catalogue thématique des œuvres musicales (Paris: CNRS, Bibliothèque nationale de France, 2003-)

Library Sigla F-Pc F-Pn F-Po GB-Lbl I-Bc I-PAas US-CAe

Paris, Bibliothèque Nationale de France, fonds du Conservatoire Paris, Bibliothèque Nationale de France Paris, Bibliothèque-Musée de l’Opéra London, British Library Bologna, Civico Museo Bibliografoco Musicale Parma, Archivio di Stato Cambridge MA, Harvard University Library, The Eda Kuhn Loeb Music Library

Notes on contributors

R. J. Arnold, a  former honorary research fellow at Birkbeck, University of London, has published research on operatic audiences in France from the Ancien Régime to the restoration of the monarchy, with a particular focus on Grétry. His monograph Musical Debate and Political Culture in France, 1700– 1830 was published in 2017 by The Boydell Press. Margaret R. Butler  is an associate professor of musicology at the University of Wisconsin-Madison. Recent publications include Musical Theater in Eighteenth-Century Parma: Entertainment, Sovereignty, Reform (University of Rochester Press, 2019) and a chapter in Operatic Geographies (University of Chicago Press, 2019). Other works appear in the Journal of the American Musicological Society, Cambridge Opera Journal, Eighteenth-Century Music, Early Music and The Cambridge History of Eighteenth-Century Music. Her Operatic Reform at Turin’s Teatro Regio (Libreria Italiana Musicale, 2001) was supported by the Fulbright Foundation and she has received grants and fellowships from The Gladys Krieble Delmas Foundation, the Newberry Library, and the Institute for Research in the Humanities at UW-Madison to support her new work on the opera seria prima donna and celebrity culture. Marie Demeilliez is a lecturer in musicology at the Université Grenoble Alpes and a member of the Institut Universitaire de France (IUF). She graduated from the Conservatoire national supérieur de musique et de danse de Paris (harpsichord and musicology) and defended a PhD thesis at the Université Paris-Sorbonne. Her research bears on musical and theatrical practices at French colleges during the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries, keyboard music, and French Baroque music theory. Benoît Dratwicki  is artistic director of the Centre de Musique Baroque de Versailles. In 2006 he took part in the creation of the Palazzetto Bru Zane, Venice, of which he is artistic adviser. His research focuses on the Musique du Roi at Versailles, on the evolution of eighteenth-century operatic styles and genres, and on the singers and art of singing at the Paris Opéra. His publications include Antoine Dauvergne (1713–1797): une carrière tourmentée dans la France des Lumières (Mardaga, 2011) and La Musique à la cour de


Notes on contributors Louis  XV. François Colin de Blamont (1690–1760): une carrière au service du roi (Presses Universitaires de Rennes, 2016).

Françoise Escande  (d. 2019) was a lecturer at the Université Toulouse JeanJaurès, where she was an associate researcher at the LLA CREATIS laboratory. She also participated in projects at the Centre de Musique Baroque de Versailles and the Institut de Recherche en Musicologie. Her research interests included the operatic repertory at the Académie Royale de Musique during the frst half of the eighteenth century, on musical dramaturgy, manuscript sources and copyists, and on the life and works of André Cardinal Destouches. Her editions of Destouches’s operas Issé and Callirhoé are scheduled for publication by the Centre de Musique Baroque de Versailles. Thierry Favier is a professor at the Université de Poitiers. His research focuses on seventeenth- and eighteenth-century music, particularly in the sacred domain. In addition to work on the motet and the cantique spirituel, he has recently published À la croisée des arts: sublime et musique sacrée en Europe aux XVIIe et XVIIIe siècle (Classiques Garnier, 2015) and Réalités et fctions de la musique religieuse à l’époque moderne (Presses Universitaires de Rennes, 2018), both co-edited with Sophie Hache. His recent research is concerned with musical amateurism, concerts, the notion of musical genre, and music for public festivities. Patrick Florentin, a Rameau devotee since childhood, has made a collection of recordings and acquired many antiquarian items: treatises, scores, portraits. In 2011 he donated part of his collection to the Fondation Royaumont, to make it accessible to researchers and performers, and has lent items from this collection for exhibitions. For the 250th anniversary of the death of Rameau, in 2014, he was responsible for the musicological material on the website He is president of the Société Jean-Philippe Rameau, whose aim is to publish the composer’s complete works. Thomas Green holds a PhD in Music History from Brandeis University, where he completed a dissertation on the origins of Rameau’s operas, under the direction of Robert Marshall. He has held teaching appointments at McGill University, the University of Toronto and the University of Windsor, and has conducted performance assessments across North America for The Royal Conservatory, Toronto. He has served as The Royal Conservatory’s Chief Examiner since 2007. Current research focuses on aspects of performance practice and on the world of piano pedagogue Antoine Marmontel. Rebecca Harris-Warrick  is professor of music at Cornell University in Ithaca, NY. Her research interests include French opera and ballet of the seventeenth, eighteenth and nineteenth centuries, and much of her work is infected by her studies of Baroque dance. She is a member of the editorial boards of the Journal of Seventeenth-Century Music and the Œuvres complètes of Jean-Baptiste Lully, for which she co-edited, with James R. Anthony, the Ballet des Amours déguisés (Olms, 2001). She is co-author, with Carol Marsh,

Notes on contributors


of Musical Theatre at the Court of Louis XIV: ‘Le Mariage de la Grosse Cathos’ (Cambridge University Press, 1994) and co-editor, with Bruce Alan Brown, of The Grotesque Dancer on the Eighteenth-Century Stage: Gennaro Magri and his World (University of Wisconsin Press, 2005). Her most recent book, Dance and Drama in French Baroque Opera, was published by Cambridge University Press in 2016. Hubert Hazebroucq  is a dancer and choreographer trained in contemporary ballet who, since 1998, has specialized in historical dance of the Renaissance and Baroque periods. He directs his own company, Les Corps Eloquents, established in 2008. A member of the Association pour un Centre de Recherche sur les Arts du Spectacle and holder of a Master’s degree on seventeenth-century dance technique (Université de Reims), he has received research grants from the Centre National de la Danse, notably in 2011 and 2014. In investigating the relationship between source materials and choreographic technique, his research focuses principally on the practice of social dancing from the ffteenth century until the 1780s and on the poetics of theatrical dance from the Renaissance mascarade to the ballet-pantomime. Thomas Leconte is a member of the research team at the Centre de Musique Baroque de Versailles, where he is in charge of the production of critical editions. His research interests centre mainly on domestic and social music in the frst half of the seventeenth century and on the grand motet during the earlier part of Louis xiv’s reign. He also takes a particular interest in seventeenth- and eighteenth-century sacred music in the French provinces and in the musical practices of the cathedrals during the Ancien Régime. Raphaëlle Legrand is a full professor at the Sorbonne Université and a member of the Institut de Recherche en Musicologie. Her research focuses on eighteenth-century French opera and opéra comique, especially in Rameau’s works, and on gender issues. At the Sorbonne she has founded two research teams – GRIMAS, which explores subjects relating to the performing arts, and CReIM, devoted to female musicians. Her many publications include Rameau et le pouvoir de l’harmonie (Cité de la Musique, 2007) and various articles on Rameau’s operas. She has also co-authored Regards sur l’opéra-comique (CNRS, 2002) and co-edited Sillages musicologiques (CNSMD, 1997), Musiciennes en duo (Presses Universitaires de Rennes, 2015) and En un acte: les actes de ballet de Jean-Philippe Rameau (1745–1757), the last with Rémy-Michel Trotier (Éditions Aedam Musicae, 2019). Laura Naudeix  teaches at the Université de Rennes 2, specializing in seventeenth- and eighteenth-century musical theatre. Her publications include Dramaturgie de la tragédie en musique (1673–1764) (Champion, 2004), an edition of the Traité historique de la danse by Louis de Cahusac (Desjonquères, 2004, with Nathalie Lecomte and Jean-Noël Laurenti) and La Première Querelle de la musique italienne (1702–1706) (Classiques Garnier, 2018). She

xxii  Notes on contributors has edited Molière à la cour: ‘Les Amants magnifiques’ en 1670 (Presses Universitaires de Rennes, 2020). Francesca Pagani is senior lecturer of French literature at the Università degli Studi di Bergamo. Her research focuses on the structures and topics of French and European eighteenth-century fiction, in particular the complex relationship between literature, science and the visual arts. Her publications include the first modern edition of Jean Galli de Bibiena’s novels (Classiques Garnier, 2014). Lois Rosow,  professor emeritus at the Ohio State University, specializes in French opera of the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries, with particular interest in text-music relations, allegorical meaning, music printing and engraving, performance-practice issues, and the administrative history and scribal workshop of the Paris Opéra. Her critical edition of Lully’s Armide may be found in Jean-Baptiste Lully: Œuvres complètes (Olms, 2003). She is editor-in-chief of the Journal of Seventeenth-Century Music and past president and honorary member of the Society for Seventeenth-Century Music. Graham Sadler is a research professor at the Royal Birmingham Conservatoire and emeritus professor of music at the University of Hull. His many publications on seventeenth- and eighteenth-century French music include critical editions for the Opera Omnia Rameau (Bärenreiter/Société Jean-Philippe Rameau) of Rameau’s Zoroastre (1749 version) and Zaïs. An edition of the 1756 version of Zoroastre for the OOR is currently at press. Recent books include Rameau, entre art et science, co-edited with Sylvie Bouissou and Solveig Serre (École des Chartes, 2016), French Baroque Opera: A Reader, with Caroline Wood (revised 2nd edition, Routledge, 2017) and The Rameau Compendium (Boydell Press, expanded 2nd edition, 2017). Roger Savage  taught for many years in the English Literature Department of the University of Edinburgh, where he is now an honorary fellow. Much of his teaching was connected with theatre and drama. He has published essays on the classical backgrounds to opera, on late-Renaissance court entertainments and on the history of operatic staging, also on Dowland, Purcell, Metastasio and Stravinsky. In 2014 The Boydell Press published his Masques, Mayings and Music-Dramas: Vaughan Williams and the Early Twentieth-Century Stage. He has directed a campus staging of Rameau’s Les Indes galantes (1977), scripted and presented several Rameau-focused programmes for BBC Radio 3, and written about ‘Rameau’s American Dancers’ in Early Music (1983). Thomas Soury is a maître de conférences at the Université Lyon 2 and a member of the Institut d’Histoire des Représentations et des Idées dans les Modernités (UMR 5317). His research focuses on eighteenth-century French opera and in particular on the figure of Rameau. He is a member of the editorial committee of the Opera Omnia Rameau, for which he has edited Les Fêtes de l’Hymen et de l’Amour and is currently preparing Les Paladins and Io. He is

Notes on contributors


particularly interested in the study of librettos, notably those of Louis de Cahusac, whose articles for the Encyclopédie he has edited as part of project ENCCRE. Shirley Thompson  is interim Principal of Royal Birmingham Conservatoire. Since completing her doctoral thesis on The Autograph Manuscripts of Marc-Antoine Charpentier: Clues to Performance (University of Hull, 1998), she has published numerous scholarly essays on the music of this composer. Her edited book, New Perspectives on Marc-Antoine Charpentier, published by Ashgate in 2010, was reissued by Routledge in 2016. She has prepared many editions of Charpentier’s works for both performance and publication, including a volume of petits motets for the Centre de Musique Baroque de Versailles (2018). Her current projects include the editing of Rameau’s opera La Naissance d’Osiris for the Opera Omnia Rameau. Rémy-Michel Trotier  graduated from the École Centrale de Paris in 1993 and from the Université Paris-Sorbonne in 2006 with a Master’s thesis on Voltaire and Rameau’s Samson. At the Sorbonne he defended a doctoral thesis on the harmonic architecture of Rameau’s tragédies en musique (2014) and in the same year co-directed the Atelier Rameau, a monthly seminar devoted to analysis of the works of this composer. He was also co-director of the Académie Desprez, where his research focused particularly on the study and reconstruction of historical operatic decors. With Raphaëlle Legrand, he has edited En un acte: les actes de ballet de Jean-Philippe Rameau (1745–1757) (Éditions Aedam Musicae, 2019). Jonathan Williams  is a leading Rameau specialist in Britain and director of the Rameau Project based at St Hilda’s College, Oxford. As a conductor, his critically acclaimed performances include the frst Rameau operas given by English Touring Opera (Dardanus, 1744) and by the Académie de l’Opéra national de Paris with the Royal College of Music (Les Fêtes d’Hébé). He led UK celebrations during Rameau’s anniversary year, conducting three operas with the Orchestra of the Age of Enlightenment at the South Bank Centre, London, including his own Bärenreiter edition of Anacréon (1754) for the Opera Omnia Rameau, recorded for Signum, and the British premiere of Zaïs.

A checklist of Rameau’s Operas

Operas are listed in chronological order.1 All were frst performed at the Académie Royale de Musique, Paris (ARM), unless otherwise stated. RCT numbers are derived from Sylvie Bouissou, Denis Herlin and Pascal Denécheau, Jean-Philippe Rameau. Catalogue thématique des œuvres musicales (Paris: Bibliothèque Nationale de France and CNRS Éditions, 2003–), as is the orthography of opera titles.

1 The list does not include spoken plays with incidental music by Rameau, composed for performance at the Théâtre de la Foire or the Comédie-Française.

Hippolyte et Aricie Les Indes galantes


Castor et Pollux

Les Fêtes d’Hébé, ballet [opéra-ballet]; prologue, ou Les Talents 3 entrées: ‘La Poésie’, ‘La lyriques Musique’, ‘La Danse’ Dardanus tragédie en musique; prologue, 5 acts




Antoine-César Gautier de Montdorge Charles-Antoine Le Clerc de La Bruère

tragédie en musique; prologue, Simon-Joseph 5 acts Pellegrin ballet héroïque [opéra-ballet]; Louis Fuzelier prologue, 3–4 entrées: ‘Le Turc généreux’, ‘Les Incas du Pérou’, ‘Les Fleurs’ (‘Les Sauvages’ added 10 March 1736) tragédie en musique; prologue, Pierre-Joseph 5 acts Bernard

Genre and number of acts or entrées





RCT 35A: 19 November 1739 RCT 35B: 23 April 1744

21 May 1739

RCT 32A: 24 October 1737 RCT 32B: 11 January 1754

23 August 1735

1 October 1733

Date of premiere

RCT 35A, Paris: author, veuve Boivin, Le Clerc, Monet, [1739]; RCT 35B, major revision (1744) in which Acts III–V have a new plot and largely new music; publ. as ‘nouvelle tragédie’, Paris: author, veuve Boivin, Le Clerc, [1744]

RCT 32A, Paris: Prault fls, veuve Boivin, Le Clerc, Duval, author, [1737] RCT 32B, major revision (1754) in which the prologue was replaced by a new Act I; former Acts I–V Acts II–V; publ. Paris: author, [1754] Paris: author, veuve Boivin, Le Clerc, [1739]

Items from prologue and frst three entrées arranged and publ. as ‘Quatre grands concerts’, with ‘Les Sauvages’ (Paris: Boivin, Le Clerc, author, [1736]); original title: Les Victoires galantes

Paris: author, Boivin, Le Clerc, [1733]

First publication; comments

xxvi A checklist of Rameau’s Operas

Les Fêtes de Polymnie

Le Temple de la Gloire

Les Fêtes de Ramire

Les Fêtes de l’Hymen et de l’Amour, ou Les Dieux d’Égypte Zaïs







La Princesse de Navarre Platée


ballet héroïque [pastorale héroïque]; prologue, 4 acts

Versailles, 27 November 1745

Louis de Cahusac

29 February 1748

Versailles, 15 March 1747


Paris: author, veuve Boivin, Le Clerc, [1748]

Unpublished; commemorates the victory of Fontenoy; revised as opéra-ballet with prologue (‘La Caverne de l’Envie’) and 3 entrées (‘Bélus’, ‘Bacchus’, ‘Trajan’), perf. ARM, 19 Apr 1746 Unpublished; adaptation in one act by Rousseau of La Princesse de Navarre; overture and some other pieces added by Rousseau Paris: author, veuve Boivin, Le Clerc, [1748]; written for wedding of the Dauphin with Maria-Josepha of Saxony; rev. for ARM, 5 Nov 1748

12 October 1745 Paris: Mme Boivin, Le Clerc, author, [1753]; commemorates the victory of Fontenoy

Versailles, 23 Unpublished; written for the wedding of the February 1745 Dauphin and Maria Teresa of Spain Versailles, 31 Written for the wedding of the Dauphin and March 1745 Maria Teresa of Spain; rev. version perf. ARM, 9 Feb 1749; Paris: author, veuve Boivin, Le Clerc, [1749]

Voltaire, rev. Jean- Versailles, 22 Jacques Rousseau December 1745


Jacques Autreau, with some rev. by AdrienJoseph Le Valois d’Orville Louis de Cahusac


ballet héroïque [opéra-ballet]; Louis de Cahusac prologue, 3 entrées: ‘Osiris’, ‘Canope’, ‘Aruéris, ou Les Isies’

acte de ballet

ballet héroïque [opéra-ballet]; prologue (‘Le Temple de Mémoire’), 3 entrées: ‘La Fable’, ‘L’Histoire’, ‘La Féerie’ fête, 5 acts

ballet bouffon [comédie lyrique]; prologue, 3 acts

comédie-ballet; 3 acts

A checklist of Rameau’s Operas xxvii



La Guirlande, acte de ballet ou Les Fleurs enchantées Acante et pastorale héroïque; 3 acts Céphise, ou La sympathie





Les Surprises de l’Amour

58 Pierre-Joseph Bernard

Ballot de Sovot


Jean-François Marmontel

Jean-François Marmontel

‘Opéra pour la Paix’ [pastorale Louis de Cahusac héroïque]; prologue (‘L’Accord des dieux’), 3 acts Louis de Cahusac tragédie en musique; 5 acts

divertissement [opéra-ballet]; prologue (‘Le Retour d’Astrée’), 2 entrées: ‘La Lyre enchantée’, ‘Adonis’

acte de ballet



Genre and number of acts or entrées



First publication; comments

19 November 1751

RCT 62A: 5 December 1749 RCT 62B: 20 January 1756 21 September 1751

RCT 62A, Paris: veuve Boivin, Le Clerc, Le Castaniere, author, [1749] RCT 62B, major rev. (1756) in which Acts II, III and V have a new plot and largely new music; unpublished Paris: author, veuve Boivin, Le Clerc, [1751]; celebrates the birth of the duc de Bourgogne Paris: author, veuve Boivin, Le Clerc, [1751]; celebrates the birth of the duc de Bourgogne

Paris: author, veuve Boivin, Le Clerc, [1748]; libretto adapted from the entrée ‘La Sculpture’ in Antoine Houdar de La Motte, Le Triomphe des arts RCT 58A: RCT 58A, unpublished; prologue celebrates Versailles, 27 the Treaty of Aix-la-Chapelle November RCT 58B, revised and restructured version 1748 of 1748 original; prologue omitted, 4 RCT 58B: ARM, entrées: ‘L’Enlèvement d’Adonis’, ‘La Lyre 31 May 1757 enchantée’, ‘Anacréon’, ‘Les Sibarites’; publ. Paris: Le Clerc, Bayard, Mlle Castagnery, Daumont [1757] 2 April 1749 Unpublished; prologue celebrates the Treaty of Aix-la-Chapelle

27 August 1748

Date of premiere

xxviii A checklist of Rameau’s Operas

Daphnis et Églé

Les Sibarites

La Naissance d’Osiris


Les Paladins

Les Boréades












Fontainebleau, Unpublished 29/30 October 1753 acte de ballet Jean-François Fontainebleau, Paris: Le Clerc, Bayard, Castagnery, Marmontel 13 November Daumont, [1757]; original title: Sibaris; rev. 1753 version incorporated into Les Surprises de l’Amour in 1757 ballet allégorique [acte de ballet] Louis de Cahusac Fontainebleau, Unpublished; celebrates the birth of the duc 12 October de Berry; former title: Les Fêtes Pammilies; 1754 originally intended as prologue to a projected opéra-ballet, Les Beaux Jours de l’Amour ballet héroïque [acte de ballet] Louis de Cahusac Fontainebleau, Unpublished 23 October 1754 comédie-ballet [comédie lyrique]; Anon., attrib. Jean- 12 February Unpublished; alternative title: Le Vénitien 3 acts François Duplat 1760 de Monticourt (also to PierreJoseph Bernard) tragédie en musique; 5 acts Anon., attrib. Louis Unperformed Unpublished; alternative title: Abaris; de Cahusac rehearsed in Apr 1763 for perf. at court acte de ballet Unperformed Unpublished; incomplete; possibly composed before 1745 tragédie en musique; 5 acts Charles-Antoine Unperformed Unpublished; rehearsed in or before 1751; Le Clerc de La libretto and violin part survives in F-Pn Bruère

pastorale héroïque [acte de ballet] Charles Collé

A checklist of Rameau’s Operas xxix


Lisis et Délie

Nélée et Mirthis








acte de ballet

tragédie en musique; prologue, 5 acts

acte de ballet

acte de ballet

Genre and number of acts or entrées Unperformed

Date of premiere


Anon., probably Unperformed Louis de Cahusac


Anon., probably Unperformed Louis de Cahusac

Jean-François Marmontel


Unpublished; intended for perf. at Fontainebleau, 6 Nov 1753, but abandoned; music lost Unpublished; intended as one entrée in a projected opéra-ballet, Les Beaux Jours de l’Amour Libretto publ. in Voltaire, Œuvres diverses (London: Jean Nourse, 1746); most music lost Unpublished; original title: Les Nymphes de Diane

First publication; comments

xxx A checklist of Rameau’s Operas


It is a curious fact that if Rameau had died in his late forties he would nowadays be remembered not as an opera composer, but rather as the outstanding music theorist of his age, one who also happened to have written some distinguished keyboard music and a handful of cantatas and motets. Rameau’s belated operatic debut at the age of 50 is rightly seen as a watershed in the history of French opera. Fortunately, the appearance of his frst opera, Hippolyte et Aricie, in 1733 was followed by some 30 years of exceptionally fruitful activity, divided almost entirely between opera and music theory. Indeed, one of the most striking features of Rameau’s biography is the disparity between the two halves of his long life. The frst four decades, from his birth in 1683 until 1722, when he settled permanently in Paris, were largely spent in the obscurity of the French provinces, where he held a succession of organist posts. The publication of his groundbreaking Traité de l’harmonie (1722) propelled him to public attention, and his fame increased with the appearance of his two mature harpsichord collections, the Pièces de clavessin (1724) and Nouvelles suites de pièces de clavecin (1729 or 1730). Even so, the majority of surviving exemplars of these keyboard volumes were not printed until after the composer’s operatic debut,1 suggesting that his reputation up to that point remained fairly modest. All this changed in 1733, and Rameau rapidly established himself as the leading French composer of his day. By the time he died in 1764, a few days short of his 81st birthday, he had composed some 30 operas in a variety of genres.2 Yet by the end of the eighteenth century, these works had fallen into almost total oblivion. With the arrival in Paris of operas by Gluck, Piccinni and others, audiences turned away from the French tradition and now wanted to see only Italianate operas. Such are the vagaries of taste and fashion; as Rameau’s 1 See Sylvie Bouissou, Denis Herlin and Pascal Denécheau, Jean-Philippe Rameau. Catalogue thématique des œuvres musicales, vol. 1 (Paris: CNRS, Bibliothèque nationale de France, 2003), 64–70, 80–5: henceforth RCT. 2 This total does not include the spoken plays for which Rameau had written incidental music in the decade before he made his operatic debut. For details of these, see Graham Sadler, ‘Rameau, Piron and the Parisian Fair Theatres’, Soundings 4 (1974), 13–29.

DOI: 10.4324/9781315554990-1



ardent champion Decroix ruefully put it, ‘people were tired of always offering incense to the same idol’.3 By the period of the French Revolution, the whole of the ‘old repertoire’, as it was known, had been swept away and was now regarded with contempt or derision, tainted by its association with the hated and discredited Ancien Régime. The long rehabilitation of Rameau’s music began to gather pace on the eve of the twentieth century, yet its progress remained painfully slow.4 But from the 1970s onwards, thanks largely to the establishment of a historically informed performance tradition from which French music of the Lully-Rameau period benefted spectacularly, the Rameau revival has gained momentum: his music is now abundantly represented in the record catalogues, while staged and concert performances feature regularly at international music festivals and often in the seasons of major opera houses, in Europe especially. Such performances have profted from the establishment of a new critical edition, launched in 1993 and now moving steadily towards completion.5 Moreover, the ever-expanding Rameau bibliography has been enriched by several substantial biographies,6 as well as a plethora of other writings. There is thus little need to justify the publication of the present collection of essays on Rameau’s operas, the starting point for many of which was an international conference at St Hilda’s College, Oxford in 2014 to mark the 250th anniversary of the composer’s death. * This book is divided into fve parts, the frst of them entitled ‘Factions and Rivalries’. Rameau was a contentious fgure, both as a composer and as a music theorist, and his biography is strewn with quarrels and polemics. Voltaire, who perceived the revolutionary nature of Rameau’s frst opera, was quick to recognise the explosive impact it would have. A few weeks after the premiere of Hippolyte et Aricie in October 1733, he wrote to the composer, ‘Your music is admirable, but this really is making you enemies – and cruel enemies’.7 Indeed,

3 Jacques-Joseph-Marie Decroix, L’Ami des arts, ou Justifcation de plusieurs grands hommes (Amsterdam: Les Marchands de Nouveautés, 1776), 168: ‘on était fatigué d’encenser toujours la même Idole’. 4 For a discussion of the Rameau revival during the nineteenth century, see Katharine Ellis, Interpreting the Musical Past: Early Music in Nineteenth-Century France (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2005). 5 Jean-Philippe Rameau: Opera Omnia, general editor Sylvie Bouissou (Paris: Gérard Billaudot, 1993–2002; Bonneuil-Matours/Tauxigny: Société Jean-Philippe Rameau, (2003–). 6 Christophe Rousset, Jean-Philippe Rameau ([Arles]: Actes Sud, c. 2007); Sylvie Bouissou, Jean-Philippe Rameau: musicien des Lumières (Paris: Fayard, 2014); Graham Sadler, The Rameau Compendium (rev. 2nd edn, Woodbridge: The Boydell Press, 2017) and Simon Trowbridge, Rameau (Oxford: EdAC, 2016). 7 Voltaire to Jean-Philippe Rameau, D.690 (c. December 1733), in Voltaire, Correspondence and Related Documents, ed. Theodore Besterman, ii (Geneva: Voltaire Foundation, 1969): ‘Votre musique est admirable, mais cela même vous fait des ennemis et des ennemis cruels’.



Rameau’s fve operas of the 1730s were greeted with increasingly heated protests from the so-called Lullistes – conservative opera-goers who saw the newcomer as a threat to the French operatic tradition established some six decades earlier by Jean-Baptiste Lully. The Lulliste-Ramiste dispute, as it has become known, had still not fully subsided by the end of the 1740s, and was almost immediately succeeded by the Querelle des Bouffons (1752–4). Here, Rameau was no longer attacked by conservatives as a dangerous revolutionary, but condemned by the pro-Italian Bouffonistes as the arch-representative of the native operatic tradition.8 The Lulliste-Ramiste dispute has largely been viewed from the perspective of Rameau’s opponents – hardly surprisingly, since the Lullistes, who were probably more vociferous than they were numerous, were prone to express themselves in colourful terms. Much has been made of the wicked visual lampoons and satirical poems,9 many of them attacking Rameau’s person as much as his music. Yet little testimony has survived from the composer’s ever-growing band of supporters, the Ramistes or Ramoneurs (chimney sweeps: a pejorative term now faunted as a proud emblem). Francesca Pagani’s essay in this collection helps to restore the balance. Signifcantly, the pro-Rameau eulogy on which she focuses comes from the pen of someone of Italian ancestry and with current connections with Italian opera and drama. To such a person, many elements of Rameau’s style – above all, its powerful harmonic palette – would not have seemed as unfamiliar as they did to those largely insulated from direct Italian infuence. Interestingly, this quasi-outsider could recognise that, for all the rebarbative impact of Rameau’s idiom, the composer aimed to introduce such innovations in order to enhance the French operatic tradition rather than to break with it. The Lulliste-Ramiste dispute, as the chapter by Françoise Escande and Benoît Dratwicki reminds us, was not simply about Rameau versus Lully, the founding father of French opera. Rather, Rameau’s opponents pitted him against all his French forerunners, including those still active at the Académie Royale de Musique (the offcial title of the Paris Opéra).10 Escande and Dratwicki focus on two such fgures, Destouches and Collin de Blamont, who, despite their eminent positions as surintendants of the royal musical establishment, could not ignore the perceived ‘threat’ of Rameau’s music. In the years after 1733, both surintendants clearly wished to reposition themselves in relation to his innovatory idiom. In fact, the authors demonstrate that the stylistic divide between 8 For a comprehensive discussion of these and other disputes, see R. J. Arnold, Musical Debate and Political Culture in France, 1700–1830 (Woodbridge: The Boydell Press, 2017). 9 On these lampoons, see Florence Gétreau, ‘Satirical Portraits and Visual Lampoons of Rameau and His Works’, Early Music 44/4 (2016), 525–37; Graham Sadler, ‘Patrons and Pasquinades’, Journal of the Royal Musical Association 113/2 (1988), 314–37 and Caroline Wood and Graham Sadler, French Baroque Opera (rev. 2nd edn, Abingdon: Routledge, 2017), 126–31. 10 For comprehensive information on the Académie Royale de Musique, see Dictionnaire de l’Opéra de Paris sous l’Ancien Régime (1669–1791), ed. Sylvie Bouissou, Pascal Denécheau and France Marchal-Ninosque, 4 vols (Paris: Classiques Garnier, 2019–2020).



Rameau and his immediate predecessors was not as acute as is commonly supposed: certain more progressive features had already emerged that anticipate Rameau (and are sometimes referred to, in hindsight, as ‘pré-ramiste’), even though the public did not always give the ‘old guard’ credit for this. Further rivalry emerges in the chapter by Thierry Favier, this time with a composer of a younger generation, Jean-Joseph Cassanéa de Mondonville (1711–72). In the previous century, Louis xiv had championed the establishment of a distinctive national musical identity by cultivating genres that were unique to France – notably the tragédie en musique and the motet à grand chœur, the former created by Lully and the latter taking on its defning character in the works of Lalande. Rameau and Mondonville contributed to both genres, albeit to different degrees, and were consequently regarded by the public as competitors in these areas. Yet Favier identifes the way in which perceptions of the relationship between Rameau and Mondonville changed after the Querelle des Bouffons. By now, the two composers were regarded less as rivals than as the outstanding representatives of the French tradition of serious opera in the face of unwelcome incursions from Italy; later still, they came to be regarded as the true heirs of Lully and Lalande, Rameau in the domain of opera and Mondonville in that of the motet. In this way the debate surrounding the two men’s status can be seen as contributing to the perception of a post-Lully national musical identity. Part II focuses of aspects of the libretto. In an essay that some may fnd disconcerting, Raphaëlle Legrand observes unmistakable parallels between the vocabulary of Rameau’s librettos and that of the libertine novel which fourished alongside them and which openly exploited the erotic double entendre. It may seem startling to imagine that some contemporary opera-goers read into these librettos the same sexual double meanings that they encountered in the novels of Crébillon fls and others. Yet in support of her argument Legrand points to a parodie by Favart for the popular Fair Theatres (the Théâtre de la Foire) in which a scene from Rameau’s Les Fêtes d’Hébé is ironically reworked in a blatantly suggestive manner. And it can surely be no coincidence that Denis Diderot’s admiring comments on Rameau’s new-found ability to evoke the voluptuous and the lascivious were made in the context of his own libertine novel Les Bijoux indiscrets (see Chapter 4, p. 63 below). In the light of Legrand’s chapter, it will now be diffcult to expunge such thoughts when re-encountering these operatic texts. Thomas Soury’s chapter re-appraises three enigmatic one-act works by Rameau which were never performed at the Académie Royale de Musique or at court and whose librettos are anonymous. Various modern commentators have attributed the authorship of all three to Louis de Cahusac, Rameau’s preferred collaborator during his fnal two decades. Soury casts a fresh eye on these actes de ballet, exploring the extent to which they do or do not bear the hallmarks of Cahusac’s authentic librettos. Soury’s careful analysis casts considerable doubt on one of the attributions, but provides strong support for the other two. In the process, he greatly expands our knowledge concerning an abandoned opéra-ballet



entitled Les Beaux Jours de l’Amour: this, he argues, was based on the innovative theme of the ‘poet as hero’: successive entrées trace his life from birth to old age and stress not only his vocation to enlighten but also the importance of his place in history. The evidence is suffciently convincing to suggest the possibility of recreating and performing Les Beaux Jours de l’Amour, made up of three of Rameau’s actes de ballet, two of them explored in detail in Soury’s chapter. A similarly enticing new performance opportunity is offered by Roger Savage, who identifes an intriguing and hitherto unremarked affnity between the plots of three single acts – either entrées within opéras-ballets or, in one case, an independent acte de ballet – that were set by Rameau in successive decades. The subject matter of each is based on a real-life or semi-historical character; and while the three plots all involve a conventional emotional triangle, the dramatic knot in each is resolved by an unexpected act of generosity. Savage situates his analysis of these plots within a richly illustrated and entertaining survey of French librettos over a 55-year period. In the spirit of emulating the eighteenth-century genre of ‘fragments’ – composite spectacles made up of disparate acts from existing works – he proposes the possibility of combining these separate entrées as an opéra-ballet entitled Fragments de Monsieur Rameau, a title that appropriately harks back to that of Campra’s Fragments de Monsieur de Lully (1702), the work that inaugurated the tradition of yoking together unrelated acts into a single spectacle. Marie Demeilliez’s discovery of two autograph letters from the abbé de Bernis provides the starting point for an illuminating investigation of the genesis of Rameau’s Linus, a fve-act tragédie en musique of which only the libretto and some musical fragments survive. The newly discovered letters, one of them to Rameau himself, neatly complement an extensive series of references to this opera in the correspondence of the comte de Stainville, a rich source that has hitherto been almost entirely overlooked by musicologists. It emerges that Stainville oversaw the project, and his letters allow us a glimpse into the literary and social milieux within which Rameau’s dramatic works were created. The correspondence throws light on the delicate task of persuading Rameau to set La Bruère’s libretto, which at one point was to be offered to Mondonville. Particularly enlightening are the many references to private rehearsals of Linus, at which critical assessments of the libretto and music were made and the need for revisions identifed. Part III of this volume is concerned with borrowings and creative renewal. The reuse of one composer’s music by another is an endlessly absorbing topic, even though we cannot always be sure whether the perceived resemblances are the result of deliberate borrowing, subconscious reminiscence or pure coincidence. Yet Graham Sadler’s chapter shows that, in the case of the entrée ‘Anacréon’ from Rameau’s Les Surprises de l’Amour (1757), a cluster of allusions to three of the concertos that make up Vivaldi’s Le quattro stagione must have been intentional, since they form a network of references not only to the thematic material and harmonic procedures of their models but also to certain verbal annotations in the published source materials, which Rameau must therefore



have examined. With their programmatic character, these Vivaldi concertos were particular favourites in France, and at least some of Rameau’s listeners would have recognised his allusions to the Italian originals and appreciated his imaginative transformations of the borrowed material. Three chapters consider the creative re-use of Rameau’s music by others. Margaret Butler examines the career of the composer’s brother-in-law, JacquesSimon Mangot, focusing mainly on his years as music director at the Parma court from the 1750s. Working with a large troupe of French singers, dancers and actors, Mangot enriched the repertory with numerous French stage-works, many of them by Rameau. Particularly noteworthy is Mangot’s reworking of the above-mentioned entrée ‘Anacréon’ (1757) as a ballet entitled Anacreonte (1759). While only the scenario of this survives, it provides enough information for Butler to propose a hypothetical reconstruction based on Rameau’s score. This ballet, in its intermingling of genres, provides an important context for the French-infuenced reform operas of Tommaso Traetta, the frst of which was to appear only a few months later. Butler also explores Mangot’s role as an intermediary between Rameau and Padre Martini, for whom he compiled an expertly chosen anthology of music, much of it by his brother-in-law, designed to illustrate the best of French style. While the practice of reworking secular works for use in a sacred context has a long and distinguished history, the instance studied by Thomas Leconte must surely be one of the most unusual of its kind. This anonymous Messe des morts is largely made up of musical quotations and reworkings from two operas: the 1754 version of Rameau’s Castor et Pollux and Mondonville’s Les Fêtes de Paphos (1758), the borrowings from Rameau comprising the great majority. Leconte draws attention to the skill and sensitivity with which the unidentifed composer-arranger disposed his borrowed material and adapted it to the liturgical context. While the occasion for which this Requiem Mass was intended is unknown, the work was clearly designed as a homage to the two men who were by general assent regarded as the outstanding French opera composers of their day. The last occasion on which Parisians encountered any of Rameau’s music in the theatre before the near-total oblivion to which it was condemned for much of the following century came in 1791, when Pierre-Joseph Candeille incorporated six movements from Castor et Pollux into his resetting of Bernard’s libretto. R. J. Arnold’s chapter examines how Candeille adapted and manipulated these Rameau borrowings, conscious that his audience would, to some extent, be aware of the stylistic discrepancy between the new music and the old. More generally, Arnold shows that this encounter with a musical idiom that was now quite unfamiliar stimulated intellectual debate about the nature of the French operatic tradition and the possibility that an engagement with the past might encourage a more self-confdent national musical voice. Questions relating to production, performance and criticism are examined in Part IV. Laura Naudeix considers some of the practicalities and hazards of mounting an opera in Rameau’s day. In an institution as large and complex as



the Académie Royale de Musique, events could often take unexpected turns, as in the case with the composer’s second opera, Les Indes galantes (1735). While it seems hard to believe that the critical verdict on this work, nowadays one of his best loved, was initially quite undecided, we should recall that the LullisteRamiste dispute was still gaining momentum. Naudeix shows how an accumulation of unexpected events – among them the unavailability of two star dancers and the return of another – resulted in a series of upheavals affecting the internal disposition and content of the component entrées, and how this eventually led to the addition of a new entrée, ‘Les Sauvages’. Naudeix argues that this was belatedly added to rectify a perceived structural imbalance and to give the ballet a better equilibrium. One important aspect of Rameau’s operas that has received scant attention until now is the transition from one act to the next. Throughout the LullyRameau period, each act of an opera was separated by an entr’acte during which the stage remained empty and the audience could watch the decor transform itself in full view, to the sound of a substantial piece of music. These entr’actes are often omitted by modern producers, who evidently judge it is more appropriate to close the curtain or plunge the stage into darkness between acts. Yet as Lois Rosow demonstrates, the entr’acte fulflled an essential function in representing the passage of time and (usually) of space. In recent decades, a number of productions have proposed alternative and often imaginative treatments of the entr’acte. Rosow considers a selection of these to judge how effectively they convey the temporal and spatial rift between acts. Ultimately, however, her chapter makes a persuasive case for a historically sensitive approach to staging, to complement historically inspired musical performance. A related aspect of staging is the relationship between changes of scenery, both within and between acts, and the music that accompanied them. These spectacular transformations, effected by means of elaborate stage machinery, were accompanied by music that ranged in length from short modulatory links to substantial symphonies. In an innovative chapter, Rémy-Michel Trotier analyses the changes of tonality that coincide with each change of decor, distinguishing between the tonal shifts at the beginning of each act and those in the course of the act. Having analysed all such changes within the corpus of Rameau’s operas, Trotier is in a position to detect patterns in the standard procedures he identifes. Surprisingly, the composer’s choices (concerning, for instance, the fatward or sharpward direction of modulation or the orchestral colours associated with standard types of decor) often confound our expectations. This study whets the appetite for a further research of this kind, extending the investigation to the operas of Rameau’s contemporaries and predecessors. The claim that Rameau’s dances ‘impose physical movement’ was made by Rameau’s frst British biographer, Cuthbert Girdlestone. In a chapter that started life as a practical workshop, Hubert Hazebroucq and Rebecca HarrisWarrick put Girdlestone’s assertion to the test, focusing on some of the many Rameau ballet movements that make a feature of abrupt contrasts. The authors pay particular attention to two of the dances in Rameau’s undated Zéphire.



The autograph manuscript of this work bears the composer’s own annotations concerning the dancers’ movements, these annotations being closely related to a non-autograph scenario in the score detailing the successive choreographic movements. Some of the results of their practical demonstrations with a group of dancers may be seen on video clips available online, and these show that faithful adherence to the composer’s annotations proves not merely possible but highly effective. Modern dancers seeking to recreate a historically informed style of ballet could usefully adopt a comparable approach when choreographing movements that feature similarly sharp musical contrasts. In searching for clues to historical performance practices, press reviews of opera productions would seem to be a fruitful source of information. Thomas Green analyses the reviews published in the monthly Mercure de France that assess the current productions of Rameau’s works at the Académie Royale de Musique during the three decades of the composer’s operatic activity. Green discerns a noticeable change of emphasis between the 1730s and the 1760s, with a shift away from plot descriptions and occasional comments on the singers and dancers towards reviews that focus far more on the actual performances. He illustrates a striking evolution in the critical vocabulary used by the reviewers, and considers the possible role played in this signifcant development by Madame de Pompadour. Patrick Florentin’s discography in Part V provides a ftting conclusion to this volume by documenting the increasing attention paid to this music on disc. It is evident that the most recent signifcant Rameau anniversary, in 2014, provided the catalyst for major additions to the library, including several complete operas (or alternative versions of them) recorded for the very frst time. Such performances beneft from – and in many cases can only exist because of – our ever-increasing knowledge about the composer, his milieu and his music. The contributions in this volume not only add to that knowledge but simultaneously point to the fact that, some two-and-a-half centuries after the composer’s death, there remains much more to be explored. Graham Sadler, Shirley Thompson Royal Birmingham Conservatoire Jonathan Williams St Hilda’s College, Oxford

Part I

Factions and rivalry


A little-known contribution to the Lulliste-Ramiste dispute Jean Galli de Bibiena’s Mémoires et aventures de monsieur de *** (1735) Francesca Pagani

Disputes concerning opera, even more so than literary polemics, have a special importance for the historiographer in illustrating how a given piece was perceived by contemporary audiences. As Paul-Marie Masson puts it, ‘By the way a work is attacked or defended, we understand better what the author wished to achieve and what the public expected of him’.1 The premiere of Rameau’s frst opera Hippolyte et Aricie on 1 October 1733 is rightly regarded as one of the most momentous events in the history of French opera. It was also one of the most controversial. Joseph de La Porte, writing some 16 years later, summarises the character of what has come to be known as the Lulliste-Rameau dispute,2 one of the longest running and most heated of the many eighteenth-century wars of words about music: In 1733 Rameau presented Hippolyte et Aricie, and soon afterwards his Les Indes galantes was performed – and thus came about the revolution in French musical taste. A musician of genius, [...] Rameau enlightened the nation through his works. [...] The old men, attached to the style with which they were familiar, rose up strongly against this new phenomenon. They had on their side a whole array of ignorant musicians, who found it easier to rail against the new style than to accept it. The more discerning people were divided, and ever since then the French have split into two violent and extremely ferce camps: the old and the new musical styles were

1 Paul-Marie Masson, ‘Lullistes et Ramistes, 1733–1752’, Année musicale 1 (1911), 187–211: ‘Par la façon dont une œuvre est attaquée ou défendue, on comprend mieux ce que l’auteur a voulu faire et ce que le public attendait de lui’. 2 The seminal account of this dispute is Masson, ‘Lullistes et Ramistes’. See also Georgia Cowart, The Origins of Modern Musical Criticism: French and Italian Music, 1600–1750 (Ann Arbor: UMI Research Press, 1981), 96–106; Sylvie Bouissou, Jean-Philippe Rameau, musicien des Lumières (Paris: Fayard, 2014), 312–19. For translations of selected texts relating to the dispute, see Caroline Wood and Graham Sadler, French Baroque Opera: A Reader (rev. 2nd edn, Abingdon: Routledge, 2017), 126–34. My thanks to Professor Sadler for supplying material to amplify the opening section of this chapter.

DOI: 10.4324/9781315554990-3


Francesca Pagani for each a kind of religion,3 in defence of which they took up every possible weapon. This battle still goes on;4 but as the old men die off and the population renews itself, the old music daily loses a multitude of supporters and the new wins fresh champions.5

Accounts of this dispute have devoted considerably more space to the judgements and actions of Rameau’s opponents, who became known as Lullistes because they regarded the newcomer as a threat to the traditional style of opera established by Jean-Baptiste Lully in the previous century. The present chapter seeks to redress this balance. It focuses on a substantial discussion of Rameau’s opera by an admirer of his music. This discussion, which appears in an anonymous novel entitled Mémoires et aventures de monsieur de ***, traduits de l’italien par lui-même by a writer of Italian origin, has been entirely overlooked by music historians.6 Its value is enhanced by the fact that remarkably few judgements of this kind from the composer’s supporters – the Ramistes or Ramoneurs (literally ‘chimney sweeps’) – have survived from the 1730s, the most vituperative period of the dispute. Before discussing the author of the novel and assessing his judgements on Rameau’s music, it is useful to situate the new information in the context of the early stages of the Lulliste-Ramistes dispute. In fact, the Mercure de France’s

3 Compare Voisenon, for whom the impact of Hippolyte et Aricie created ‘une religion nouvelle’, this opera having ‘autant d’ennemis et d’enthousiastes que d’hérisiarques’. Claude Henri de Fusée, abbé de Voisenon, Anecdotes littéraires (Paris: Librairie des Bibliophiles, 1881), 17. 4 For evidence of a Lulliste cabal mounted against Rameau’s Zoroastre (1749), 16 years after the dispute began, see Graham Sadler (ed.), Jean-Philippe Rameau, Zoroastre, version 1749 (Paris: Gérard Billaudot, 1999), Opera Omnia Rameau iv.19, xlix–lii. 5 Joseph de La Porte, Observations sur la littérature moderne, i (1749), 202–3: En 1733 M. Rameau donna Hyppolite et Aricie, bientôt après on représenta ses Indes Galantes, et voilà l’époque de la révolution de la musique en France. Musicien de génie, élevé, sublime, toujours varié, toujours fécond, Rameau, par ses ouvrages, éclaira la nation. La musique est depuis entrée dans l’éducation de tous nos jeunes gens. Les vieillards attachés au genre qu’ils connaissaient, s’élevèrent avec force contre ce nouveau phénomène; ils avaient pour eux tout ce qu’il y avait alors de musiciens ignorants, qui trouvèrent qu’il était plus aisé de déclamer contre le goût nouveau que de le suivre. Les plus habiles furent partagés, et dès lors on vit en France deux partis violents et extrêmes acharnés les uns contre les autres ; l’ancienne et la nouvelle musique fut pour chacun d’eux une espèce de religion pour laquelle ils prirent tous les armes. Cette guerre subsiste encore, mais comme les vieillards meurent, et que le monde se renouvelle, la musique ancienne perd tous les jours une foule de défenseurs, et la nouvelle acquiert de nouveaux partisans. For Diderot’s similarly fair-minded summary of the dispute, see Raphaëlle Legrand’s chapter in this volume (Chapter 4), pp. 63–79. 6 See Bibiena, Mémoires, 105–331.

Lulliste-Ramiste dispute 13 review of the premiere of Hippolyte et Aricie gives only the merest hint at the work’s controversial nature: The music of this opera proved a little diffcult to execute, but by the skill of the players and other musicians, this diffculty did not prevent its execution.7 [...] The composer has forced the most severe critics to agree that in his frst lyric work, he has produced virile and harmonious music of a novel character.8 Nor does much evidence survive from the next few months to presage the fury to come. Voltaire, writing on the day after the premiere, is somewhat equivocal about what he had heard: ‘The music is by someone called Rameau,9 a man who has the merit of knowing music better than Lully. He is a musical pedant, he is rigorous and tiresome’.10 Six weeks later, however, Voltaire’s friend Jean Baptiste Nicolas Formont describes him as ‘infatuated’ with the composer, and adds, ‘Rameau’s opera has greatly regained favour’.11 This and Voltaire’s earlier comment are the frst indications that Hippolyte had been anything other than successful. But in a letter of December 1733 Madame du Châtelet indicates that a sharp rift had opened up between opposing camps: You will surely have been sent word about Rameau and about the different opinions that divide the public concerning his music. Some fnd it sublime

7 Contrast Rameau’s own comments (Génération harmonique, 1737, 154) protesting that uncooperative performers at the Académie Royale de Musique had caused certain passages in Hippolyte et Aricie to be cut during rehearsals. 8 Mercure de France, October 1733, 2248: On a trouvé la musique de cet opéra un peu diffcile à exécuter, mais par l’habilité des symphonistes et des autres musiciens, la diffculté n’en a pas empêché l’exécution. […] Le musicien a forcé les plus sévères critiques à convenir que dans son premier ouvrage lyrique, il a donné une musique mâle et harmonieuse  ; d’un caractère neuf. 9 To judge by this wording, Voltaire had forgotten that when he was a pupil at the Jesuit college Louis-le-Grand, Rameau had been organist there. See Graham Sadler, ‘Jean-Philippe Rameau’, in James R. Anthony et al. (eds.), The New Grove French Baroque Masters (London: Macmillan, 1986), 210. 10 Voltaire, Correspondence and Related Documents, ed. Thomas Besterman, ii (Geneva: Voltaire Foundation, 1969), letter D.661: ‘La musique [est] d’un nommé Ramau [sic], homme qui a le mérite de savoir plus de musique que Lulli. C’est un pédant en musique, il est exact et ennuyeux’. 11 Letter from Formont to Cideville [20 November 1733], ibid., D.682. By that date, Voltaire had sketched out the libretto of his frst collaboration with Rameau, the still-born opera Samson.


Francesca Pagani and superior to Lully; others fnd it extremely complicated but not at all pleasing or varied.12

It was not until May 1734, however, that the frst Lulliste salvo was fred. An anonymous letter published in the Mercure de France satirizes a ‘ballet’ (i.e., opera) by a certain composer who, though unnamed, can only be Rameau.13 The author characterizes the music of this work as unnatural, noisy, restless, excessively dissonant and lacking in melody, grace and expression – in a word, baroque. (As Claude Palisca points out, Hippolyte et Aricie has the dubious distinction of being the frst musical work to which this epithet, wholly derogatory at that time, was applied.)14 The Lullistes’ attacks, which were directed as much at Rameau’s person as at his music, came in many different guises. In addition to open letters to the press, they included derogatory poems, among them Jean-Baptiste Rousseau’s much-quoted ‘Distillateurs des accords baroques’ and the satire Marsias allégorie, which, though anonymous, was widely believed to be the work of the poet and librettist Pierre-Charles Roy, ringleader of the Lullistes. Such was the vicious, ad hominem nature of this poem that it occasioned a public brawl between Roy and Rameau.15 The Lullistes also issued numerous satirical engravings, many of them obscene.16 Most unusually, the prologue of André Campra’s opera Achille et Déïdamie, on a libretto by Antoine Danchet, constitutes a thinly veiled criticism of Rameau’s operatic style.17 12 Letter to de Sade [December 1733], ibid., D.689: On vous aura sûrement mandé ce que c’est que Rameau et les différentes opinions qui divisent le public sur sa musique. Les uns la trouvent divine et au-dessus de Lully, les autres la trouvent fort travaillée, mais point agréable et point diversifée. Writing after Rameau’s death, Hugues Maret (Éloge historique de M. Rameau (Dijon: Causse, Delalain, 1766), 29) describes the reaction at the frst production of Hippolyte, though without citing any sources: Hardly had the curtain risen than a dull rumble could be heard, which, as it grew louder and louder, soon announced to Rameau an unequivocal fop. […] ‘I was wrong’, he said, ‘I thought my style would succeed; I have no other; I shall compose no more operas’. [La toile fut à peine levée, qu’il se forma un bruit sourd, qui croissant de plus en plus, annonça bientôt à Rameau la chute la moins équivoque. […] Je me suis trompé, disait-il: j’ai cru que mon goût réussirait; je n’en ai point d’autre; je ne ferai plus d’opéra.] 13 ‘Lettre de M*** à Mlle *** sur l’origine de la musique’, Mercure de France, May 1734, 863–70. 14 Claude V. Palisca, ‘“Baroque” as a Music-critical Term’, in Georgia Cowart (ed.), French Musical Thought, 1600–1800 (Ann Arbor: UMI Research Press, 1989), 7–21. 15 See Graham Sadler, ‘Patrons and Pasquinades: Rameau in the 1730s’, Journal of the Royal Musical Association 113/2 (1988), 314–37, which includes the full text of Marsias allégorie. 16 See Florence Gétreau, ‘Satirical Portraits and Visual Lampoons of Rameau and His Works’, Early Music 44/4 (2016), 523–37. 17 See Graham Sadler, The Rameau Compendium (Woodbridge: The Boydell Press, rev. 2nd edn, 2017), 8. Campra was currently inspecteur at the Académie Royale de Musique.

Lulliste-Ramiste dispute 15 In relating this dispute to previous French polemics on music, Georgia Cowart points out that ‘it represented another clash between the advocates of simplicity and expressiveness in music and those of complexity and sonority’.18 In this respect, Rameau’s formidable reputation as a music theorist proved an impediment, since some critics detected in his harmony ‘a geometric quality that frightens the heart [and] offers only great algebraic truths’.19 * Such, then, is the background against which we can now consider the littleknown portrayal of Jean-Philippe Rameau in the third volume of the anonymous Mémoires et aventures de monsieur de ***, traduits de l’italien par lui-même.20 The frst three volumes of this novel were published in 1735, two years after the controversial premiere of Hippolyte et Aricie and in the same year as Rameau’s Les Indes galantes, while the fourth volume appeared in 1736. This is undoubtedly the same novel mentioned by Simon-Henri Dubuisson in his Lettres au marquis de Caumont (1735–41), despite the fact that the title he cites – Mémoires du marquis de …, traduits de l’italien par lui-même – is slightly different. Dubuisson’s letter is crucial in the present context, since it confrms that the unnamed composer discussed in these Mémoires is none other than Jean-Philippe Rameau: ‘In the third or fourth volume can be found a eulogy of our composer Rameau which I have found apt and would have made exactly as it is, if I had had the wit’.21 According to Dubuisson, ‘the [book’s] author, who is no more than 33 or 34 years old, claims that everything he recounts has actually happened to him. If this is true, we have to admit that some men are born to misfortune’.22 Until a few years ago, this novel was attributed to Grandvoinet de Verrière, on the basis of Barbier’s Dictionnaire des ouvrages anonymes et pseudonymes.23 More recent studies have established that the Mémoires were, without doubt, written by Jean

18 Cowart, The Origins of Modern Music Criticism, 96. 19 François Cartaud de la Vilate, Essais historiques et philosophiques sur le goût (London [Paris?], 1736), 202–3; cited in Masson, ‘Lullistes et Ramistes’, 204: ‘[l’harmonie de Rameau] prend un ton géomètre qui effarouche le cœur [et] n’offre que de grands vérités d’algèbre’. 20 Bibiena, Mémoires, 105–331. 21 Simon-Henri Dubuisson, Mémoires secrets du XVIIIème siècle: lettres du commissaire Dubuisson au marquis de Caumont, ed. A. Rouxel (Paris: P. Arnould, [1882]), 200: ‘On trouve dans la troisième ou la quatrième partie un éloge de notre musicien Rameau que j’ai trouvé vrai et j’eusse fait tel qu’il est là, si j’en avais eu l’esprit’. 22 Ibid., 199: ‘L’auteur, qui n’a pas plus de trente-trois à trente-quatre ans, prétend que tout ce qu’il raconte lui est arrivé. Si cela est, il faut avouer qu’il a des hommes nés pour le malheur’. 23 Antoine-Alexandre Barbier, Dictionnaire des ouvrages anonymes et pseudonymes (Paris: Imprimerie bibliographique, 1806). In his edition of Dubuisson’s letters (see previous note), Rouxel erroneously identifes this novel as Mémoires du marquis de Mirmon, ou le Solitaire philosophe (Amsterdam: Welstein, 1736), attributed in the Dictionnaire des anonymes to the marquis d’Argens.


Francesca Pagani

Galli de Bibiena,24 the son of Francesco Galli Bibiena (1659–1739).25 Jean (as he signed all his handwritten letters) was born in 1709 or 1710 in Nancy, where his father was involved in the construction of the town’s opera house. Between 1713 and 1714 Jean returned to Italy and grew up in Bologna, the oldest university town in Europe, and was educated at a Jesuit school. In 1730, deciding that he did not wish to follow in his father’s footsteps, he returned to France to take up a literary career. From 1735 to 1750 he published six novels in French. He also translated libretti for the Théâtre-Italien and in 1762 he wrote a play partly in French and partly in Italian, La Nouvelle Italie, comédie héroïco-comique mêlée d’ariettes et de spectacle, which used existing music by Egidio Romualdo Duni, André-Jean Rigade and Tommaso Traetta.26 The following year Bibiena was brought to trial accused of having sexually molested a young girl and was sentenced to death. To escape the death penalty, he fed Paris and disappeared without trace. An effgy of him was hanged and he was expunged from the literary memory of his contemporaries, remaining in total obscurity until recent times. This brief description of the life of Jean Galli de Bibiena not only serves to give some idea of this little-known man but also supports the claim that he wrote the Mémoires, since some unquestionable correspondences with the historical facts outlined here can be found in the opening of the novel.27 Furthermore, it also illustrates the cultural context within which the author’s aesthetic developed: he was from an early age close to the world of music and lived a life divided between France and Italy, so he had an original and privileged point of view that put him in a position to represent the emerging fgure of Jean-

24 The attribution of this novel to Jean Galli de Bibiena is the result of a series of studies carried out in recent years following work by Ivanna Rosi Bugliani, ‘Romanzi di Galli da Bibbiena, il gioco delle varianti’, Saggi e ricerche di letteratura francese 21 (1982), 163–87 and Henri Lafon, Préface, in Jean Galli de Bibiena, La Poupée (Paris: Desjonquères, 1987), 7–16. 25 Francesco Galli Bibiena was a famous painter, architect and set designer, who worked at the principal European courts, including those in Parma and Piacenza for the Farnese, in Naples for the Bourbons, in Vienna for Emperor Leopold, and in Lunéville, Einville and Nancy for the dukes of Lorraine. In Rome he renovated the Aliberti Theatre, for which he designed the sets for some operas. During the last years of his life he taught at the Clementine Academy of Fine Arts in his native town of Bologna. 26 See Nicole Wild and David Charlton, Théâtre de l’Opéra Comique, Paris. Répertoire 1762–1972 (Sprimont: Mardaga, 2005), 344. 27 Bibiena, Mémoires, 109: I am not of noble birth, and our name is not written on ancient vellum or on the bark of a tree. The title with which I honour myself is the reputation of a father admired throughout Europe for his genius and his works. He was at the Viennese court in 1707. The Emperor, who liked him, gave him responsibility for important projects at the court in Lunéville. When he had fulflled his mission, he decided to spend several days at Nancy. [Je ne suis point d’un sang ignoble, mais notre nom n’est pas non plus tracé sur un vélin antique ni sur des écorces d’arbre. Le titre dont je m’honore davantage, c’est la réputation d’un père admiré de toute l’Europe par son génie et ses travaux. Il était à la Cour de Vienne en 1707. L’empereur, qui l’aimait, le chargea d’affaires importantes pour la cour de Lunéville. Lorsqu’il y eut rempli sa mission, il lui prit envie de passer quelques jours à Nancy.]

Lulliste-Ramiste dispute 17 Philippe Rameau. In the third volume of the Mémoires, the author recalls the time when he was in Rome at the performance in the Teatro Alibert of the opera Alessandro nell’Indie (1729) by Leonardo Vinci.28 Bibiena gives the French reader some information about the world of Italian theatre – what time the performances began,29 the theatre’s facilities, the magnifcence of the productions  – and introduces the opera he attended. The frst description of the production highlights the visual aspect of the performance, comparing it to a work of art: This opera opens with the battle between Alexander and Porus. As the curtain rises, the theatre represents two armies ranged in battle. In the distance can be seen a mass of tents. […] There are two cavalries with living horses. In addition to the scenery representing innumerable armies, there were at least 300 soldiers on stage, and the fray of battle was well depicted. People here recall the skilful manner in which the capture of a town is executed in [Lully’s] Alceste, but this was certainly dwarfed by what I am describing, in which you will see an original and perfect copy of the paintings by Monsieur Le Brun.30 The whole range of his attitudes can be found there, to the extent that one can judge the terror that this scene inspires and also the sheer size of the stage. […] I left this theatre enthralled by what I had seen and heard.31 The performance was praised for the variety of subjects represented and for the intensity of feeling that it aroused in the audience. The references to Le Brun’s painting and to Lully’s Alceste were deliberate. Le Brun and Lully were 28 This is another reference to the life of Jean Galli de Bibiena, since his father worked on two opera productions in 1720 at the very same theatre. 29 Bibiena, Mémoires, 253: That evening, the opera performed was entitled Alexandre le Grand [i.e., Vinci’s opera Alessandro nell’Indie, on the libretto by Metastasio, frst performed at the Teatro Alibert on 26 December 1729]. I say “that evening”, because it is worth noting that, throughout Italy and at whatever time of year it is, the spectacle only ever begins two hours after the sun has set. [On jouait ce soir-là un opéra qui a pour titre  : Alexandre le Grand. Je dis ce soir-là, parce qu’il est bon d’observer que, dans toute l’Italie, et dans quelque saison que ce soit, le spectacle ne commence jamais que deux heures après le soleil couché.] 30 Charles Le Brun (1619–90), court painter to Louis xiv. 31 Bibiena, Mémoires, 253–4: Cet opéra ouvre par la bataille d’Alexandre et de Porus. Au lever de la toile, le théâtre représentait les deux armées rangées en bataille. On voyait au loin comme une foule de tentes. […] On voyait deux cavaleries dont les chevaux étaient naturels. Outre les décorations qui représentaient des armées innombrables, il y avait bellement trois cents combattants sur la scène, et la mêlée y était des mieux imitées. On parle ici de la manière heureuse dont on exécute dans Alceste la prise d’une ville, mais c’est bien sûrement un diminutif de ce que je rapporte, vous verriez la copie originale et parfaite des tableaux de monsieur le Brun. Toute la variété de ses attitudes s’y trouve, en sorte qu’on peut juger de la terreur que cette scène inspire, et quelle doit être en même temps la grandeur de ce théâtre.


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universally renowned artists and not only provided the reader with immediate reference points but also summoned to mind other ideas. The former established a connection, taken up at different times in the novel, between visual art and music, while the latter was linked to a performance that was not only memorable for its spectacular battle scene (in Act ii) but also drew attention to the Lully-Rameau comparison that would be dealt with later. Having returned home from the theatre, the author discusses with a friend the performance he has seen: ‘we spoke for part of the night, especially about the music, which is by the famous Vinci’.32 After outlining some of the events of this composer’s life,33 the author highlights the individuality of Vinci’s music, which consisted in an ability to communicate the most intense emotions in an effective way: This musician had an admirable art of expressing in music the extraordinary movements of anger, astonishment, fear, fury, despair, and all the powerful effects that shake us on the theatrical stage.34 While Charles de Brosses thought that ‘Vinci is the Italian Lully, true, simple, natural, expressive, and [he writes] the most beautiful melody in the world without being over-elaborate’,35 Bibiena believed that Leonardo Vinci’s remarkable talents were also to be found in a French composer whom he does not explicitly name but who, thanks to Dubuisson’s remarks quoted above, must be Jean-Philippe Rameau. France now possesses a man to whom the soul of Vinci seems to have been transmitted. The taste and profundity in his work are unprecedented. He grasps all the nooks and crannies of music, so to speak, and knows how to make the most of them. This produces in his orchestra a harmony such as has never been heard. His accompaniments are like self-suffcient arias. Always bold, always strong, always new.36 32 Ibid., 255: ‘nous parlâmes une partie de la nuit, et surtout de la musique, qui est du célèbre Vinci’. Leonardo Vinci (1690–1730), a composer of the Neapolitan school, was also the teacher of Pergolesi, among others. 33 Ibid., 255–6, refers to the mysterious death of Leonardo Vinci, who is said to have been murdered for not having been careful enough to conceal an illicit love affair. 34 Ibid., 256: ‘Ce musicien avait un art admirable pour exprimer dans musique des mouvements extraordinaires de colère, d’étonnement, de crainte, de fureur, de désespoir, et tous les coups de force dont la scène peut être agitée’. 35 Charles de Brosses, Le Président de Brosses en Italie. Lettres familières écrites d’Italie en 1739 et 1740 (Paris: Didier, 1858), 2nd edn, ii, 387: ‘Vinci est le Lulli de l’Italie, vrai, simple, naturel, expressif et le plus beau chant du monde sans être recherché’. 36 Bibiena, Mémoires, 256: La France possède aujourd’hui un homme à qui l’âme de Vinci semble avoir été transmise. Nul n’a encore goûté ni approfondi comme lui. Il saisit, si l’on peut ainsi parler, tous les recoins de la musique et sais les faire valoir. Cela produit dans son orchestre une harmonie qu’on n’a jamais entendue. Ses accompagnements sont des airs qu’on pourrait détacher. Toujours hardi et toujours soutenu, toujours neuf.

Lulliste-Ramiste dispute 19 Jean Galli de Bibiena exalted the expressiveness of Rameau’s music, considering it comparable in this respect to the Neapolitan school of Vinci. The origin of this expressiveness was, in his view, to be found in the harmonies, hitherto little-used in France, that Rameau had theorised and incorporated in his compositions. This new element was tied to the tradition that, from Monteverdi onwards, subordinated the beauty of music to its ability to represent the ‘affections of the soul’. However divergent Monteverdi’s principles, particularly those of his ‘second practice’, were from those expressed by Rameau, both composers had a vision of music as an art to ‘move the affections’ – that is, to arouse sentiment and passion in the listener. In his Génération harmonique of 1737, Rameau gave a famous and much-quoted defnition of music according to which he claimed that ‘its purpose is to please and to excite in us a variety of emotions’.37 Yet Rameau’s new harmonies, in Bibiena’s opinion, were the cause of the diffculty which his music encountered in France at the time. Hostile critics of his work were used to a different kind of composition and this lay at the base of their unfavourable positions towards him. As Bibiena puts it, ‘The French ear, accustomed for 80 years to a certain monotony, has found some outlandishness in this novelty, while at the same time admiring it’.38 He continues by challenging the perceived diffculty of Rameau’s vocal lines, claiming that such criticism was unjustifed: It has been objected that this music was not easy to sing. But where does this objection come from? From habit. Is this a valid reason? May I be allowed to say that it is not to have a fair idea of opera to believe that a pompous spectacle like this, where everything is designed to delight, where the enchantment and illusion are continual, and where everything depends on the interaction of a large number of parts, should have anything in common with the vaudeville’.39 37 Jean-Philippe Rameau, Génération harmonique (Paris: Prault, 1737), 30: ‘sa fn est de plaire, et d’exciter en nous diverses passions’. Note the borrowing from Descartes: ‘Sa fn est de plaire, et d’émouvoir en nous des passions variées’. René Descartes, Abrégé de musique (Paris: Presses universitaires de France, 1987), 54. On the relationship between Rameau and the philosophy of Descartes, see Catherine Kintzler, Jean-Philippe Rameau. Splendeur et naufrage de l’esthétique du plaisir à l’âge classique (Paris: Minerve, 3rd edn, 2011). 38 Bibiena, Mémoires, 256: ‘L’oreille française, accoutumée, depuis quatre-vingts ans, à une certaine monotonie, a trouvé, mais toujours en admirant, quelque bizarrerie dans cette nouveauté’. 39 Ibid., 256: On a objecté que cette musique ne se chantait pas avec facilité, mais d’où vient cette objection  ? De l’habitude. Est-ce une raison de principe  ? Qu’on me permette de dire que ce n’est pas avoir une juste idée de l’opéra que de croire qu’un spectacle pompeux, comme celui-là, où tout est fait pour ravir, où l’enchantement et l’illusion sont continuels, et où tout dépend du concours d’un grand nombre de parties, puisse avoir rien de commun avec le vaudeville. In this passage, Bibiena explains the clear contrast between opera and vaudeville. Opera is ‘serious’, its essence and its aims were to renew the illusion of theatre and to enchant the


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Criticism of Rameau, particularly regarding the alleged lack of melodiousness in his compositions, was challenged by Bibiena, who claimed that such criticism was not supported by solid arguments. The complexity of opera could not be reduced to one questionable characteristic that was more commonly associated with another genre. Bibiena’s point of view regarding Rameau became clearer after he apparently showed reluctance to give a defnitive judgement: It remains to be decided whether it is the fault of the composer or of prejudice. He has managed to reconcile two completely opposed tastes and to give us a compromise which [nevertheless] lacks the perfection of these tastes considered individually.40 For Bibiena, the fusion of two artistic styles and two artistic tendencies – the expression of emotion and at the same time the importance given to harmony – led to the integration of the best of both, and the art of music became more refned than it had been before. It could even be said that Bibiena considered Rameau as embodying the evolution of French music, which came to incorporate the ability to express ‘all facets of music’, an aspect that was more specifcally Italian. Certainly, Bibiena’s origins, his training and his familiarity with Italian theatres contributed greatly to the creation of this concept of music. Successive passages from the Mémoires continue to highlight the effectiveness and the merits of Rameau’s music. To describe this, Bibiena used the kind of language associated with painting: He is a man who always has an artist’s brush in his hand. Nothing is so eloquent as his images and his allegories. The more skilful one is, the more one discovers. Besides, all his colours are found in the heart and the human spirit, and whatever one might say, we must recognise that the graces hold sway in majesty throughout.41 The image of Rameau as a painter cannot be considered unusual, as it was then quite common to compare the different art forms and to fnd correspondences between them. The debate on the imitation of the real world was a benchmark spectator; vaudeville, which had for 20 years or so been known as comic opera, aimed at entertaining the audience. The characters were often taken from the commedia dell’arte and the situations were amusing and comical. The easy singing style of the vaudeville melodies was necessary for practical reasons: the actors at the Fair Theatres were initially not allowed to speak and so they had to express themselves through songs, even though their abilities and training were not of the high standards as the opera singers. 40 Bibiena, Mémoires, 256: ‘Il reste à décider si c’est la faute du musicien ou du préjugé. Il a su réconcilier deux goûts totalement opposés, et nous en montrer un mélange qui manquait à la perfection de l’un et de l’autre’. 41 Ibid., 256: C’est un homme qui a toujours le pinceau en main. Rien n’est si parlant que ses images et ses allégories. Plus on est habile et plus on en découvre. Au reste, toutes ses couleurs sont prises dans le cœur et dans l’esprit humain, et quoiqu’on en puisse dire, on reconnaîtra que les grâces y règnent par tout avec la majesté.

Lulliste-Ramiste dispute 21 in painting in the eighteenth century and a new aesthetic analogy between seeing and hearing emerged. Newton’s theories had profoundly infuenced the concepts of light and sound and how they were perceived. In 1720, at the French Académie Royale des Sciences, Dortous de Mairan put forward a theory of sound that was inspired by Newton’s theory of colours.42 In the same way, perspective and harmony were thought to be governed by rules – by specifc relations between the objects represented and the sounds produced – but at the same time there was the awareness that the way a painting or a piece of music was perceived depended on a number of factors that could not always be controlled. Thus a painting that adhered to the rules of perspective and seemingly represented ‘real distances’43 could create the illusion that the objects in a painting corresponded to what they looked like in real life, but the  distance from which the objects were observed could completely change  the way in which they were perceived. Diderot expressed this concept perfectly in his famous passage dedicated to Chardin: that it is not only the colours but the air and the light, ‘Newtonian’ elements, that merge on the canvas from a distance, yet, close up, reproduce an admirable effect of reality.44 Similarly, even though a musical composition might respect the relations between sounds and the way they were produced, it was not always perceived in the 42 Histoire de l’Académie Royale des Sciences, année 1720 (Paris: Imprimerie Royale, 1722), 11–12: Le fuide où se répand la lumière, et qui en est le véhicule pour le porter à nos yeux, est différent de celui qui est le véhicule du son: celui-ci est l’air proprement dit, et l’autre une matière éthérée incomparablement plus subtile. Ce qui doit causer, dans le système de M. Newton, les différentes couleurs et leur différent degré de réfrangibilité ce sont des particules, ou si l’on veut, des globules de cet éther, qui, à cause de leur différente consistance ou de leur différente grosseur, se meuvent ou frémissent différemment, et avec des vitesses inégales. De même il y aura dans l’air des particules d’un ressort différent, qui par conséquent feront, en plus ou moins de temps, un même nombre de vibrations. Chacune ne sera donc à l’unisson, qu’avec les corps sonores qui feront leurs vibrations dans le même temps qu’elle et ne frémira que quand elle sera ébranlée par eux. Il y aura dans l’air des particules pour chaque ton, comme il y en a dans l’éther pour chaque couleur, et il ne sera plus étonnant que l’éther transmette en même temps sans confusion, différentes couleurs, ni l’air, différents tons. For a modern survey of the infuence of Newton’s theories on Rameau and his contemporaries, see Thomas Christensen, Rameau and Musical Thought in the Enlightenment (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1993), 139–49. 43 Louis de Jaucourt, ‘Perspective’, in Denis Diderot and Jean Le Rond d’Alembert (eds), Encyclopédie ou dictionnaire raisonné des sciences, des arts et des métiers, xii (Paris: Le Breton, 1765), 436: ‘Ainsi pour séduire le jugement involontaire, il doit suffre de donner sur un tableau les apparences des distances réelles’. 44 Denis Diderot, Essais sur la peinture, in Œuvres: Esthétique. Théâtre (Paris: Robert Laffont, 1996), 265: Ô Chardin, ce n’est pas du blanc, du rouge, du noir que tu broies sur ta palette ; c’est la substance même des objets, c’est l’air et la lumière que tu prends à la pointe de ton pinceau, et que tu attaches sur la toile. […] On n’entend rien à cette magie. Ce sont des couches épaisses de couleur, appliquées les unes sur les autres, et dont l’effet transpire de dessous en dessus. […] Approchez-vous, tout se brouille, s’aplatit et disparaît. Éloignez-vous, tout se recrée et se reproduit.


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same way by the listener. The external context changed perception, but in particular it was still not known how music stimulated the imagination and affected the listener’s judgement of its beauty. Despite early eighteenth-century knowledge of the ear’s anatomy, and despite contemporary discoveries on the vibration of sound, the Encyclopédie stated in mid-century that it was still unclear how the hearing apparatus worked and that it would probably remain a mystery forever.45 In his ‘Salon criticism’ Diderot often used metaphors regarding music to describe paintings and sketches, and frequently established parallels between painting, music and poetry, particularly to describe the role of imagination faced with a work of art:46 As with painting, so with music: you understand the rules of composition; you know all the chords and their inversions; at your discretion, modulations link themselves together under your fngers; you have the art of linking and bringing together the most disparate chords; you produce, when you so desire, the rarest and most spicy of harmonic effects. That’s a lot. But those fearsome or voluptuous melodies which, at the very moment that they astonish or charm my ear, bring love or terror to the depths of my heart, dissolve my emotions or wrack my entrails – do you know how to fnd those?47 Lastly, we may recall that there was currently a lively debate about LouisBertrand Castel’s ocular harpsichord (clavecin oculaire), which was supposedly 45 Louis de Jaucourt, ‘Oreille’, in Denis Diderot and Jean Le Rond d’Alembert (eds), Encyclopédie ou dictionnaire raisonné des sciences, des arts et des métiers, xi (1765), 612–20. 46 See also Rousseau’s comparison of music and painting, particularly with reference to musical airs and the idea of imitation (Jean-Jacques Rousseau, ‘Air’, Dictionnaire de musique (Paris: Veuve Duchesne, 1768)): Les airs de nos Opéra sont, pour ainsi dire, la toile de fond sur quoi se peignent les tableaux de la Musique imitative; la mélodie est le dessein, l’harmonie est le coloris, tous les objets pittoresques de la belle nature, tous les sentiments réféchis du cœur humain sont les modèles que l’artiste imite ; l’attention, l’intérêt, le charme de l’oreille, et l’émotion du cœur sont la fn de ses imitations. 47 Denis Diderot, Ruines et paysages: salons de 1767, ed. Else Marie Bukdahl, Michel Delon and Annette Lorenceau (Paris: Hermann, 1995), 440: Il en est de la peinture ainsi que de la musique  ; vous possédez les règles de la composition  ; vous connaissez tous les accords et leurs renversements  ; les modulations s’enchaînent à votre gré sous vos doigts ; vous avez l’art de lier de rapprocher les cordes les plus disparates ; vous produisez, quand il vous plaît, les effets d’harmonie les plus rares et les plus piquants. C’est beaucoup. Mais ces chants terribles ou voluptueux qui au moment même qu’ils étonnent ou charment mon oreille, portent au fond de mon cœur l’amour ou la terreur, dissolvent mes sens ou secouent mes entrailles, les savezvous trouver ? On the theme of music in Diderot’s Salons, see Jean-Christophe Rebejkow, ‘La musique dans les Salons de Diderot’, Revue romane 32/1 (1997), 131–47; Béatrice Didier, ‘Le dialogue des arts dans les Salons de Diderot’, Revue Silène (2008), 1–11, [accessed 25 September 2019].

Lulliste-Ramiste dispute 23 able to produce music of colours, that is, a combination of sound associated with colour based on a physical analogy and a natural correspondence that Castel believed in. Rameau’s dispute with this Jesuit mathematician and physicist reached its height in 1736 after the Journal de Trévoux published an article that was very critical of the French composer. Thus, Bibiena drew on an idea that was very topical at the time which saw connections between sound and colour, music and painting, and revealed Rameau as the perfect synthesis of the thinking of his time. His portrayal of Rameau concludes thus: If this learned man continues, as we have reason to hope, he will teach his compatriots that music is very different from anything they have hitherto imagined. His illustrious predecessor [Lully], as ingenious as he was prolifc and graceful, demeaned himself so as to adapt to the taste of his time, but he refrained from introducing anything he had not already established. His fnal works may be said to have begun to develop. The present composer [Rameau] is merely fulflling what the earlier one had planned.48 Bibiena’s contribution is interesting not only because it is so little known but also because it testifes to the early presence of a voice in favour of Rameau. Until recently, such testimonies have rarely been mentioned and are only now beginning to be taken into consideration and to modify the perception of a cultural scene according to which Lully was the only unopposed authority in the 1730s. Just two years after the publication of Bibiena’s novel, for example, the author François Granet also praised Rameau, comparing him to the greatest among his foreign contemporaries: We are assured that the ballet Les Amours des dieux, whose elegant music is by Mouret, is soon to be revived at the Opéra, […] pending Castor et Pollux by Rameau, the Andrea Zani, the Vivaldi, the Handel of modern France.49 Furthermore, Jean Galli de Bibiena proposed an even more stimulating and arguably more modern position; for even though he recognised the correspondence 48 Bibiena, Mémoires, 256–7: Si ce savant homme continue, comme on a lieu de l’espérer, il apprendra à sa patrie que la musique est bien autre chose que ce qu’elle s’était jusqu’à présent imaginée. Son illustre prédécesseur [Lully], aussi ingénieux que fécond et gracieux, avait dérogé pour se prêter au goût de son temps, mais il se réservait d’amener ce qu’il n’avait pu établir d’abord. On peut remarquer que ses derniers ouvrages commencent à prendre l’essor. Celui-ci ne fait qu’accomplir ce que l’autre avait prémédité. 49 François Granet, Refexions sur les ouvrages de literature (Paris: Pierre Gissey, 1737), ii, 360: On assure que le Ballet des Amours des Dieux, dont l’élégante musique est du Sr Mouret, va reparaître incessamment sur le Théâtre de l’Opéra, […] en attendant le Castor & Pollux du Sr Rameau, l’Andréasani [sic], le Vivaldi, le Hindel [sic] de la France moderne.


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between Rameau and the Italian tradition, he did not oppose him to Lully as many others did at the height of the Lulliste-Ramiste dispute. Instead, he saw in Rameau a natural continuation, even a spiritual heir to Lully. According to Bibiena, Lully would have developed his composing style in the same direction as Rameau if he had not decided to give in to the tastes and customs that prevailed at the time. Translation: Graham Sadler


Destouches and Collin de Blamont Two surintendants in the face of the Ramiste threat Françoise Escande and Benoît Dratwicki

The impact of Rameau’s operatic debut in 1733 and his subsequent triumphs forced all those composers who had formerly held sway at the Académie Royale de Musique (the Paris Opéra) to re-examine their own styles. Among these were André Cardinal Destouches (1672–1749) and François Collin de Blamont (1690–1760), who, as the current surintendants de la musique de la chambre du roi, enjoyed a higher profle than others.1 Whether it was the boldness of Rameau’s idiom that confronted them directly or whether they merely felt the need to keep abreast of new trends, both men evidently wished to re-position themselves with respect to the newcomer’s innovations. Their music thus enables us to assess the changes in taste generated by Rameau’s operas from the mid1730s onward. To this end, the present chapter examines the stylistic evolution both in their new compositions and their reworkings of older ones, setting the programming of these works at the Opéra and at court against the polemical background of the Lulliste-Ramiste dispute and the Querelle des Bouffons. While all three composers produced a signifcant corpus of cantatas and motets, opera was the genre in which they particularly excelled. The lyric stage was thus the terrain on which Rameau represented the greatest threat to Destouches and Collin de Blamont. Between them, three generations are represented: Destouches’s operas were premiered at the Opéra between 1697 and 1726; Collin de Blamont’s between 1723 and 1739; and Rameau’s between 1733 and 1760. After 1726, Destouches wrote no new operas but revised his existing works. Meanwhile, Collin de Blamont continued to compose for the court until 1750. The three composers therefore shared a period of activity (1733–45) during which their new creations and/or revivals overlapped. Furthermore, their operas broadly outlived them: Collin de Blamont’s continued to be performed until 1771, Destouches’s until 1781 and Rameau’s until 1791, albeit in increasingly reworked versions (see Figure 2.1).2 1 They each worked for one semestre a year: Destouches from January to June, Collin de Blamont from July to December. 2 These fnal revivals were revised by other composers, notably Dauvergne, Berton and Candeille. On the last of these composers, see the chapter by R. J. Arnold in this volume (Chapter 11, pp. 185–97).

DOI: 10.4324/9781315554990-4

26 Françoise Escande and Benoît Dratwicki ARM & court Period of new creations




Colin de Blamont

ARM & court


Creations and revivals within the composers’ lifetimes Overall period of performance, including posthumous revivals

† Died 1749 † Died 1760 † Died 1764











Figure 2.1 Operas by Destouches, Collin de Blamont and Rameau: relative periods of activity at the Académie Royale de Musique (ARM) and at court

Collin de Blamont, son of one of the king’s musicians, studied from an early age with Lalande. Destouches, by contrast, discovered his musical talent only in his twenties, choosing Campra as his teacher. Unlike Rameau, both composers shone at court before becoming known to a wider audience. By the start of Louis xv’s full reign in 1723, each had established his reputation with an opera that would encapsulate his art: Destouches with Issé (1697) and Collin de Blamont with Les Fêtes grecques et romaines (1723). Though separated by a quarter of a century, both these works had a long performing history and a lasting impact on the repertoire of the Opéra, the Concerts de la Reine3 and other venues such as the Théâtre des Petits Cabinets.4 In particular, Issé captured the interest of literary fgures.5

3 Soon after arriving in France in 1725, Queen Maria Leszczynska asked Destouches to establish a series of what came to be known as the Concerts de la Reine. These concerts, conducted by the current surintendant de la musique du roi, generally took place at least twice a week. As such, the series constituted the most active musical institution at court. See Benoît Dratwicki, La Musique à la cour de Louis XV. François Colin de Blamont (1690–1760): une carrière au service du roi (Rennes: Presses Universitaires de Rennes, 2016), 50–86 and David Charlton, Opera in the Age of Rousseau (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2012), 11–14 and Table 1.1. 4 The theatre group established by Madame de Pompadour in 1747. These works were among the most frequently performed in France: at the Opéra, Les Fêtes grecques et romaines was revived six times (in 1733, 1734, 1741, 1753, 1762 and 1770) and Issé many more (1697, 1708, 1719, 1721, 1733, 1734, 1741, 1742, 1743, 1756, 1757 and 1763). Both works returned to the Concerts de la Reine on an almost annual basis. They were also performed at great events of the court (see below, p. 38). 5 Diderot’s description of the French operatic repertoire in Le Neveu de Rameau, for example, puts this work on an equal footing with some of the best-known operas by Lully, Campra and Rameau: see Denis Diderot, Le Neveu de Rameau, satire seconde, ed. Marian Hobson

Destouches and Collin de Blamont 27 Destouches


Proportion (%) of lyric works by genre


Colin de Blamont




50% 40% 30%



1 Tragédies en musique


Divertissements, Idylles

Intermèdes in Comédies-ballets









1 Opéras ballets, Ballets héroïque, Actes de ballet


Comédies-ballets, Comédies lyriques


Figure 2.2 Destouches, Collin de Blamont and Rameau: classifcation of works by operatic genre

All three composers made names for themselves in the main operatic genres of the time, though to different degrees (see Figure 2.2). The most striking aspect they shared was a commitment to the ballet héroïque. Destouches and Collin de Blamont contributed directly to the emergence of this new genre, which came to symbolise the Ramiste era. Destouches’s Les Éléments (1721) and Les Stratagèmes de l’Amour (1726) and Collin de Blamont’s Les Fêtes grecques et romaines (1723) represented a break with the old style of opéra-ballet (with its light, or even comic, amorous plot) by treating in miniature a noble subject whose tragic dimension reveals a more elevated ambition. Rameau was to beneft from their example, notably extending it in Les Indes galantes (1735), Les Fêtes de Polymnie and Le Temple de la Gloire (1745). All three composers were likewise involved in perpetuating the pastorale héroïque, a marginal genre in terms of the number of works but remarkable for its longevity. In Issé (1697), Endymion (1731) and Acante et Céphise (1751), they each approached the pastoral world in their own way. With the conspicuous emergence of Rameau, a choice presented itself to music-lovers, intellectuals and, indeed, composers: to be a Lulliste … or a Ramiste.6 The birth of the latter faction consigned Destouches and Collin de Blamont to the Lulliste camp, in which former leading lights of the stage were lumped together by default. However, as Marpurg noted in 1749, their positioning was more subtle: ‘The Lully school has long ended; composers like (Geneva: Droz, 2013), 114: ‘Autrefois un Tancrède, une Issé, une Europe galante, Les Indes, Castor, Les Talents lyriques, allaient à quatre, cinq, six mois, on ne voyait pas la fn des représentations d’une Armide’. See also Correspondance complète de la marquise du Deffand avec ses amis, ed. M. de Lescure (Paris: Plon, 1865), ii, 423, letter 525 (Paris, 3 August 1774). 6 For further on these opposing factions, see the chapter by Francesca Pagani in this volume (Chapter 1), pp. 11–24.


Françoise Escande and Benoît Dratwicki

Mouret, Campra, Destouches, Blamont, Montéclair and Collasse were no longer composing in the Lullian manner’.7 In fact, Destouches did not belong to the frst generation of Lully’s successors – that of Collasse or Desmarest. Together with Campra, he offered a form of modernity that Mouret, Collin de Blamont, Rebel and Francœur, among others, would take advantage of. From 1718 (respectively, in Sémiramis and Le Ballet des âges) he and Campra had begun to experiment with a new layout of the string section, with four rather than the traditional fve parts that soon became the norm at the Académie Royale de Musique.8 If Destouches appeared to perpetuate the Lullian model, it was in his fondness for a certain nobility of tone and an emphasis on the tragic text that contrasted with the prevailing taste in the 1730s for vocal brilliance and the grace of the dance. Rameau, from 1733, would act as a revelation, his personal musical vocabulary providing a form of refnement of this trend. Nonetheless, Destouches symbolised what Rameau’s supporters (the Ramoneurs) would call Lulliste. As for Collin de Blamont, educated in the court’s inner circle, he was steeped in the taste of the Grand Siècle. His style, shaped by Lalande, did not break radically with that of Lully, as is well illustrated in Les Fêtes grecques et romaines. While the infuence of more progressive composers such as Campra, Clérambault or Mouret is apparent in the liveliness and grace of his petits airs and ballet movements, it was Collin de Blamont’s pared-down style – the opposite of Rameau’s savant art – that led equally to his being regarded as a kind of Lulliste. Collin de Blamont’s style continued evolving for more than a quarter of a century in his operas and their various reworkings.9 Indeed, his divertissements for the court in the 1720s had already introduced a multitude of small innovations: a bassoon duet in Le Retour des dieux sur la terre,10 an expressive sommeil in Le Caprice d’Érato,11 a loure in Endymion combining futes, oboes, violins, bassoons and continuo in an original way.12 Moreover, the numerous ariettes that punctuate his work anticipate those of Rameau. His revisions to Les Fêtes grecques et romaines for its frst revival at the Opéra in June 1733, a few months before Rameau’s debut, were extensive: they included ten petits airs added to the 7 Friedrich Wilhelm Marpurg, Des critischen Musicus an der Spree, 1. Bd. (Berlin: A. Haude and J. C. Spener, 1749–1750), 15 April 1749, cited in Jean Gaudefroy-Demombynes, Les Jugements allemands sur la musique française au XVIIIème siècle (Paris: Maisonneuve, 1941), 90: ‘L’École de Lully a touché depuis longtemps à sa fn  ; les Mouret, les Campra, Destouches, Blamont, Montéclair et Collasse n’ont plus écrit dans la manière de Lully’. 8 See Françoise Escande, ‘L’Orchestre à cordes de l’Opéra après 1715: mutations de l’écriture et des pratiques’, L’Orchestre à cordes sous Louis XIV: instruments, répertoires, singularités, ed. Jean Duron and Florence Gétreau (Paris: Vrin, 2015), 325–43. 9 See Dratwicki, La Musique à la cour de Louis XV. François Colin de Blamont (1690–1760): une carrière au service du roi. 10 Le Retour des dieux sur la terre (Paris: Ballard, 1727), 88. 11 Le Caprice d’Érato (Paris: Ballard, 1729), 56. 12 Endymion (Paris: Ballard, 1732), 194.

Destouches and Collin de Blamont 29 divertissements to show off the agile voices of the recently recruited and future star singers Pierre Jéliote and Mlle Petitpas.13 These airs, mainly parodies of existing dances, emphasise the tender rather than the virtuosic register.14 Collin de Blamont also enhanced the orchestral colours of his score, using trumpets and timpani, solo fute and high-lying textures without bass. Generally he aimed to bring out the picturesque in each entrée rather than seeking to multiply the brilliant passages or enhancing the dramatic action. In bolstering the galant, ‘demi-caractère’ tone of his ballet, he steered it more towards pastoral than tragedy. He and his librettist Pierre-Charles Roy were still being hailed as heirs of the Grand Siècle after the premiere of Les Fêtes de Thétis in 1750: Quinault, Lully, revivent dans vos jeux, Et c’est en marchant sur leurs traces, Qu’on peut compter de plaire à nos derniers neveux.15 [Quinault and Lully live again in your creations, and it is by following in their footsteps that one can count on pleasing our latest descendants.] Destouches, meanwhile, can be characterised by the opposite approach: his style, which had also evolved markedly throughout his career, steadily pursued an ideal of emphasising the dramatic element. Indeed, his letters draw attention to the dramatic qualities of his actor-singers that he especially valued: ‘Tribou and Mlle Pélissier (despite not having a big voice) bring tears to the audience’s eyes […]. No one could have more talent than these two actors’.16 In 1730 he criticised the basse-taille Chassé’s voice for its lack of sensitivity: Chassé does not deliver the role of Le Carnival in a manner that satisfes connoisseurs. He has a strong voice which is really unsuited to delicate passages, accurate movement and intonation; despite such cardinal faults, it is well-liked by the public but really shocks those who retain some degree of good taste.17

13 Mlle Petitpas (1706–39) made her debut at the Académie in 1727, Pierre Jéliotte (1713– 97) in 1733. For biographical details, see Sylvie Bouissou, Pascal Denécheau and France Marchal-Ninosque (eds), Dictionnaire de l’Opéra de Paris sous l’Ancien Régime, 4 vols (Paris: Garnier, 2019–20). 14 See the Recueil des airs ajoutés aux festes grecques & romaines […] Livre Troisième ([Paris]: Mlle Noël, [1733]). 15 Mercure de France, February 1750, 199. 16 Letter from Destouches to Antoine Grimaldi, 29 December 1729, ed. André Tessier, La Revue musicale 8/4 (February 1927), 115: ‘Tribou, et Mlle Pélissier sans avoir une grande voix, font pleurer l’auditoire […]. On n’a pas plus de talent, qu’en ont ces deux acteurs’. 17 Destouches to Grimaldi, 11 August 1730, La Revue musicale 8/6 (April 1927), 150: Chassé ne rend pas le rôle du Carnaval d’une façon satisfaisante pour les connaisseurs. C’est une forte voix, très mal organisée pour les traits de fnesse, et la justesse du

30  Françoise Escande and Benoît Dratwicki

Figure 2.3  Destouches, Télémaque et Calypso, i, 2, (a) Paris, 1714, F-Pn, Vm2. 254, pp. 6–7; (b) Paris, 1730, F-Pn, Vm2. 255, pp. 7–8. Images: BnF

Destouches, whose airs were renowned for the delicacy of their vocal lines and instrumental combinations,18 deplored the effects of the lighter genres on the female voices. Predisposed to resist the decorated, Ramellian singing style, he had no hesitation in suppressing airs when these were not relevant to the action, as in the ariette ‘Régnez Amour’ for the Queen of Calydon in Callirhoé, which was omitted at the 1732 revival, thereby depriving this character of her only air in this tragedy.19 For Destouches, vocal brilliance was incompatible both with genuine expression and with the pathos he championed. This form of modernity, which he evidently derived from the aesthetic of his first librettist, Antoine Houdar de La Motte, obliged the singer to cultivate ‘the same variety as natural declamation’,20 whose only goal was to touch the heart. As the revision of Télémaque et Calypso for its 1730 revival reveals, he put much care into reworking the dramatic scenes, enhancing their rhythmic fluidity and the expressiveness of the recitatives (Figure 2.3). As for divertissements, Destouches still employed the choreographic forms in vogue but enhanced the rhythmic contrasts and timbral variety in his choruses

mouvement et de l’intonation, et qui, malgré des défauts si essentiels, plaît à ce qui s’appelle le peuple, et choque infiniment ceux qui ont conservé quelque goût. See also Destouches’s letter dated 12 January 1726, La Revue musicale 8/4, 111. 18 See, for example, the trios for flutes, violins and bass in ‘Chantez Oiseaux’, Issé (Paris: Ballard, 1708), 201; ‘Ô nuit témoin’, Callirhoé (Paris: Ballard, 1713), 1. 19 Callirhoé, i, 5 (Paris: Ballard, 1713), 49. 20 Destouches to Grimaldi, 3 September 1730, La Revue musicale 8/6 (April 1927), 151: ‘la même variété que la déclamation naturelle’.

Destouches and Collin de Blamont 31 21

and their ritournelles. He made daring cuts in pursuit of dramatic impact so that the characters fully exercise their free will, notwithstanding divine intervention. The approach of each composer to the revision process was thus not identical. Collin de Blamont added and enriched, paying special attention to the divertissements, while Destouches reshaped and refned, emphasising the dramatic elements. The one yielded to the prevailing trend, the other resisted it: the graceful and picturesque qualities of Collin de Blamont’s divertissements contrast with the pathos of Destouches’s dramatic scenes. * The year 1733 marked the frst confrontation between Destouches, Collin de Blamont and Rameau at the Académie Royale de Musique. The two surintendants were at the height of their fame, and their most emblematic works  – Issé and Les Fêtes grecques et romaines – were restaged in that year to great acclaim. Rehearsals of the latter were brought forward in response to the unexpected failure of Brassac’s L’Empire de l’Amour, premiered at the Académie on 14 April. In the interim, Issé was rapidly restaged, on 4 May (see Figure 2.4). Running for nearly four months from mid-June to the end of September,22 Les Fêtes grecques marked Collin de Blamont’s dazzling return to the Opéra.23 It is possible that

Lully Destouches Colin de Blamont Rameau

Isis 14 Dec 25 Jan Omphale 27 Jan 22 Feb

Acis et Galatée 19 Aug 19 Sep Issé 4 May 9 Jun

Issé 19 Nov 11 Apr Les Fêtes grecques 11 Jun 29 Sep

Les Fêtes grecques 9 Feb with new entrée 9 Mar ‘Les Fêtes de Diane’ Hippolyte et Aricie 1 Oct 26 Nov 17 Nov 4 Feb

Dec Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct 1732 1733 1734

Figure 2.4 Scheduling of operas by Lully, Destouches, Collin de Blamont and Rameau at the Académie Royale de Musique, December 1732–September 1734

21 Destouches revised Callirhoé after 1732 (F-Pn, Vm2. 242, 9–22) in the same way as he did Télémaque et Calypso in 1730 (Paris: Ballard, 1730, 39–51): the infuence of Rameau was therefore not yet in play. 22 The Mercure de France (September 1733, 2041) notes over 50 consecutive performances. 23 His most recent work, Endymion (1731), had been a total fop.


Françoise Escande and Benoît Dratwicki

Hippolyte et Aricie, frst performed on 1 October, suffered from this proximity. Although the two works are in different genres, the simplicity of Collin de Blamont’s opéra-ballet doubtless exaggerated the complexity of Rameau’s tragédie. At all events, the Hippolyte premiere soon divided the public into Ramistes and Lullistes.24 In the face of such critical discord, the decision was made to replace Hippolyte with a sure-fre box-offce hit. Thus on 19 November, the ever-popular Issé was restaged and ran for four months.25 The enthusiastic response to Les Fêtes grecques et romaines encouraged the Opéra to stage new performances from 9 February 1734. Collin de Blamont evidently decided not to revise his score: the uncertain fate of Rameau’s savant (learned) opera doubtless bolstered him in his choice of simplicity. He nevertheless added a new entrée, ‘La Fête de Diane’, which once again put Jéliote and Mlle Petitpas in the spotlight, in the substantial roles of Périandre and Mélisse. Colourful orchestration, agile vocal writing and a shapely continuo line demonstrated the composer’s new expressive aims in a score that was still concerned with the picturesque, as in the ariette for Une Grecque, ‘Amours, volez dans nos forêts’26 and the dances of the fnal divertissement coloured by the use of hunting horns. Whether the decision to use these instruments was infuenced by their appearance in Act IV of Hippolyte et Aricie or merely exploited the potential offered by an instrument associated with the goddess Diane, the cor de chasse was still a very modern instrument on the stage of the Académie.27 The premiere of Hippolyte et Aricie was thus framed by these well-attended performances of Issé and Les Fêtes grecques et romaines. Initially, then, the famous Lulliste-Ramistes dispute did not pitch Rameau against Lully, but against Destouches and Collin de Blamont. Indeed, Lully had not been heard at the Opéra since January 1733 (when the revival of Isis ended) and was not staged again until August 1734 (when Acis et Galatée was restaged) – a 20-month absence during which conservatives and progressives debated the future of opera, quarrelling over Rameau while praising Destouches and Collin de Blamont. This continued preference for the old guard was expressed the following year by an audience member present at Rameau’s Les Indes galantes in 1735: Nothing is so craggy or so rough; it’s like a path on which you are constantly jolted. […] What an excellent vibrating chair this opera is, with 24 See the chapter by Francesca Pagani in this volume (Chapter 1), pp. 11–24. 25 Issé initially ran until 9 February 1734, at which point it alternated with Les Fêtes grecques et romaines until 11 March. Louis-François Beffara (Dictionnaire de l’Académie Royale de Musique, ms., F-Po, Rés. 602, ‘Issé’) cites two performances for the capitation and clôture (5 and 10 April) and several others from 4 May. 26 ‘La Fête de Diane’ (Paris: Ballard, 1734), 81. 27 Lully’s frst use hunting horns, in 1664 (in Molière’s comédie héroïque La Princesse d’Élide performed at Versailles and at the Théâtre du Palais-Royal), predates the founding of the Académie Royale de Musique in 1672. Although hunting calls had been imitated in Les Fêtes de l’Été (1716), Les Plaisirs de la campagne (1719) and Les Éléments (1721), it was in Le Caprice d’Érato (1730) and then in Hippolyte et Aricie (1733) and the entrée ‘La Fête de Diane’ (1734) that the horn made its frst appearances at the Académie Royale.

Destouches and Collin de Blamont 33 its tunes that could easily shatter the nerves of a paralytic! How different are such violent shocks from the gentle stirrings induced in us by Campra, Destouches, Montéclair, Mouret, etc.28 Yet it took only a few years for the Ramiste ranks to swell and supplant those of the Lullistes in number and vivacity. This gradual acceptance of the new style in turn impacted on the reception of the operas of Destouches and Collin de Blamont, forcing them to decide whether or not to embrace Rameau’s particular genius and the vogue for modernity created by the fourishing of his style. By 1733 the last opera Destouches would write was already six years old. Thus his reaction to the Ramiste threat can be judged only through his subsequent revisions of existing works. Sometimes these involved simple gestures that he had not hitherto used, as in the tambourin in Amadis de Grèce (Figure 2.5):29 this is surprisingly Ramellian in its rhythmic and melodic construction – certainly more dynamic and modern than the somewhat Lullian tambourin in Télémaque et Calypso (1730),30 and its written-out ornaments announce a new era. Destouches’s choruses also evolved markedly during the revision process. Involving the insertion of contrasting ritournelles and the partial reshaping of the inner parts (as in the warriors’ chorus in the prologue to Callirhoé),31 they adopt a looser instrumental writing, with broad or disjunct melodic gestures, more energetic rhythms and a greater independence between the vocal parts. This search for dramatic impact culminated in 1743 with the masterly re-writing of the fury scene in Act ii of Callirhoé (Figure 2.6). In the new version of this sacrifcial ceremony involving the High Priests of Bacchus, the autonomous bassoon part, the restless strings and contrapuntal vocal lines result in a striking dramatic competition between Corésus and the chorus, following the models of Montéclair’s Jephté and Rameau’s Castor et Pollux.32 Having thus mastered his art in the course of a 47-year operatic career, Destouches pursued a path between total resistance to the light character of the ornate style and espousal of the new expressive arsenal exemplifed by Rameau. 28 Pierre-François Guyot Desfontaines, Observations sur les écrits modernes (1735–1743), 1735, ii, 238: Rien de si scabreux et de si raboteux, c’est un chemin où l’on cahote sans cesse. [...] L’excellent trémoussoir que cet opéra, dont les airs seraient très propres à ébranler les nerfs d’un paralytique  ! Que ces secousses violentes sont différentes du doux ébranlement que savent opérer Campra, Destouches, Montéclair, Mouret, etc. 29 This tambourin and other passages of Amadis de Grèce were probably written for the Concerts de la Reine, where the work was performed annually until 1742: the tambourin was inserted into the copy used at Académie performances (F-Po, A.49.c) by its chief scribe, Brice Lallemand, probably between 1740 and 1742 judging by the handwriting; our thanks to Loïs Rosow for confrming this. 30 Télémaque et Calypso (Paris: Ballard, 1730), 301. 31 Callirhoé (Paris: Ballard, 1713), vii, and F-Pn, Vm2. 242 (1743 version), 9. 32 F-Pn, Vm2. 242, 131–34. See Françoise Escande, Callirhoé (1712–1743) d’André-Cardinal Destouches: genèse et destinée d’une tragédie lyrique au XVIIIe siècle (doctoral thesis, Toulouse, 2010), i, 534–52.

34  Françoise Escande and Benoît Dratwicki

Figure 2.5  Destouches, Amadis de Grèce, iv, 3, Tambourin, copy by Brice Lallemand, F-Po, A.49.c, pp. 236b–236c. Image: BnF

The reworked versions of Destouches’s operas synthesise a middle ground capable of reconciling Lullistes and Ramistes, where noble pathos and brilliant divertissements sit side by side, offering a very personal form of modernity. For his part, Collin de Blamont also altered his style in the wake of Rameau’s debut and certainly under his influence, though without totally revolutionising it. His tendency was to expand forms and strengthen the rhetorical elements: heightened dramatic intensity, more complex harmony and more refined orchestration. The entrée ‘La Fête de Diane’ discussed above triggered this evolution, which became more perceptible in Les Amours du printemps (1737) and Les Caractères de l’amour (1738), where it is characterised by the variety of the solo vocal writing, the dramatic nature of certain sections, the action choruses, the newly composed preludes and entr’actes, and the richness of the accompaniments. Figure 2.7, from the entrée ‘Égine’ in Les Fêtes de Thétis (1750), illustrates these characteristics in their most developed state.

Destouches and Collin de Blamont  35

Figure 2.6  Destouches, Callirhoé (1743 revision), ii, 5, F-Pn, Vm2. 242, p. 131. Image: BnF

36  Françoise Escande and Benoît Dratwicki

Figure 2.7  Collin de Blamont, Les Fêtes de Thétis, ‘Égine’, scene 2, F-Pn, Rés. Vm2. 141, p. 75. Image: BnF

Destouches and Collin de Blamont  37

Figure 2.8  Collin de Blamont, Te Deum, ‘Judex crederis’ (1744 revision), F-Pc, D 1128, p. 48. Image: BnF

In terms of revisions to existing works, Collin de Blamont’s most ambitious undertakings are actually found outside the operatic sphere. For the elaborate reworking of his Te Deum in 1744,33 the composer turned toward the ‘moderns’ and renewed his harmonic and rhythmic vocabulary. He introduced shifting rhythms (syncopation, silences and cross-rhythms) and experimented with new instrumental combinations, creating a kind of sacred theatre combining verve, contrast and diversity. In the ‘Judex crederis’ section, the replacement of a ­continuo-accompanied six-part petit chœur by a sparkling duo of men’s voices with trumpets and timpani exemplifies this development (Figure 2.8). While the confrontation between Rameau’s works and those of the two surintendants tended to set the complexity (science) of the former against the simplicity of the latter, despite notable developments in their styles, it did not initially involve a devaluation of the older works on the part of the audience. The very balance of programming at the Académie Royale de Musique rested on an alternation between progressive and conservative works. In the 1730s, critics still emphasised the qualities of musical fluidity and dramatic competence in Destouches: reviewing Issé in 1733, the Mercure declared that ‘there is nothing so natural as its melodies, nothing livelier than its tone-paintings, nothing, above all, so pleasing as its recitative’. Indeed, until the coup de grâce administered 33 Te Deum laudamus, à Gr. Chœur, par Mr de Blamont ([1740–60]), F-Pc, D 1128.


Françoise Escande and Benoît Dratwicki

by Grimm’s Lettre sur Omphale in 1752,34 the composer’s scores continued to be respected. Similarly, many continued to appreciate the simplicity of Collin de Blamont’s style as the expression of a ‘pure taste’.35 Nonetheless, by 1745, the duc de Luynes observed that ‘lovers of Italian music and of Rameau’s are still biased against M. de Blamont’s music which, indeed, is not as complex as Rameau’s’.36 Still, if Collin de Blamont’s detractors found his music ‘trop douce’,37 his admirers saw in this very gentleness a sign ‘of a lively and delicate sentiment’.38 This view is encapsulated by d’Aquin de Château-Lyon: ‘M. de Blamont […] has the happy talent of pleasing with a galant style of music that leaves nothing to be desired in this genre’.39 But d’Aquin relied on this composer, above all, to ensure the survival of the ‘noble’ French style characterised by restraint and detachment. Was this professional rivalry refected in the personal interactions between the three composers? It is diffcult to know what Destouches thought about Rameau, since no record of his opinion of the younger man survives. Yet the programming of the Concerts de la Reine during his semestre provides possible clues, since Rameau was actually present at some of these events. Destouches even offered him the chance to conduct a number of concerts – a rare enough occurrence to have been chronicled. Hippolyte et Aricie was performed under his baton in February 1734, Les Indes galantes in February 1736 and February 1737, Castor et Pollux in June 1738, again under Rameau, and Les Fêtes d’Hébé, Dardanus and Les Indes galantes in the spring of 1740. By contrast, it was only later that Collin de Blamont invited Rameau to conduct his works at the Concerts de la Reine: Les Fêtes de l’Hymen et de l’Amour and Les Fêtes d’Hébé in July 1753. We nevertheless have his opinion on Rameau’s art, in which admiration is mixed with reticence: his frst biography recalls, with what true joy [he] saw M. Rameau’s reputation rise, take shape and grow! He was too discerning or too sincere not to notice certain liberties in the works of this great composer, or to feign not to notice them: but even

34 Lettre de M. Grimm sur Omphale ([Paris: Pierre-Gilles Le Mercier], 1752). On the devastating impact of Grimm’s letter, see Paul-Marie Masson, ‘La Lettre sur Omphale’, Revue de musicologie 24 (1945), 1–19. 35 François Collin de Blamont, Essai sur les goûts ancien & moderne (Paris:, 1754), 9. 36 Mémoires du duc de Luynes sur la cour de Louis XV (1735–1758), ed. L. Dussieux and E. Soulié (Paris: Firmin-Didot, 1860–65), vii, 150 (22 December [1745]): ‘les amateurs de musique italienne et de celle de Rameau sont toujours prévenus contre celle de M. de Blamont qui, en effet, n’est pas aussi travaillée que celle de Rameau’. 37 René-Louis de Voyer de Paulmy, marquis d’Argenson, Notices sur les Œuvres de théâtre, ed. Henri Lagrave (Geneva: Droz, 1966), ii, 474. 38 Collin de Blamont, Essai sur les goûts ancien & moderne, 9: ‘d’un sentiment vif et délicat’. 39 Pierre-Louis d’Aquin de Château-Lyon, Siècle littéraire de Louis XV (Amsterdam: Duchesne, 1754), 48: ‘M. de Blamont […] a l’heureux talent de plaire par une musique galante qui ne laisse rien à désirer dans ce genre’.

Destouches and Collin de Blamont  39 when he disapproved of them, he was careful to make clear by what infinite beauty they were redeemed. Each triumph of M. Rameau was a celebration in M. de Blamont’s heart.40 Indeed, in his Essai sur les goûts ancien et moderne de la musique française (1754), Collin de Blamont praises Hippolyte et Aricie, Pigmalion and Castor et Pollux. His references to these works nevertheless appear indiscriminately among those to operas by Destouches, Campra, Collin de Blamont, Mouret and others in the ‘operatic Parnassus’. J’estime donc également Issé qui de Dodonne excite le murmure, Des Éléments la riche contexture, Les Fêtes de Venise et leur noble enjouement, Des Jeux grecs et romains le ton vif et galant, Des Sens et d’Almanzor l’élégante facture, Du fidèle Titon la tragique aventure, L’excès de sa douleur; son heureux dénouement, Pigmalion l’incomparable amant, Pour qui l’Amour anima la Sculpture, Le Sylphe, et ce qui peut, par les grâces du chant, Et le juste rapport de l’accompagnement, Au cœur, comme à l’esprit, servir de nourriture. […] Tels sont Armide, Atys, Tancrède, Iphigénie, Thétis, Callirhoé, Scanderberg, Aricie, Jephté, Castor, et les Titans défaits ; Tant d’ouvrages brillants qu’inspira Polymnie.41 [ I thus equally admire Issé, with its evocation of the rustling of [the oak tree at] Dodona; the rich textures of Les Éléments; Les Fêtes de Venise [i.e., Les Fêtes vénitiennes] and their noble mirth; the lively and galant tone of Les Jeux grecs et romains [Les Fêtes greques et romaines]; the elegant workmanship of Les Sens and Almanzor, the tragic affair of the faithful Titon [et l’Aurore], the excess of its pain, its happy dénouement; Pigmalion the incomparable lover,

40 Anon., Éloge historique de feu M. de Blamont ([Paris]:, [1760]): avec quelle joie sincère [il] vit la réputation de M. Rameau naître, se former et s’accroître ! Il était trop délicat et trop vrai pour ne pas remarquer certaines hardiesses dans les compositions de ce grand homme, ou pour feindre de ne les pas apercevoir: mais lors même qu’il en improuvait quelques-unes, il avait grand soin de faire observer aussi par quelle infinité de beautés, elles se trouvaient rachetées. Chaque triomphe de M. Rameau était une fête pour le cœur de M. de Blamont. 41 Collin de Blamont, Essai sur les goûts ancien & moderne de la musique française.

40  Françoise Escande and Benoît Dratwicki for whom Cupid brought the statue to life; the Sylphe, and what, from the graces of singing and good rapport with the accompaniment, can nourish both the heart and the spirit. […] Such are Armide, Atys, Tancrède, Iphigénie, Thétis, Callirhoé, Scanderberg, [Hippolyte et] Aricie, Jephté, Castor [et Pollux] and the defeated Titans; so many brilliant works inspired by Polymnia.] He also devotes a few lines in praise of Rameau’s advances in the theoretical and harmonic sphere.42 As noted above, Rameau’s operatic debut and subsequent success did not immediately have a deleterious effect on the programming of the two surintendants’ works: between 1730 and 1750 their principal operas were still performed and, in many cases, received with great acclaim. Destouches’s continued popu­ larity may be judged from the fact that, in addition to Issé and Le Carnaval et la Folie, works like Omphale, Callirhoé and Les Éléments sometimes remained on the stage for more than two months at a time.43 Similarly, Collin de Bla­ mont would never enjoy as much exposure at the Académie as he did during Rameau’s time. Les Fêtes grecques et romaines enjoyed continued success, notably at the 1734 and 1741 revivals, while Les Caractères de l’amour, first staged in 1738, was revived to great acclaim in 1749. Président de Brosses, attending one of these performances, reported that ‘this little ballet was quite successful and inspired gaiety in the audience who, throughout the piece, began to sing and beat time’.44 That such works by Destouches and Collin de Blamont remained popular until the mid-eighteenth century was partly because these composers took care to rethink their approach to opera. This between Lully and Rameau, a third way was possible and even welcome – one that Destouches and Collin de Blamont took, albeit with different orientations. Until 1750 then, Rameau’s success did not lead to any fierce antipathy among audiences towards the refinement and nobility of the style incarnated by Destouches and Collin de Blamont. Even so, Rameau is perhaps responsible for the former’s silence between 1744 and 1748, a silence scarcely relieved by an ephemeral revival of Amadis de Grèce in 1745.45 But by the end of this period, the scales had tilted in Rameau’s favour. As the Mercure noted in 1749 (the year of Destouches’s death),

42 Ibid. 43 In 1741, Issé ran from 11 November to 28 January. The revival of Le Carnaval et la Folie in 1748 lasted from 11 June until 8 September. Omphale, at its oft-cited revival of 1752, notched up between 30 and 37 performances, while a further revival of Le Carnaval et la Folie re­ mained on stage throughout the summer of 1755 (Beffara, Dictionnaire de l’Académie Royale de Musique). 44 Yvonne Bézard, Lettres du Président de Brosses à Ch. C. Loppin de Gémeaux (Paris: Firmin-­ Didot, 1929), 238: ‘ce petit ballet a assez bien réussi et inspiré de la gaieté au public qui, tout le long de la pièce, s’est mis à chanter et à battre la mesure’ (25 July 1749). 45 The work was restaged on a tight budget and ran for less than a month (Mercure de France, March 1745, 154).

Destouches and Collin de Blamont  41 Since last spring, [Les Fêtes d’Hébé, ou] Les Talents lyriques, Zaïs, Les Fêtes de l’Amour et de l’Hymen, Pigmalion, Platée and Naïs have been performed. Until now, none of our composers has witnessed six of their works staged in suc­ cession during the course of a single year.46 The revival of Collin de Blamont’s Les Caractères de l’amour insisted on by the comte d’Argenson to stem the deluge of Rameau productions was, however, welcomed by audiences.47 As the count’s brother observed, ‘Since Rameau, our detestable century wants only that which strips the soul, and flees from any­ thing sweet and melodious; but the general public’s view prevails over that of these so-called connoisseurs’.48 In fact, the Académie Royale’s programming schedule in the mid-1750s shows that Collin de Blamont and Destouches re­ mained highly respected composers, alongside the moderns Dauvergne and Mondonville, and the undisputed Rameau (Table 2.1). It was not until the 1760s, in the years surrounding Rameau’s death, that the operas of Destouches and Collin de Blamont began to disappear from the schedules. This situation is explained in three ways: aesthetically by the radical developments in musical and dramatic style effected by the younger generation of Monsigny, Grétry, Gossec and Philidor, forerunners of the Gluckist revolu­ tion; socially by audience renewal and the consequent waning of support for the Lullistes; and, above all, institutionally by the retirement of Rebel and Francoeur from the directorship of the Académie in 1767.49 Thus the real threat which led to the decline of the earlier operatic repertoire came not so much from Rameau as from this younger generation of composers, which also led inexorably to the eventual ousting of Rameau himself. This swift fall from grace is illustrated by the reception of Issé and Les Fêtes grecques et romaines. Reviewing the 1757 revival of Issé, one critic could still write that Destouches’s music, ‘so well-known for its grace and sweetness, has always been much applauded at the frequent revivals of this pastorale’.50 But by 1768,

46 ‘Depuis le printemps de l’année dernière, on a joué Les Talents lyriques, Zaïs, Les Fêtes de l’Amour et de l’Hymen, Pigmalion, Platée et Naïs. Jusqu’à présent, il n’était arrivé à aucun autre de nos musiciens, de voir six de leurs ouvrages se succéder ainsi au théâtre dans le cours d’une année’. Mercure de France, May 1749, 179. 47 On Charles Collé’s account of the comte d’Argenson’s decision to restrict the number of Rameau operas staged at the Opéra, see Marie Demeilliez’s chapter below, p. 50. 48 René Louis de Voyer de Paulmy, Notices, ii, 474: ‘Depuis Rameau, notre détestable siècle ne veut que de ce qui lui écorche l’âme, et on fuit ce qui est doux et chantant ; mais le fond du public l’emporte sur ces prétendus connaisseurs’. 49 For ten years (1757–67) Rebel and Francœur had tried to reinstate the scores of Lully, Cam­ pra, Destouches, Collin de Blamont and other earlier composers; their successors did not follow suit. 50 Journal encyclopédique, par une société de gens de lettres (Liège: Kints, 1757), i, first part, 137 (1 January 1757): ‘si connue par sa légèreté et par sa douceur, a toujours été fort applaudie aux fréquentes reprises de cette pastorale’.

42  Françoise Escande and Benoît Dratwicki Table 2.1  Académie Royale de Musique, 1749–63: operas by Destouches, Collin de Blamont, Rameau, Mondonville and Dauvergne [c] – creation  [cARM] – first production at the Académie Royale de Musique Year

Destouches, Collin de Blamont Rameau

Mondonville, Dauvergne


Collin de Blamont, Les Caractères de l’amour

Mondonville, Le Carnaval du Parnasse [c]

1750 1751


Destouches, Omphale


Collin de Blamont, Les Fêtes grecques et romaines Destouches, Les Éléments Collin de Blamont, Les Fêtes grecques et romaines


1755 1756 1757

Destouches, Le Carnaval et la Folie Destouches, Le Carnaval et la Folie; Issé Destouches, Issé


1759 1760 1761 1762 1763

Destouches, Le Carnaval et la Folie Destouches, Le Carnaval et la Folie Collin de Blamont, Les Fêtes grecques et romaines Destouches, Issé

Platée [cARM] Naïs [c] Zoroastre [c] Platée Pigmalion Les Indes galantes La Guirlande [c] Acante et Céphise [c] Les Fêtes de Polymnie Castor et Pollux Platée Les Fêtes de l’Hymen et de l’Amour

Dauvergne, Les Amours de Tempé [c] Mondonville, Titon et l’Aurore [c] Mondonville, Daphnis et Alcimadure [c]

Zoroastre; Les Fêtes d’Hébé Hippolyte et Aricie Les Surprises de l’Amour [cARM] ‘Les Sibarites’ [cARM] Les Surprises de l’Amour Dauvergne, Les Fêtes d’Euterpe [c]; Enée et Lavinie [c] Mondonville, Les Fêtes de Paphos [c] Les Paladins [c]; Dauvergne, Canente [c] Dardanus Zaïs; Les Indes galantes Dauvergne, Hercule mourant [c] Dauvergne, Polyxène [c] Mondonville, Titon et l’Aurore

Destouches and Collin de Blamont 43 when the public had been exposed to more modern kinds of music,51 Destouches’s score had lost its appeal: according to the Mémoires secrets, ‘Issé is no longer being considered for performance. The [Opéra] directors are worried that the simplicity of the music will make no effect’.52 Issé was nonetheless chosen for the marriage celebrations of the comte d’Artois at Versailles in 1773, as was Callirhoé for the Académie that year, the former work revised by Berton, the latter by Dauvergne. Despite these revisions, neither revival was very successful.53 For the Mercure, reviewing this production of Callirhoé, ‘the length of such dreary recitative was diffcult to bear, and the airs were not enjoyable to listen to, being too slow, too uniform and perhaps too familiar’.54 Another reviewer was even more dismissive, writing Destouches off as ‘a composer who is now rejected and regarded as gothic by our moderns’.55 Audience fgures for Dauvergne and Berton’s revised version of Les Fêtes grecques et romaines in 1770 were hardly better. According to the chronicler of the Journal de musique, the performances were ‘not hugely successful’.56 The reviewer would have preferred not to hear the music of the prologue: ‘the dramatic scenes are cold and lifeless, and they suffer from a poor melodic style, sung in a manner that most people no longer enjoy’.57 Another critic summed up the situation: Ears that are not yet fully Italianised still hear the vocal solos with pleasure […]. However, it must be agreed that the national taste for the ancienne musique has palpably diminished to virtually nothing.58

51 For instance, Aline reine de Golconde by Monsigny, Sylvie by Trial and Berton and Ernelinde, princesse de Norvège by Philidor were frst performed between 1765 and 1767. 52 Mémoires secrets, iii, 311 (13 January 1768): ‘Il n’est plus question d’Issé, qu’on devait jouer. Les directeurs ont eu peur que la simplicité de la musique ne fît aucun effet’. 53 Ibid., vii, 100 (26 December 1773): ‘Issé, opéra exécuté à Versailles le 18 décembre, n’avait pas été joué depuis environ 30 ans, ce qui, à force de vétusté, l’a rendu neuf pour beaucoup de monde’. 54 Mercure de France, December 1773, 154. See also Mémoires secrets, vii, 81 (10 November 1773): ‘Cette tragédie en 5 actes, et qui n’est pas mauvaise, comme poème, a été si mal accueillie du public, qu’il a eu peine à en supporter toute la représentation’. 55 Mémoires secrets, xxiv, 322 (17 July 1773): ‘un compositeur proscrit aujourd’hui et regardé comme gothique par nos modernes’. 56 Journal de musique, September 1770, 21: ‘[Elles sont jouées] avec assez peu de succès’. 57 Ibid.: ‘les scènes sont froides, inanimées, tourmentées d’un mauvais genre de chant, chantées d’une manière qui ne plaît plus au grand nombre’. 58 Affches, annonces, et avis divers, [148], n.37 (12 September 1770): ‘Les oreilles qui ne sont pas tout à fait italianisées, entendent encore avec plaisir le récit chanté […]. Cependant, il faut en convenir : on s’aperçoit sensiblement que le goût national pour l’ancienne musique ne tient presque plus à rien’.

44 Françoise Escande and Benoît Dratwicki A similar process may be observed in the case of Collin de Blamont. His star still shone quite brightly in the early 1750s, when d’Aquin de Château-Lyon found his music ‘full of spirit’ if not of genius.59 The following year, in the new edition of his Parnasse français, Titon du Tillet pays further homage to the composer, associating him, oddly, with Rameau: I hope these two musicians [Rameau and Collin de Blamont], who are still alive today, will be slow to take their places in our Parnassus, intended posthumously for illustrious individuals in poetry and music.60 On the death of Collin de Blamont in 1760, Titon du Tillet linked the two surintendants in the fnal edition of his Parnasse français, yet placing them on only the seventh rank of great artists alongside their teachers Lalande and Campra, surrounded by such fgures as Marais and Élisabeth Jacquet de La Guerre.61 It was only posthumously – after the 1760s – that the superiority of Rameau’s genius was systematically contrasted with the abilities of the two surintendants, who were now granted only a meagre place in the pantheon of eighteenthcentury composers. This had not been the case as late as the 1750s, when the three men still occasionally appeared on a reasonably equal footing alongside Lully, Campra, Mondonville and a few others in the genealogy of French opera: Ainsi, tels que les Grecs dans des luttes publiques, Disputaient à l’envi les Lauriers olympiques, Nous voyons du Laurier des lyriques travaux, Disputer les Lully, les Campra, les Rameau, Mondonville, Mouret, Royer, Blamont, Destouches. On dirait, qu’Érato s’exprime par leur bouche.62 [Thus, just as the Greeks fought for the Olympic laurels in public wrestling matches, we see Lully, Campra, Rameau, Mondonville, Mouret, Royer, Blamont, Destouches competing for the Opera prize. Through their voices, one might say, Erato herself fnds expression.]

59 d’Aquin de Château-Lyon, Siècle littéraire de Louis XV, 48. 60 Évrard Titon du Tillet, Second supplément du Parnasse françois, ou suite de l’ordre chronologique des poëtes et des musiciens que la mort a enlevés depuis le commencement de l’année 1743 jusqu’en cette année 1755 ([Paris:, 1755]), 25 (‘Simon-Joseph de Pellegrin’): ‘Je souhaite que ces deux musiciens [Rameau et Collin de Blamont], aujourd’hui vivants, tardent encore du temps [sic] à prendre leurs places sur notre Parnasse, destiné, après la mort, aux personnes illustres dans la Poésie et dans la Musique’. 61 Évrard Titon du Tillet, Description du Parnasse français exécuté en bronze (Paris:, 1760), 23. 62 M. D. B. [Dandré-Bardon], L’Impartialité sur la musique (1754), in Denise Launay, La Querelle des Bouffons (Geneva: Minkoff, 1973), 1920.

Destouches and Collin de Blamont 45 A decade later, however, Voltaire depicts Destouches as a shadow of the past, describing him as ‘a very pleasant musician in the Grand Siècle of Louis xiv, before music was perfected by Rameau and ruined by those who prefer diffculty to the natural and the graceful’.63 For the marquis de Pompignan, writing in 1784, ‘This composer’s music, once so gracious and so touching, has now fallen into oblivion, not to say contempt, like the old masterpieces by Lully and Campra’.64 Towards the end of the century, the historical decline of the two surintendants is fnally encapsulated in Meude-Monpas’s cruel ellipsis that wipes out 46 years of operatic history: ‘After Lully – came Rameau’.65 The Ramiste threat had fnally got the better of Destouches and Collin de Blamont. Translation: Anna Davies and Jonathan Williams

63 Voltaire, André Destouches à Siam (Voltaire, Mélanges, 913): ‘André Destouches était un musicien très agréable dans le beau siècle de Louis xiv, avant que la musique eût été perfectionnée par Rameau, et gâtée par ceux qui préfèrent la diffculté surmontée au naturel et aux grâces’. 64 Œuvres de M. le marquis de Pompignan (Paris: Nyon, 1784), iii, 311: ‘La musique de ce compositeur, autrefois si gracieuse et si touchante, est tombée présentement dans l’oubli, pour ne pas dire dans le mépris, comme les anciens chefs-d’œuvre de Lully et de Campra’. 65 Jean-Olivier de Meude-Monpas, Dictionnaire de musique (Paris: Knapen et fls, 1787), 120, ‘Opéra’: ‘Depuis Lully, est venu Rameau’.


Rameau versus Mondonville The construction of a post-Lullian musical identity in France Thierry Favier

The mechanisms by which a French musical identity was constructed in the age of Louis xiv have been extensively analysed. In parallel with stylistic explorations of the genres most representative of this identity, notably the motet à grand chœur and tragédie en musique, such analysis has revealed the control exercised by royal power over musical institutions, individual careers and critical debate.1 From the 1660s, encomiastic writings ascribed the blooming of the arts to the king’s art of government and established the close ties between his glory and the national character of artistic production. Debate about the supremacy of French art, whose excellence and cohesion were ensured by the monarch’s actions, culminated in the eulogising of the century of Louis xiv, thereby amalgamating a cyclical view of history and the ultimate personifcation of all areas of culture. In the feld of music, the fgure of Lully – ‘père de la vraie musique en France’2 – illustrates this process of personifcation, deriving as much from his institutional position and closeness to the king as from the rhetoric that sought to justify it. The debate on the corruption of taste, which developed as a consequence of the dispute between the Ancients and Moderns during the frst decades of the eighteenth century, frequently made reference to the fgure of Lully. Subsequent French composers, in distancing themselves from this ideal model and in yielding to both fashion and external infuences, were accused of causing the decline of French music.3 Such fundamentally conservative criticism nevertheless refected the new status of music and musicians, drawn into the ferce debate over cultural identity and its relationship to the nation and its history. Even if this gradually took a back seat in the wake of the frst public successes of Rameau’s operas, Rameau himself never occupied a position in musical discourse comparable to that of Lully, because he alone could not personify the music of his time. From the early 1750s to the end of the 1770s, 1 Jean Duron (ed.), La Naissance du style français (1650–1673) (Wavre: Mardaga, 2008). 2 Voltaire, Le Siècle de Louis XIV, quoted in René Pomeau (ed.), Œuvres historiques (Paris: Gallimard, 1958), 1215. 3 Thierry Favier, ‘“Sous l’apparence du plaisir…”: morale et religion dans le discours sur le Grand Motet au xviiie siècle’, Études sur le XVIIIe siècle 34 (2006), 123–41.

DOI: 10.4324/9781315554990-5

Rameau versus Mondonville


the fgure of Rameau was often placed alongside that of Jean-Joseph Cassanéa de Mondonville (1711–72), whose career experienced a lightning rise after his frst performances at the Concert Spirituel (1734). Rameau and Mondonville constituted the customary relationship between two composers who had developed more or less parallel careers, worked for the same institutions and moved in the same circles. It is not the aim of this essay to question the superiority of Rameau’s work over Mondonville’s or to consider the two men’s personal contacts. Rather, in concentrating on their interactions – not only those that developed an element of debate and evoked rivalry or jealousy between them – it draws attention to a series of issues whose focus is much wider than the relationship of the two composers. From an analysis of the concrete interactions between their careers and the scattered accounts that record them, this study seeks to reveal to what extent this discourse, which I call Mondonville versus Rameau, contributed to the construction of a post-Lullian French musical identity and infuenced the connection between their contemporaries and history.

Encounters and tensions Thanks to detailed biographical work over many decades, the career of Jean-Philippe Rameau is largely known to us, particularly after his defnitive move to Paris in 1722. While Machard’s 1980 biography of Mondonville is the only one available,4 numerous more recent writings have provided new elements and clarifcations.5 The circumstances that generated powerful rivalry between the two composers are well understood and involve the most important musical institutions at court (the Concert de la Reine, the Théâtre des Petits Cabinets and the court theatres at Fontainebleau and Bellevue) and in Paris (the Académie Royale de Musique and Concert Spirituel). Both men also benefted from the patronage of Alexandre Le Riche de La Pouplinière – Rameau from about 1736, Mondonville probably after Rameau’s departure from his patron’s circle, around 1753. At a time of signifcant change in the social functions of music, the 28-year age difference between the two composers does not alone account for the differences between their careers. Mondonville frst gained a reputation as a violinist

4 Roberte Machard, Jean-Joseph Cassanéa de Mondonville: virtuose, compositeur et chef d’orchestre (Béziers: Société de musicologie du Languedoc, 1980). 5 See particularly Paul F. Rice, ‘Power, Politics and the Production of Opera: Mme de Pompadour, Mondonville and Rameau’, in Transactions of the Ninth International Congress on the Enlightenment (Oxford: Voltaire Foundation, 1996), 907–10; Thierry Favier, Le Motet à grand chœur (1660–1792). Gloria in Gallia Deo (Paris: Fayard, 2009); David Charlton, Opera in the Age of Rousseau: Music, Confrontation, Realism (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2012) and Benoît Dratwicki, La Musique à la cour de Louis XV. François Colin de Blamont (1690–1760). Une carrière au service du roi (Rennes: Presses Universitaires de Rennes, Centre de Recherche du Château de Versailles, 2015).

48  Thierry Favier in several provincial towns. The start of his career combines the t­ raditional support of aristocratic patronage6 and that of the new academies of music, ­probably first at Nantes and then at Lille, where he became director of the town’s ­concert society and had his first motets performed. The composer’s ­Parisian career began in 1734 in a similar institutional context, at the Concert Spirituel, initially as a violinist then as a composer of motets from 1738. This double activity was quickly recognised at court. On 1 April 1739 Mondonville was appointed violon de la chambre et de la chapelle. On 2 April 1740, two of his motets were given at the Concert de la Reine, and at the end of June he replaced Campra at the Chapelle Royale for the April quarter. From 1742 his activity expanded into dramatic music with Isbé, performed on 10 April 1742 at the Académie Royale de Musique and repeated at the Concert de la Reine the following June. Until 1758, when he resigned his position as sous-maître of the Chapelle Royale, Mondonville’s musical activity at court became exceptionally diverse and enabled him to engage with most areas of royal music-making. At the death of Charles-Hubert Gervais in 1744, he took on the January quarter at the Chapelle Royale while sharing the April quarter with Henri Madin and Esprit Antoine Blanchard. He led the orchestra at Madame de Pompadour’s Théâtre des Petits Cabinets7 and played in the orchestra of the Concerts de la Reine, often as soloist.8 More than any other composer of his time, Mondonville contributed to a breaking down of the divisions between court musical institutions. His ­motets were performed at the Chapelle, in Madame de Pompadour’s Grand ­Cabinet9 and at the Concert de la Reine, along with his concertos and dramatic ­music.10 Similarly, his operas became established in most of the private spaces of the court: Érigone had its first performance at the Théâtre des Petits Cabinets (1747), ‘Vénus et Adonis’ at Bellevue (1752), Daphnis et Alcimadure at Fontainebleau (1754) and Les Projets de l’Amour at Versailles (1771). His activity thus combined ­regular service both as player and composer, which drew him closely into the circles of the Queen and Madame de Pompadour, and those of the King and the high-ranking officials at the Chapelle Royale. Yet a large part of his reputation was established outside court, thanks to his multiple activities at the Concert Spirituel – as a soloist, director (from 1755 to 1762) and composer – and at the Académie Royale de Musique. Two points deserve emphasis. On the one hand, Mondonville’s motets à grand chœur, which formed the Concert Spirituel’s core motet repertoire from the early 6 See the dedication in his Sonates, op. 2 (c. 1733) to the intendant de la généralité de Rouen and in his Pièces de clavecin en sonates, op. 3, to the duc de Boufflers, governor of Flanders. 7 Adolphe Jullien, Histoire du théâtre de Madame de Pompadour, dit Théâtre des petits cabinets (Paris: Baur, 1874), 75. 8 Mercure de France (January 1749), 203. 9 Mémoires du duc de Luynes sur la cour de Louis xv, ed. Louis Dussieux and Eudore Soulié (Paris: Firmin Didot, 1862), ix, 8–9. 10 David Hennebelle, Les Concerts de la Reine (1725–1768) (Lyon: Symétrie, 2015).

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1740s until 1762, gained exceptional circulation, in contrast to the standard practices in religious institutions (particularly the Chapelle Royale), which enjoyed almost exclusive use of the works of its sous-maîtres.11 On the other hand, the breadth of Mondonville’s career and his success at public concerts and, to a lesser extent, at the Académie Royale de Musique, altered his relationship with the royal institutions and especially his most important post as sous-maître at the Chapelle Royale. While his cupidity was mentioned by certain contemporaries,12 Mondonville was the frst composer to give up this prestigious and lucrative position, following the refusal of Guérapin de Vauréal, maître de la Chapelle Royale, to authorise publication of his motets. Meanwhile, by the end of the 1730s, Rameau already held a special position at the heart of French musical life. Within a few years of the premiere of Hippolyte et Aricie in 1733, his operas had established him as the principal moderniser of the Lullian tragédie en musique and the leading dramatic composer of his time, notwithstanding the lukewarm initial reception of Castor et Pollux and the ferce criticism of the dialogue and action in Les Indes galantes, Les Fêtes d’Hébé and Dardanus. Rameau’s conquest of the Académie Royale de Musique was nevertheless the result of a restructuring of his professional career. Before 1733, he was known in Paris essentially as a keyboard player and theorist, despite some experience in the genres of the opéra comique at the Fair Theatres and the cantata. Whereas Mondonville diversifed his activities in both the areas of management and composing, and did not limit himself to opera until after 1762, Rameau dedicated himself almost exclusively to dramatic music. Only the feld of theory preoccupied him equally for the rest of his life. The two composers thus pursued radically different careers. Mondonville was well known in various court circles and used networks of institutional or territorial solidarity to perfection.13 By contrast, the protection enjoyed by Rameau was based essentially on the esteem in which his music was held, and his social relationships seem to have preoccupied him much less than his working relationships with his librettists or the large circle of correspondents with whom he debated musical theory. These differences notwithstanding, the two men occasionally found themselves in competitive situations from the early 1740s, at which point Mondonville 11 Apart from the Chapelle Royale and Concert Spirituel, Mondonville’s motets were performed regularly at the Chapelle du Louvre for the mass celebrated by the Académie Française on the feast of St Louis, at the Collège Louis-le-Grand, at the Jesuit church of Saint-Louis and at certain provincial concerts. See Favier, Le Motet à grand chœur, 447–8. 12 ‘Souvenirs d’un octogénaire’, [Journal de Joseph-Hyacinthe Ferrand (1709–1791], Revue et gazette musicale de Paris 36 (7 September 1845), 92 and Louis Petit de Bachaumont, Mémoires secrets pour servir à l’histoire des lettres en France (London: Adamsohn, 1777), vi, 245. 13 See ‘Souvenirs d’un octogénaire’, 92–3; Georges Cucuel, La Pouplinière et la musique de chambre au XVIIIe siècle (Paris: Fischbacher, 1913), 230–55 and Adriaan Hendrik Van Der Weele, Paul-Louis de Mondran 1734–1795. Un Chanoine homme d’esprit du dix-huitième siècle (Rotterdam: Brusse, 1942), 27.


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had yet to make his operatic debut.14 The years 1749–51 seem to constitute a moment of particular tension: six operas by Rameau had succeeded each other at the Académie Royale de Musique between the spring of 1748 to May 1749, evidence of the composer’s dominance of this institution and indeed of French dramatic music.15 However, a new administrative situation at the Opéra forced changes to the relationships at the heart of the institution.16 According to Collé, the comte d’Argenson sought to limit the number of productions of Rameau’s operas, in order to stimulate rivalry among composers. The inconsistency was emphasised by d’Argenson, dedicatee of Rameau’s Démonstration du principe de l’harmonie (1750), who was petitioned by the composer in 1752. But his attitude probably stems less from an ‘affair’ than from the traditional management of an institution of the Ancien Régime, founded on emulation and the distribution of favours.17 The profound change in Mondonville’s career began on 23 September 1749 when his Le Carnaval du Parnasse was chosen in place of Rameau’s Zoroastre to inaugurate the new management’s frst season.18 Between then and 4 December Le Carnaval was given 35 times, whereas Zoroastre, eventually premiered on 5 December, enjoyed only 25 performances. So greatly was Rameau affected by these events that he decided temporarily to withdraw his opera. The success of Le Carnaval du Parnasse at the Opéra immediately established Mondonville as an opera composer, more than the court performances of Isbé or Érigone had ever done. Moreover, the frst two of these works were revived in 1749 and reprogrammed regularly thereafter.19 At the end of that year, Mondonville was approached to set La Bruère’s libretto of Linus, before this was

14 We know, for example, that after the failure of Samson, Voltaire was asked by Thieriot and La Pouplinière to write a new libretto, Pandore. He gave François Berger, the prince de Carignan’s secretary and a future director of the Opéra, the task of choosing between Mondonville and Rameau, and it was the latter who was eventually approached. Sylvie Bouissou, Jean-Philippe Rameau (Paris: Fayard, 2014), 359–60. 15 The exceptional position of Rameau in the history of the institution is underlined by the Mercure de France (May 1749), 190. See the introduction to Rameau, Zoroastre: version 1749, ed. Graham Sadler, Opera Omnia Rameau, OOR IV.19 (Paris: Billaudot, 1999), xvii and xlii. 16 According to Collé, the directors, Saint-Germain and Guénot de Tréfontaine, were ‘entièrement dévoués à Rameau qui en fait ce qu’il veut’. Charles Collé, Journal et mémoires, ed. Honoré Bonhomme (2nd edn, Paris: Firmin Didot, 1868), i, 5. 17 The same preoccupation determined the recruitment to the Chapelle Royale in 1723. See Favier, Le Motet à grand chœur, 267–8. Philippe Salvadori shows that the intervention of the king in a matter of taste often consists in effecting a compromise between the opposing forces. Philippe Salvadori, ‘Norbert Elias’, in Véronique Sales (ed.), Les Historiens (Paris: Armand Colin, 2003), 119–36. 18 In August 1749, direction of the Académie Royale de Musique passed from Guénot de Tréfontaine to the city of Paris, under the overall control of the comte d’Argenson, the secretary of state. The Académie’s fnancial and other administrative affairs were managed by the Hôtel de Ville, under the control of the prévôt des marchands of Paris, Louis Basile Bernage de Saint-Maurice. 19 Charlton, Opera in the Age of Rousseau, 124.

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entrusted to Rameau. A year later, a confrontation took place which further reinforced the opposition between the composers, described here by Collé: The intoxication of the public by [Le Carnaval du Parnasse], whose libretto, it is true to say, is less stupid and tiresome than Platée but whose music cannot hold a candle to it, has so mortifed Rameau, to whom it seems Mondonville was being set up as a rival, and even to give him preference, that the great man has sworn to work no longer. His anger will not last; and his genius, which will rouse him despite himself, will set him back to work, as time distances him from the discouragement caused him by the public on this occasion.21 Despite these setbacks, Rameau’s music remained much appreciated at court, as witness the programming of Les Indes galantes and Zoroastre at the Concert de la Reine in 1750. At the Académie Royale de Musique, Bernage de Saint-Maurice certainly intended to schedule other Rameau works, as is borne out by his visit to the composer in May 1751.22 That same year saw the premieres of Rameau’s La Guirlande and Acante et Céphise, as well as revivals of Les Indes and Pigmalion. From certain accounts,23 it has been suggested that Mme de Pompadour favoured Mondonville to the detriment of Rameau.24 Rameau’s contemporaries interpreted the Concert Spirituel performances of his motet In convertendo at Easter 1751 as the composer setting himself as a rival to Mondonville on his own territory. By presenting a motet frst written some four decades earlier (although extensively revised),25 Rameau produced a hybrid 20 See the chapter by Marie Demeilliez in this volume (Chapter 7), pp. 113–26. 21 Collé, Journal et mémoires, i, 134–5: Ce vertige du public en faveur de cet Opéra, qui pour les paroles est à la vérité moins bête et moins fastidieux que Platée, mais dont la musique est cent piques au-dessous, a si fort mortifé Rameau, auquel il semble qu’on ait voulu donner Mondonville pour rival, et même le lui préférer, que ce grand homme a juré de ne plus travailler. Il ne tiendra pas sa colère ; et son génie, qui l’agitera malgré lui, le fera remettre à l’ouvrage, à mesure que le temps éloignera de lui le dégoût que le public lui a donné dans cette circonstance. 22 See the chapter by Marie Demeilliez in this volume (Chapter 7), p. 123. 23 For example, Collé, Journal et mémoires, i, 321: ‘Elle ne fera rien pour Rameau  ; elle n’aime guère sa musique, moins encore sa personne’. 24 According to Rice, ‘Power, Politics and the Production of Opera’, 907–10, Mme de Pompadour was using Mondonville to promote an aesthetic that would please supporters of French and Italian music and thus maintain an ambiguous position at the heart of the Querelle. See also David Charlton’s review of Rice’s work in Early Music 35 (2007), 116–18. 25 Thomas R. Green, Early Rameau Sources: Studies in the Origins and Dating of the Operas and Other Musical Works (doctoral diss., Brandeis University, 1992), 725–27, suggests that some of the many revisions in Rameau’s autograph score of In convertendo may have been made after the 1751 performances, in response to widespread criticism of the work. Jean Duron also distinguishes several stages in the revision. See Introduction in Jean-Philippe Rameau, La Musique religieuse, ed. Jean Duron (Versailles: Centre de Musique Baroque de Versailles, 2005).


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that, irrespective of its musical quality, did not relate to the existing Concert Spirituel repertoire. The venture proved a failure. Collé stresses that the motet’s age was at issue,26 while Grimm notes the disparity between this work and the established canon in the genre: [Rameau] desired to be pre-eminent in the church as he is in the theatre. This ambition drove him to give a motet at the Concert Spirituel on Thursday 30 March. He chose the psalm In convertendo. All Paris had been preparing for this new piece for a fortnight. It was a thoroughly unfortunate undertaking. Even Rameau’s best friends were forced to agree that there were neither brilliant solos nor majestic choruses, nor symphonies, nor ideas, nor ensemble in his music. Mondonville has not been usurped, and the rivalry with Rameau has only increased the esteem in which his motets were held.27 In the feld of the motet à grand chœur, Mondonville was generally regarded as superior to Rameau. Interestingly, statements about their relationship on the operatic stages of the court or Opéra are couched in much more nuanced terms.

Emergence of an inclusive discourse This relationship changed course signifcantly during the Querelle des Bouffons (1752–54), with the two composers being brought together against the threat of the Italians in numerous pro-French pamphlets. The following extract from Rousselet’s Lettre sur la musique française en réponse à celle de Jean-Jacques Rousseau is characteristic of this debate, and tends to equate modern French music with these two artists: [Our composers] will be able to beneft from the beauties of their melody by making them their own, by accommodating them to the genius of our nation and our language, as more than one French composer has done and as continue to do today the Rameaux and the Mondonvilles.28 26 Collé, Journal et mémoires, i, 308. 27 Correspondance littéraire, philosophique et critique, ed. Maurice Tourneux (Paris: Buisson, 1877), ii, 334–8: [Rameau] a voulu être le premier à l’église comme il l’est au théâtre. Cette ambition l’a déterminé à donner un motet au Concert spirituel mardi 30 mars. Il a choisi le psaume In convertendo. Tout Paris était occupé de cette nouveauté depuis quinze jours. Le succès a été tout à fait malheureux. Les meilleurs amis de Rameau ont été forcés de convenir qu’il n’y avait ni récits brillants ni chœurs majestueux ni symphonies ni images ni ensemble dans sa musique. Mondonville n’a pas été détrôné et la rivalité de Rameau a redoublé l’estime que l’on avait pour ses motets. 28 Rousselet, Lettre sur la musique française en réponse à celle de Jean-Jacques Rousseau (Geneva: [], 1754), 55: Ils (nos artistes) pourront profter des beautés de leur chant, en se les rendant propres, en les accommodant au génie de notre Nation & de notre Langue, comme a fait plus d’un Compositeur François, comme font encore aujourd’hui les Rameaux & les Mondonvilles. See also [Marquis de Chastellux], Nouvelle lettre à M. Rousseau de Genève, Sur celle qui parut de lui, il y a quelques mois, contre la Musique Françoise. Par le M. de C. (Paris: Vincent, 1754), 37.

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In his Confessions Jean-Jacques Rousseau made the same link but inverted its meaning when he alluded to the failure of critics of his Le Devin du village to fnd reminiscences of opera buffa in this work. ‘Had Mondonville or Rameau been judged in the same way, they would have been torn to shreds’.29 In the thousands of pages to which the Querelle gave rise, very few other modern French composers are cited, and then most often for their instrumental music. André-Bardon’s L’Impartialité sur la musique is exceptional in mentioning Rebel, Francœur, Royer, Destouches, Blamont and Montéclair in defence of French music, alongside Rameau and Mondonville.30 In this epistle, as in numerous other writings during the Querelle, Rameau and Mondonville are set in a historical perspective that aims to establish them as the heirs of Lully. Rousselet ironically evokes the ‘foolish Lully, dull Rameau and ignorant Mondonville’.31 More seriously, La Galerie de l’Académie Royale de Musique draws a parallel between ‘all our composers, all our great maîtres de musique, our Rameaux, our Mondonvilles’ and ‘our former masters, our Lullis, our Lalandes, our Campras, our Clérambaults, etc.’32 Rousseau himself pays allegiance to this vision of history in the article ‘Style’ in his Dictionnaire de musique, which cites only Lully, Rameau and Mondonville.33 In the polemical writing of the Querelle, Mondonville is most often considered as a composer of operas (in particular, Titon et l’Aurore) with a fne future ahead of him: Pour illustrer le goût, dont la France est la mère, Rameau sera Virgile, & Lully fut Homère : Mondonville auprès d’eux se lève à l’Opera Comme un Astre nouveau qui les secondera.34 [To illustrate Taste, whose mother is France, Rameau will be Virgil, and Lully was Homer: Mondonville rises beside them at the Opéra as a new star that will assist them.]

29 30 31 32

33 34

which cites ‘the great reputations, so greatly merited, of MM. Rameau and Mondonville’ [‘les grandes réputations si bien méritées de Messieurs Rameau et Mondonville’]. Jean-Jacques Rousseau, Œuvres complètes, tome 1: Les Confessions. Autres textes autobiographiques (Paris: Gallimard, 1959), 384: ‘Si l’on eût mis Mondonville ou Rameau à pareille épreuve, ils n’en seraient sortis qu’en lambeaux’. Michel-François d’André-Bardon (attrib.), L’Impartialité sur la musique. Epitre à M. JeanJacques Rousseau de Genève par M. D. B. ([Paris: Claude-Charles Thiboust], 1754), 34. Rousselet, 23: ‘l’imbécille Lully, le plat Rameau, & l’ignorant Mondonville’. Louis Travenol, La Galerie de l’Académie Royale de Musique contenant les portraits, en vers, des principaux sujets qui la composent en la présente année 1754. Dédiée à J.-J. Rousseau de Genève, Copiste de Musique, Philosophe, Orateur, Grammairien, Historien, Théologien, Mathématicien, Peintre, Poëte, Musicien, Comédien, Medecin, Chirurgien, Apoticaire, &c. &c. Par un zelé partisan de son système sur la Musique Française ([n.p]: [], 1754), 32: ‘tous nos Compositeurs, tous nos grands Maître de Musique, nos Rameaux, nos Mondonvilles [et] nos anciens maîtres, nos Lullis, nos Lalandes, nos Campra, nos Clerambaults, etc.’ Jean-Jacques Rousseau, Dictionnaire de musique (Paris: Duchesne, 1768), 463: ‘In France we speak of the style of Lully, of Rameau, of Mondonville, &c.’ N. de Caux de Cappeval, Apologie du goût français relativement à l’opéra. Poème, avec un discours apologétique, et des adieux aux Bouffons ([n.p]: [], 1754), 32.


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In his Anecdotes dramatiques La Porte credits the victory against the Bouffons to Mondonville’s opera Titon et l’Aurore, which constituted the frst attack, and to Rameau’s Castor et Pollux, which delivered the coup de grâce.35 This association of the two composers sometimes gave rise to a comparative judgement between them, often to Mondonville’s detriment. Such judgements on music are sometimes coupled with psychological refections: One might say that in this work M. de Mondonville has well captured the nation’s taste for vaudevilles and little light catchy airs. He has even, in a spirit of conciliation, sought to write sometimes in the Italian manner. However, Madame, to be fair to him, one can regard this opera as only his third essay in a genre still new to him. The harmonic foundation, the development of the symphonies and instrumental airs do not generally conform to the idea we have created of a man to whom France owes as much for sacred music as she does to M. Rameau for that of the theatre. If my decision seems harsh to you, the author is more than compensated by the excessive fattery of enthusiasts of French music, enemies of the Bouffons, and those who, having been the loudest of their supporters, now come like poor Irus to drink with the victors. They cry out at the marvels and wonders, and applaud the author at each performance. M. Rameau had never experienced such fattering moments. It is to some degree his fault: when his works are performed, he is not obliging enough to come and indulge himself in the blandishments of the public for a mere quarter of an hour each opera day.36 This reference to Mondonville’s primacy in the realm of sacred music – by no means the only one of its kind – is noteworthy, since the paragraph is centred on the production of an opera: Titon et l’Aurore. The anonymous Lettre critique et

35 Joseph de La Porte and Jean-Marie-Bernard Clément, Anecdotes dramatiques (Paris: veuve Duchesne, 1775), 412. 36 [Jacques Cazotte], Lettre écrite à une dame en province, par quelqu’un qui n’est ni d’un Coin, ni de l’autre ([n.p]: [], 1753), 15: On peut dire que M. de Mondonville a bien saisi dans cet ouvrage le goût de la nation pour les vaudevilles, les petits airs chantans & légers ; il a même, par esprit de conciliation, cherché à donner quelque fois dans l’Italien. Cependant, Madame, en lui rendant justice, on ne peut regarder cet Opera-ci que comme un troisieme essai qu’il fait dans un genre encore nouveau pour lui. Le fond de l’harmonie, le travail des symphonies & des airs de violon ne répondent point en général à l’idée que nous nous sommes faite d’un homme à qui la France a pour le chant de l’Eglise l’obligation qu’elle a à M. Rameau pour celui du Théâtre. Si ma décision vous paroît rigoureuse, l’Auteur en est plus que dédommagé par les fatteries outrées des enthousiastes de la Musique Françoise, des ennemis des boufons, & enfn de ceux qui ayant été leurs amis à tout rompre, viennent aujourd’hui comme le pauvre Irus boire avec les vainqueurs. on crie à la merveille & au prodige, on applaudit à l’Auteur à chaque représentation. M. Rameau n’eut jamais des instans si fateurs. C’est un peu de sa faute ; il n’a pas la complaisance, quand il donne de ses ouvrages, de se venir prêter aux carresses du Public, seulement un quart d’heure par jour d’Opera.

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historique sur la musique française is even more harsh towards Mondonville, whom it accuses of having betrayed the French cause, whereas Rameau, of far superior talent, had not garnered the laurels he deserved.37 Grimm, in his Correspondence littéraire, inverts the argument entirely. Without any reference to Rameau, he presents Mondonville as a manipulator who has deceitfully joined the Queen’s corner (i.e., the pro-Italian faction) in order not to incur the hostility of the Bouffons’ supporters, yet who composes in the most traditional French style.38 While Titon et l’Aurore’s success and Mondonville’s many activities might be capable of challenging the primacy of Rameau, the Mondonville-Rameau discourse assumed a polemical dimension where frst place in the symbolic pantheon of French musicians was at stake. La Nouvelle Bigarure, for example, revisits a large part of the praise addressed by d’Aquin de Château-Lyon to Mondonville, but only as a means of lambasting Pluche’s defence of the composer in his Spectacle de la nature, which was widely distributed and was reprinted until 1764: If M. Pluche is to be believed, M. de Mondonville is the musician of all genres, of all fashions; it costs M. Pluche nothing to vaunt above all others the aimable homme whom he favours. According to him, [Mondonville] is a melodist like Mouret, as tender as Lully (which remains to be proved) and a harmonist like Rameau (which will never be proved). M. Pluche’s authority is much more respectable in literature than in music. If this fertile, varied, elegant author had agreed with all the connoisseurs that M. Rameau held the frst place, we would give the second to M. Mondonville.39 Beyond its excessive praise, Pluche’s text is interesting in stressing Mondonville’s abilities in all felds of composition. This image of a multi-talented composer, capable of success in all genres and as good a performer as a composer, endured until the mid-1770s. Thus Mondonville’s obituary notice in the Mercure accords equal place to his operas and instrumental works as to his motets. The same is true in La Dixmerie’s Les Deux Âges du goût,40 in the ‘Eloge de Monsieur de 37 Lettre critique et historique sur la musique françoise, la musique italienne, & sur les Bouffons à Madame D… ([n.p.]: [], [n.d.]). The author gives the following description of Titon et l’Aurore: ‘Un récit doucereux, quelques maigres simphonies, des Arietes habillées à l’Italienne, enfn partout de petites manieres’], [p. 1]. 38 Correspondance littéraire, x, 84–7. 39 La Nouvelle Bigarure contenant ce qu’il y a de plus interessant dans le Mercure de France, et de plus curieux dans les autres journaux et feuilles périodiques &c. (14 April 1754), 104: A en croire M. Pluche, M. de Mondonville seroit le musicien de tous les genres, de toutes les modes  ; rien ne coûte à M. Pluche, pour élever au-dessus de tous les autres l’aimable homme qu’il affectionne. Il est à l’entendre, Melodiste comme Mouret, tendre comme Lully : ce qui reste à prouver ; Harmoniste comme Rameau : ce que l’on ne prouvera jamais. Si M. Pluche, dont l’autorité est respectable dans la Littérature, beaucoup plus que dans la Musique ; si cet Auteur fécond, varié, élegant, nous eût dit avec tous les connoisseurs, M. Rameau a la première place, on donnera la seconde à M. Mondonville. 40 Nicolas de Bricaire de La Dixmerie, Les Deux Âges du goût et du génie français sous Louis XIV & sous Louis XV; ou parallèle des efforts du génie & du goût dans les sciences, dans les arts & dans les lettres sous les deux règnes (Paris: Lacombe, 1769), 498.


Thierry Favier

Mondonville’ published in Le Nécrologe des hommes célèbres en France,41 in the Etat actuel de la musique du roi et des trois spectacles de Paris of 1773,42 and in Fontenay’s Dictionnaire.43

Vicissitudes of personifcation The various texts which, between the death of Rameau in 1764 and that of Mondonville in 1772, provide a retrospective view of music still often link Rameau and Mondonville, along with Lully, as representing the quintessence of French music.44 The image revealed by the critical discourse surrounding the two composers evolves progressively from their coexistence or perceived rivalry, where each was praised for his activity in different felds, to one of complementarity, which restricts the fgure of Rameau to that of an opera composer at the expense of his work on theory, and that of Mondonville to sacred music. This evolution, linked to a recognition of Mondonville as heir to Lalande (1657–1726), is frst noted in d’Aquin de Château-Lyon’s Le Siècle littéraire de Louis XV. The author does not neglect Mondonville’s instrumental and lyric output, but gives an epic description of the rivalry between the two composers, expressed in terms of a war-game: Campra, having vainly challenged Lully, sought to compete with Lalande, though his defeat did not put him out of action; M. de Mondonville attacked the same athlete; victory is uncertain; at last he mounts [Lalande’s] throne and shares it. Enough, but he does more; born to risk all like the author of Hesione [Campra], he rallies his forces; weapons in hand, he comes to attack M. Rameau at the heart of his empire; they were already crying victory; but the great Rameau, allowing his enemies to advance, only the better to overcome them, recommenced the battle; and stronger than ever, dispersed the auxiliary troops, struck down the army, put the usurper to fight and reclaimed his sceptre. […] M. de Mondonville then took up

41 Le Nécrologe des hommes célèbres de France, par une société de gens de lettres (Maestricht: Dufour, 1775), 97–106. 42 État actuel de la musique du roi et des trois spectacles de Paris (Paris: Vente, 1775), 21–9. 43 Louis Abel de Bonnafous, abbé de Fontenay, Dictionnaire des artistes, ou Notice historique et raisonnée des architectes, peintres, graveurs, sculpteurs, musiciens, acteurs & danseurs; imprimeurs, horlogers & méchaniciens (Paris: Servière, 1776), ii, 165–8. 44 See especially Jean-Laurent de Béthisy, Exposition de la théorie et de la pratique de la musique (2nd edn, Paris: Deschamps, 1764), 273, 306, where the author praises mastery of accompaniment and particularly the use of the bassoon in the works of the two composers; Pierre Jean Grosley, Nouveaux mémoires, ou Observations sur l’Italie et sur les italiens, par deux gentilshommes suédois, traduits du suédois (London: Nourse, 1764), iii, 347; Charles Palissot de Montenoy, La Dunciade, poème, nouvelle édition, revue, corrigée et augmentée de deux nouveaux chants (London: [], 1773), i, 132 and Journal des Sciences et des Beaux-Arts 2 (1776), 549, in an article on the ariette.

Rameau versus Mondonville


again David’s lyre, from which he had already drawn divine sounds, and it seems he will never again let it go.45 The apologia for Mondonville’s motets which follows this paragraph is constructed around three principal ideas that combine aesthetic and historical considerations. The frst of them aims to reaffrm the immutable character of beauty, common to all ages and in all places, according to the doctrines of French aesthetics of the time. By referring to Lalande, d’Aquin inscribes Mondonville in the French tradition established by Louis xiv and ties him to the roots of French taste. The second idea emphasises the specifc nature of sacred music, even though the generic and stylistic hybridisation characteristic of the genre was gradually rendering this idea obsolete.46 The third idea is contained in the very title of d’Aquin’s work, which alludes to Voltaire’s Le Siècle de Louis XIV in order to show that the music of Rameau and Mondonville is not at odds with the Grand Siècle, but perpetuates its grandeur. The author therefore plays a dominant role in the process of personifying the discourse on music, modelled on the historic representation of the Grand Siècle. These ideas recur in several publications of the 1770s. The notice devoted to Mondonville in the État actuel de la musique du roi et des trois spectacles de Paris praises his motets in much the same terms as those of Lalande 50 years earlier: The noble simplicity, the most tender and moving expression of sentiment are borne by them to such a high degree, that this sublime piece alone would suffce to establish the composer’s reputation and immortalise his name. The manner of composing music in France will change as it might, but all the revolutions that occur in the arts can never efface such masterpieces; they are worthy of all centuries.47 45 Pierre-Louis d’Aquin de Château-Lyon, Lettres sur les hommes célèbres, dans les sciences, la littérature & les beaux arts, sous le règne de Louis XV (Paris: Duchesne, 1752), 98–9: Presque tous les motets de Lalande ont cette perfection, sans laquelle on peut encore plaire, mais avec laquelle on aspire au premier degré. M. de Mondonville paroît, on le met à côté de Lalande ; quelle gloire pour lui ! Campra, après s’être essayé contre Lully sans triomphe, avoit voulu le disputer à Lalande, & sa défaite ne l’avoit pas mis hors de combat ; M. de Mondonville attaque le même Athlete, il balance la victoire, monte enfn sur son Trône, & le partage. C’en est assez, mais il fait plus  ; né pour tout oser comme l’Auteur d’Hesione, il rassemble ses forces  ; & les armes à la main, il vient attaquer M. Rameau dans le cœur de son empire, on crioit déjà victoire  ; mais le grand Rameau ne laissant avancer ses ennemis que pour mieux les terrasser, recommence le combat ; & plus fort que jamais, disperse les troupes auxiliaires, foudroye l’armée, met en fuite l’usurpateur et reprend son sceptre. […] M. de Mondonville a donc repris la lyre de David, de laquelle il avoit déjà tiré des sons divins, & il y a apparence qu’il ne la quittera plus. 46 Favier, Le Motet à grand chœur, 579–81. 47 État actuel de la musique du roi et des trois spectacles de Paris (Paris: Vente, 1773), 23: La noble simplicité, l’expression du sentiment le plus tendre & le plus pathétique y sont portés à un si haut degré, que ce sublime morceau suffroit seul pour faire la réputation d’un compositeur & immortaliser son nom. La manière de composer la Musique aura beau changer en France, toutes les révolutions qui arrivent dans les Arts ne peuvent jamais effacer de pareils chef-d’œuvres ; ils sont dignes de tous les siècles.


Thierry Favier

While the writer gives equal praise to Mondonville’s operas and his instrumental music, such comments contradict the developing idea that it was impossible for a musician to succeed equally in both sacred music and music for the theatre: The great Lully and Collasse composed very beautiful operas but never wrote anything but poor motets. Lalande collaborated with M. Destouches on the ballet Les Eléments; yet he did not pursue this career, having evidently felt that his success would have not continued, and he stuck defnitively to Latin music. The famous Blanchard declared with extreme candour to all those who tried to get him to write an opera, that his talent and genius were suited only to the composition of motets. Rameau, the great Rameau: [despite] the inexhaustible depth of harmonic understanding that he perfected and taught defnitively to all those of our time, this great man, who is the honour in music of the French nation, understood nothing of the making of motets.48 This concept, which legitimises the apportioning of the musical feld between these two composers, became the norm in writings of the last decades of the eighteenth century. Directly or indirectly, Rameau and Mondonville are represented as the heirs of Louis xiv’s two principal composers, Lully and Lalande, epitomising French musical art. They alone embody the nation’s identity and the permanence of its aesthetic, one in the feld of sacred music, the other in opera. We thus see a strong link between the ideal of personifcation of the art of music and the core principle of absolute monarchy. The power of this symbolic representation, which was already included in the Encyclopédie49 and is again asserted in the very forward-looking Journal de musique, may seem surprising. The personifcation process serves as much a defence of the French tradition as a criticism of it, as shown by the expression in Le Brigandage de la musique

48 Ibid., 15–16. An adapted version of the text is published in the Journal de musique 1 (1773), 69: Le grand Lulli & Colasse ont composé de très beaux Opéra & n’ont jamais fait que de mauvais motets. Lalande a travaillé conjointement avec M. Destouches au Ballet des Elémens ; il n’a pas poursuivi cette carriere, apparemment qu’il a senti qu’il n’auroit pas continué à y réussir, & il s’en est tenu défnitivement à la musique latine. Le célèbre Blanchard avouoit avec une extrême franchise, à toutes les personnes qui vouloient l’engager à travailler à quelque opéra, que son talent & son génie n’étoient propre qu’à la composition des Motets. Rameau, le grand Rameau, cet abîm inépuisable de science dans l’harmonie qu’il a entierement développée & défnitivement enseignée à tous ceux de nos jours, ce grand-homme enfn, l’honneur en musique de la nation françoise, n’entendoit rien à la facture des Motets. 49 Louis de Cahusac’s article ‘Concert Spirituel’ in the Encyclopédie says of Mondonville that he is ‘au Concert spirituel ce que M. Rameau est à l’opéra’. See Denis Diderot and Jean Le Rond d’Alembert (eds), Encyclopédie ou dictionnaire raisonné des sciences, des arts et des métiers, vol. 3 (Paris: Le Breton, 1753).

Rameau versus Mondonville


italienne: ‘Rameau grew old; Mondonville, before he died, tended towards plainsong’,50 or by L’Espion français: Mondonville composed very beautiful oratorios. All the parterre at the Palais Royal theatre rushed to hear his Masses and motets à grand chœur with their brilliant symphonies. It needed only the Opéra girls to turn them straight into a spectacle. Rameau enlivened French music more than the rest; but the Lullistes claimed that he had enlivened it too much; they called him, derisively, the Father of the Rigaudon.51 At the end of the 1780s, with some notable exceptions, sacred music is absent from the critical discourse, and the polarity between Mondonville and Rameau tends to be abandoned. In the Encyclopédie méthodique or Grétry’s Mémoires, Lully’s legacy is concentrated in Rameau alone. * The Mondonville versus Rameau debate played an important role in French culture in the second half of the eighteenth century, by crystallising the articulation between musical identity and history. Emerging from the power strategies that characterise the Querelle des Bouffons, this debate changed gradually at the end of the eighteenth century to perpetuate the hierarchy of genres established under Louis xiv’s reign and, broadly, the aesthetic, moral and political values of the Grand Siècle. By now commonplace in musical discourse, the opposition between Mondonville and Rameau, each associated with one of the two main genres that emerged at Louis xiv’s court, spread to all kinds of writing, to the point where it was cited even by modernist intellectuals who did not share those values. It has even affected our own historiographical traditions. The interest taken by some eighteenth-century German scholars in French literature and music favoured retaining the fgure of Mondonville as an opera composer at the centre of nascent German musicology. Without undertaking a thorough study, we may observe, for example, that Johann Adam Hiller, an associate of Christian 50 Le Brigandage de la musique italienne ([n.p.]: [], 1777), 11: ‘Rameau a vieilli, Mondonville a donné dans le plain chant’. 51 Ange Goudar, L’Espion françois à Londres, ou Observations critiques sur l’Angleterre et sur les Anglois (London [?Paris]: author, 1780), 46: Mondonville, qui parut cinquante ans après, donna de très beaux opera d’église. Tout le parterre du théâtre du Palais Royal accourut à ses messes & à ses motets. Ils étoient à grands chœurs & à symphonies brillantes. Il n’y manquait que les flles du magasin pour en faire un spectacle en plein. Rameau égaya la musique françoise plus que les autres ; mais les Lullistes prétendirent qu’il l’avoit rendue trop gaie ; ils l’appeloient par dérision, le Père aux Rigodons. See, for example, in the feld of literary fction, Laurence Sterne, Voyage sentimental, augmenté de l’histoire de deux flles très-célèbres dans le monde. Première partie (London [?Paris]: [], 1782), 93.


Thierry Favier

Fürchtegott Gellert, adopted this view in several entries in his Wöchentliche Nachrichten und Anmerkungen die Musik betreffend devoted to Mondonville, at the same time establishing an affliation between Rameau and Lully on the one hand, and Lalande and Mondonville on the other hand.52 The same is true of Nikolaus Forkel in 1778 and of Ernst Ludwig Gerbert in 1790.53 Conversely, Burney does not name Mondonville in his travel journal or in The Present State of Music in France and Italy (1771). His passion for opera, combined with a great aversion to the French manner of singing, proved disastrous for Mondonville more than for Rameau, and had a lasting deterrent effect on the reputation of eighteenth-century French music in English-speaking countries. In France, the Mondonville versus Rameau debate contributed to Mondonville’s exclusion from writings on music at the start of the nineteenth century, whether by journalists or scholars: while studies devoted to sacred music focused primarily on the issue of plainsong and liturgical music, works on opera approached the art of the Ancien Régime only through the fgure of Rameau. To a great extent, the same process, this time based on a certain contempt towards eighteenth-century French sacred music, was still at work as late as the 1980s. Translation: Jenifer Ball

52 Johann Adam Hiller, Wöchentliche Nachrichten und Anmerkungen die Musik betreffend, 12 August 1766, 56; 31 March 1767, 310; 12 May 1767, 356. 53 Johann Nikolaus Forkel, Musikalische-Kritische Bibliothek (Gotha: Ettinger 1778), i, 301 and Ernst Ludwig Gerber, Historisch-biographisches Lexikon der Tonkünstler (Leipzig: Breitkopf, 1790), i, 961.

Part II

Librettos Gestation, attributions, interpretation


Jean-Philippe Rameau’s Art d’aimer Music and eroticism in the Age of Enlightenment1 Raphaëlle Legrand

The reign of Louis xv is renowned for its remarkable freedom in the domain of love. This was a period that saw the rise of the libertine novel, while the visual arts refected a widespread eroticism. Rameau’s music also gives us a glimpse of this era, and several contemporary writers have drawn attention to the erotic atmosphere that envelops his operas. Perhaps the earliest to do so was Denis Diderot in Les Bijoux indiscrets (1748). At a time when the quarrel between the Lullistes and Ramistes had almost subsided, Diderot amused himself by including in this libertine novel a parallel between Jean-Baptiste Lully (whom he nicknamed Utmiutsol) and Jean-Philippe Rameau (Utremifasolasiututut): Before Utremifasolasiututut, no one had ever distinguished the delicate nuances between the affectionate and the voluptuous, the voluptuous and the passionate, the passionate and the lascivious.2 For Diderot, faced with Lully’s status as a classic and master of tragic declamation, Rameau represented a modern aesthetic, in tune with the refnement of pleasures displayed in his time. More recently, the musicologist Cuthbert Girdlestone pointed to the overtly sexual connotations of one specifc dance scene in the original 1739 version of Rameau’s Dardanus – an Air tendre signifcantly entitled ‘Calme des sens’ (calming of the senses).3 This, Girdlestone suggests, ‘appeared no doubt 1 A frst version of this text, translated into English by Natalie Lithwick, was presented at the American Musicological Society Annual Meeting (Quebec City, 4 November 2007). 2 Denis Diderot, Les Bijoux indiscrets (Paris: Hermann, 1978), 69: ‘Avant Utremifasolasiututut, personne n’avait distingué les nuances délicates qui séparent le tendre du voluptueux, le voluptueux du passionné, le passionné du lascif’. 3 Jean-Philippe Rameau, Dardanus (Paris: author, 1739), 120 and Jean-Philippe Rameau, Dardanus: version 1739, ed. Denis Herlin (Tauxigny: Société Jean-Philippe Rameau, 2015), 248. RCT 35/A 4.09. RCT numbers refer to Sylvie Bouissou and Denis Herlin, Jean-Philippe Rameau, Catalogue thématique des œuvres musicales (Paris: CNRS Éditions, Bibliothèque nationale de France, 2003–).

DOI: 10.4324/9781315554990-7


Raphaëlle Legrand

less ethereal to its frst hearers than to us and expressed more clearly the morrow of volupté’.4 The dance (see Example 4.3 below) has an odd location, forming part of Dardanus’s dream in Act iv. The hero has just dreamed about a monster that ravages the landscape, a monster he must soon combat. The dream continues with this dance which calms his senses. How then to interpret the dream-battle, a posteriori, if not as an erotic metaphor, as Girdlestone seems to indicate? In the premonitory dream of combat and victory, a sensual subtext can be deciphered, thanks to the clue given by the title of the dance, which is far removed from the tragedy of the situation. This prompts several questions: is it possible to decrypt Rameau’s operas by highlighting their implied sexual references? Are such references legitimate within the framework of classical tragedy, where the norm is to examine individual works through the flter of bienséance (propriety, decorum) and idealized love? To answer these, I shall frst demonstrate that, even before his operatic debut, Rameau wrote music with erotic connotations, and that he was associated with libertine literary milieux in Paris. I will then discuss the modalities of such connotations in opera by dealing successively with three types of characters: the shepherds in divertissements; the divinities; and the protagonists. My aim is to show that an erotic subtext is present both in the libretto and in the music itself.

A cantata and Parisian libertine circles It may seem strange to consider that Rameau was playing around with sexual metaphors and searching for their precise musical translation. We often imagine him as an absent-minded old theorist, obsessed with harmonic combinations. Yet during his years in Clermont when he was writing his frst major treatise, Traité de l’harmonie (1722), Rameau appears also to have set at least one text that exploits double meanings. In French cantatas of this period, such double entendre often occurs in the fnal air, whose function is to unveil the concept of which the person previously described is an allegory. While such concepts could be serious, poets could also have fun in subverting the most tragic mythological episode in order to draw an amorous moral. The fnal aria of Rameau’s cantata Orphée provides a good example. En amour il est un moment Marqué pour notre récompense. Si quelquefois par indolence, On échappe ce point charmant. Plus souvent encore un amant Le perd par trop d’impatience 4 Cuthbert Girdlestone, Jean-Philippe Rameau: His Life and Work (2nd edn, New York: Dover, 1969), 256.

Rameau’s Art d’aimer 65 De ses désirs impétueux L’amant habile est toujours maître, Il tâche avec soin de connaître L’instant qui doit combler ses vœux. Tel aujourd’hui serait heureux S’il n’avait voulu trop tôt l’être.5 [In love, there is a moment marked for our reward. Sometimes by apathy one misses this charming instant, but more often a lover loses it by too much impatience. The skilful lover is always master of his impetuous desires; he tries carefully to judge the moment that will fulfl his wishes. One would now be happy if one had not desired happiness too soon.] This poem can be taken at face value as a simple conclusion to the Orpheus tale. However, as Catherine Kintzler has shown in re-situating this work within the tradition of negative depictions of Orpheus, another reading is possible. To put it graphically, these stanzas describe a maladroit lover.6 In other words, they give a lesson to lovers about the art of good timing.7 In this text we can observe a technique typical of the libertine novel of that era: the sexualization of neutral terms. In those by Claude-Prosper Jolyot de Crébillon (Crébillon fls), for example, the word ‘moment’ is given an additional meaning: the moment of desire, or even the very moment of the sexual act’s consummation.8 In one novel, Crébillon provides a defnition of the double meaning of this word as that of the female desire. Typically, the writer uses an exaggeratedly complex syntax to mask a meaning that might have seemed too vulgar: CÉlie Qu’est-ce que le moment, et comment le défnissez-vous  ? Car j’avoue, de bonne foi, que je ne vous entends pas.

5 This cantata, RCT 21, was composed before 1 June 1721. The poet has not been identifed. See Bouissou and Herlin, Jean-Philippe Rameau, Catalogue thématique des œuvres musicales, i, 233. 6 Catherine Kintzler, ‘La Musique adoucit-elle les mœurs?’ (Médiathèque de la Cité de la Musique, archives sonores, ARCH 2003-11-18), ‘Orphée: la violence de l’accord parfait’, [accessed 25 September 2019]. On Orpheus, see also Raphaëlle Legrand, ‘Orphée baro/queer’, Transposition. Musique et sciences sociales 3 (2013), . 7 See RCT 18bis for circumstantial evidence that Rameau may also have composed L’Épouse entre deux draps, an overtly bawdy three-part canon. However, Graham Sadler (‘La Femme entre deux draps: Couperin or Rameau?’, Early Music, forthcoming) argues that there is no reason to discredit the original attribution to Couperin. 8 Bernadette Fort, Le Langage de l’ambiguïté dans l’œuvre de Crébillon fls (Paris: Klincksieck, 1978), 183. On Crébillon’s use of language, see also Ernest Sturm, Crébillon fls et le libertinage au dix-huitième siècle (Paris: Nizet, 1970), Jean Dagen, ‘Introduction’, in ClaudeProsper Jolyot de Crébillon, Les Égarements du cœur et de l’esprit (Paris: Garnier-Flammarion, 1985), 5–60.


Raphaëlle Legrand Le Duc Une certaine disposition des sens aussi imprévue qu’elle est involontaire, qu’une femme peut voiler, mais qui, si elle est aperçue, ou sentie par quelqu’un qui ait intérêt d’en profter, la met dans le danger du monde le plus grand d’être un peu plus complaisante qu’elle ne croyait ni devoir, ni pouvoir l’être. 9 [CÉlie What is the moment and how do you defne it? For I admit, in good faith, that I do not understand you. Le Duc A certain disposition of the senses that is both unexpected and involuntary, which a woman can conceal but which, if it is noticed or sensed by someone interested in taking advantage of it, puts her in danger of being considered a little more obliging than she thinks she should or could be.]

The double entendre of the word ‘moment’ was probably not Crébillon’s invention, but he is undoubtedly the author who used it with the greatest virtuosity, especially in his novel La Nuit et le Moment (1755). Once we are aware of the double meaning of this word, its prominent position in the opening line of the air from Rameau’s Orphée quoted above arouses curiosity about what it might mean in this instance. The clearer allusion in the second part of the air (‘The skilful lover is always master of his impetuous desires’) prompts a reconsideration of the meaning of the frst stanza when this is repeated at the da capo, allowing us to apply a sexual sense to it. Musically, the unexpected transition from the tragic tone of the preceding air and recitative, which paint Orpheus’s despair, to the lively and light-hearted expression of the fnal air, signals a change of register that piques the listener’s interest. Without the touch of humour imparted by the double meaning, such cheerful music would make little sense as a conclusion to the Orpheus story. Besides, this method of detachment at the end of cantatas, in drawing an amorous moral from a serious subject, is very common.10 The idea of making Orpheus a metaphor of the over-eager lover is already found in a cantata on a poem by Louis Fuzelier set by Philippe Courbois, while in a similar register a cantata by Charles Piroye on an anonymous text recommends that, unlike Orpheus, husbands should close their eyes to the behaviour of their wives.11 A few years after composing this cantata, and a decade before making his operatic debut, Rameau again found himself associated with erotically charged texts, this time at the popular theatre. We recall that after his defnitive move to Paris in 1722 the composer began a friendship with his Burgundian compatriot Alexis Piron, writing music (now lost) for four of 9 Claude-Prosper Jolyot de Crébillon, Le Hasard du coin du feu [1763], in Œuvres complètes de Monsieur de Crébillon fls (Maastricht: Dufour, 1779), v, 64–5. 10 On the cantate françoise and its function as amorous allegory, see David Tunley, The Eighteenth-Century French Cantata (London: Dobson, 1974), 18–31. 11 Philippe Courbois, Orphée, in Cantates françaises à une et deux voix (Paris: author, 1710) and Charles Piroye, Le Retour d’Eurydice aux Enfers (Paris: Ballard, 1717).

Rameau’s Art d’aimer 67 Piron’s opéras comiques performed at the Parisian Fair Theatres (Théâtre de la Foire).12 These comedies had obvious sexual connotations and made liberal use of double entendre. Furthermore, while working for his patrons – frst the prince de Carignan then the tax farmer Le Riche de la Pouplinière, both of whom enjoyed licentious reputations – Rameau was probably a member of the Société du Caveau, founded at the end of the 1720s by Piron, Crébillon fls and Charles Collé.13 The meetings involved drinking, singing and poetic improvisation. At the Caveau, Rameau would have met other dramatists who worked at the Fair Theatres, among them Louis Fuzelier and Charles-François Pannard; novelists such as Crébillon fls and Charles Pinot Duclos who wrote erotic literature; poets notorious for their erotic verse, like Piron himself and Pierre-Joseph Bernard; and the artist François Boucher, who was also a designer at the Académie Royale de Musique and renowned for his highly sensual painting. Indeed, several members of the Caveau (Fuzelier, Bernard, Le Clerc de La Bruère, Collé) would later provide the composer with librettos. In such a milieu, Rameau was thus at the heart of literary and artistic eroticism in Paris.

Pastoral Epicureanism and the rhetoric of literary debauchery Can we, however, locate sexuality beyond the realms of literature and art, in a serious genre such as opera – and not only in opéra-ballet and pastorale héroïque but also in the tragédie en musique? Jean-Noël Laurenti has convincingly demonstrated that hedonism was at the very core of French opera.14 According to Laurenti, the operas of Quinault and Lully were the outcome of three different currents of thought: the galanterie précieuse, which emphasizes the value of idealized love; the aristocratic ideal, which gives a heroic dimension to the characters; and, above all, Epicureanism, which focuses on the pursuit of happiness. During the seventeenth century, the philosopher Pierre Gassendi was chiefy responsible for a revival of Epicureanism, in which happiness was sought through the negation of pain and the accumulation of pleasure. This attitude obviously stands in stark contrast to Christian morality. In Epicureanism, for example, nature is a model for happiness, where everything natural – birds, seasons, forests, fertility – invites us to participate in its pleasures. In Christianity, 12 Graham Sadler, ‘Rameau, Piron and the Parisian Fair Theatres’, Soundings 4 (1974), 13–29; Graham Sadler, ‘A Re-examination of Rameau’s Self-Borrowings’, in Jean-Baptiste Lully and the Music of the French Baroque, ed. John Hajdu Heyer (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1989), 264–76 and Bouissou and Herlin, Jean-Philippe Rameau, 235–57. 13 Brigitte Level, A travers deux siècles, Le Caveau, Société bachique et chantante, 1726–1939 (Paris: Presses de l’Université Paris-Sorbonne, 1988). For a discussion of Rameau’s possible membership of the Caveau, see Graham Sadler, The Rameau Compendium (Woodbridge: The Boydell Press, 2014), 55. 14 Jean-Noël Laurenti, Valeurs morales et religieuses sur la scène de l’Académie Royale de Musique (1669–1737) (Geneva: Droz, 2002).


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by contrast, nature (and especially human nature) is marked by sin and downfall, and man is torn between the glory and the misery of his condition. Where the operatic characters of shepherds and shepherdesses are concerned, their notion of love is in harmony with nature, it is guilt-free. They are the direct descendants of the shepherds in Ovid, Horace and Virgil. The rigorist Christians who attacked the theatre, and mainly opera, during the Querelles of the 1690s were not fooled: Boileau and Bossuet, for instance, understood what these operas were really about.15 To cite Boileau’s diatribe against opera, Et tous ces lieux communs de morale lubrique Que Lully réchauffa des sons de sa musique ?16 [And what of all those commonplaces of lewd morality that Lully rekindled with the sounds of his music?] Here, Boileau attacks not only the conventional topics of librettos but also the role of music in accentuating the validity of pleasure. He was particularly shocked in this satire ‘contre les femmes’ by the corrupting effect of such an amoral genre of opera on women. Yet those ‘lieux communs’, which are expressed not only by shepherds, shepherdesses and nymphs in their pastoral divertissements but also by numerous other secondary characters, must be taken seriously. They are increasingly found in the operas of the Regency period and under Louis xv, and became representative of Rococo aesthetics at the Paris Opéra. In Rameau’s librettos, there are countless instances of the word désir rhyming with plaisir, as in La Guirlande, on a libretto by Marmontel, where the shepherds enter to the following words: Aimons, aimons, qu’en nos bois tout soupire Que tout inspire Les désirs, Que tout respire Les plaisirs.17 [Let us love, that this wood may be flled with sighs, that everything inspires desires, everything exudes pleasures.] If the banality of these rhymes makes us oblivious to their concrete meaning, some poets underline this meaning more clearly. In Les Fêtes de l’Hymen et de l’Amour, for example, Louis de Cahusac evokes the ‘délicieuses larmes | 15 See especially John McManners, Church and Society in Eighteenth-Century France (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1998), vol. 2, 312 et seq. 16 Nicolas Boileau, Dialogue ou Satire X (Paris: Thierry, 1694), 6. 17 Jean-François Marmontel, La Guirlande (Paris: Delormel, 1751), 18–19.

Rameau’s Art d’aimer 69 Qu’arrache à la tendresse un excès de plaisir’ [‘the delightful tears that an excess of pleasure snatches from tenderness’].18 It goes without saying that in the genre of opera these references to pleasure remain very correct and proper. In this genre, it was not considered appropriate to refer directly to sexuality. Still, many words can be read with a double meaning. This has much in common, as we have seen, with the obvious issues of language in the libertine novel. To return to the example by Crébillon, whose novels are contemporary with Rameau’s operas, the author depicts a society that pursues love affairs with total freedom; at the same time, he uses a highly restrained language. He thus manages to say everything by using neutral everyday words or terms of idealized love, to which he gives a sexual sub-meaning. By a subtle play of polysemy, for instance, the abstract words ‘transports’ and ‘égarements’ (distractions, aberrations) can express physical desire; the words ‘moment’, already mentioned, and ‘bonheur’ (happiness) can mean the moment of sexual consummation; and by a process of metonymic euphemism, the words ‘cœur’ (heart) and ‘âme’ (soul) can refer to the relevant body parts.19 We can thus understand the double meaning in the title of Crébillon’s most celebrated novel, Les Egarements du cœur et de l’esprit, published in 1736 and 1738. This can be read as a moral book criticizing the mistakes of a sentimental education, or as an erotic work that speaks of physical desire and sex. Bernadette Fort, who has studied all these rhetorical strategies of ambiguity in the work of Crébillon, reaches the conclusion that this approach to language is ‘an ethics of compromise between decorum and libertinage’, one that we may equally apply to opera librettos.20 This compromise has its advantages. As Crébillon’s novels could be read at two levels, either as sentimental intrigue or erotic adventure, they could be acceptable to the censor – unlike pornography, which derives its interest from making explicit what is usually hidden. This way of ‘hiding to say’ generates a subtle form of humour for those who can decipher the code and, as in Rameau’s Orphée discussed above, enjoy the disparity between the two levels. As Fort suggests, it is perhaps also an internalisation in the language itself, born of the social necessity for most of the women of the time to hide their extramarital liaisons – unlike men, who could faunt theirs. In these texts (written, it must be remembered, exclusively by men), the libertinism inherited from the Regency period is presented as a relatively egalitarian, hedonistic and joyful game, unlike that of Duclos and Sade at the end of the century, which would feature the humiliation of women and the domination exercised by a few powerful men.

18 Louis de Cahusac, Les Fêtes de l’Hymen et de l’Amour (Paris: Ballard, 1747), 9. 19 Fort, Le Langage de l’ambiguïté dans l’œuvre de Crébillon fls, 107. 20 Ibid., 22: ‘une morale de compromis […] entre bienséance et galanterie’.


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Like Crébillon’s petits maîtres,21 the lovers in operas are invited to be discreet so as not to create problems for their partners. In the prologue to Rameau’s Les Indes galantes, Fuzelier stresses the need to sing of one’s love along with the need to hide it. As the goddess Hébé declares, in instructing the youth of Europe, Amants, sûrs de plaire Suivez votre ardeur, Chantez votre bonheur, Mais sans offenser le mystère. Il est pour un tendre cœur Des biens dont le secret augmente la douceur, Songez qu’il faut les taire.22 [Lovers, to be sure of pleasing, follow your passion: sing of your happiness, but without offending the mystery. For a tender heart there are joys whose secret increases their sweetness; remember that you must not betray them.] This sheds a new light on many passages in the divertissements of Rameau’s operas. Bland and conventional at frst sight, these take on a new interest in view of their double meaning, as in this example from Les Fêtes d’Hébé: Une Naïade Un jour passé dans les tourments Paraît aux vrais amants Aussi long que la vie. Mais il est des moments, Dieux, quels moments ! Où l’on oublie Les jours passés dans les tourments.23 [A day spent in torment seems a lifetime to true lovers. But there are moments – Gods, what moments! – when one forgets the days spent in torment.] In this air in gavotte rhythm (Example 4.1), Rameau amuses himself by underlining the ambiguity of the expression ‘Gods, what moments!’, placing a high note on the exclamation ‘Dieux’ – which strongly contrasts with the melodic context of a diatonic, mainly descending movement in the vocal line and bass. 21 Dictionnaire de l’Académie françoise (Paris: Coignard, 1740), vol. 2, 67: ‘Un jeune homme de qualité qui se distingue par un air avantageux, par un ton décisif, par des manières libres et étourdies’ [‘A young man of quality who is distinguished by a pretentious air, a decisive tone and by free and careless manners’]. 22 Louis Fuzelier, Les Indes galantes, Ballet héroïque […] remis avec la nouvelle entrée des Sauvages, le Samedy dixième Mars 1736 (Paris: Ballard, 1736), 4. 23 Antoine-César Gautier de Montdorge, Les Fêtes d’Hébé ou les Talens lyriques (Paris: Ballard, 1739), 30.

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Example 4.1 Rameau, Les Fêtes d’Hébé, i, 8, ‘Un jour passé dans les tourments’

The double meaning of this passage did not go unnoticed by contemporary audiences. It fnds amusing expression in a parodie of this opera by CharlesSimon Favart entitled Les Amours de Gogo, which was banned by the censors.24 Here, La Naïade and Le Ruisseau from the frst entrée of Les Fêtes d’Hébé become Une Cascade (waterfall) and Un Jet d’eau (water-spout), who indulge in such explicit exchanges as. Le Jet d’eau N’ayons qu’un même lit [Let’s have only one bed]. La Cascade Je ne coulerai que pour vous [I will fow only for you]. Le Jet d’eau Je ne jaillirai que pour vous [I will gush only for you].25 The fnal vaudeville, where each character traditionally sings a couplet, repeats the music of Rameau’s ‘Un jour passé dans les tourments’, thereby revealing in  the new lyrics the meaning (emphasized here in italic) that is possible to detect in the original lines: Toutes les leçons des mamans Condamnent les amants. Hélas ! Quelle folie ! Ah ! Je sais des moments, Ciel ! quels moments ! Où l’on oublie Toutes les leçons des mamans.26 [All our mothers’ lessons condemn lovers. Alas! what folly! Ah! I know the moments – Heavens! what moments! – when one forgets all our mothers’ lessons.] 24 See the manuscript leaf in F-Po, C pièce 640 (3), on which a chorus from this work bears the annotation: ‘Cette parodie est de 1739. Le Censeur s’est opposé à la représentation de cette pièce’. 25 Charles-Simon Favart, Les Amours de Gogo, manuscript, F-Po, Fonds Favart, Carton iii, 5, 29. See Flore Mele, Le Théâtre de Charles-Simon Favart. Histoire et inventaire des manuscrits (Paris: Champion, 2010), 139. 26 Favart, Les Amours de Gogo, 40.


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Even though it was never publicly performed, the text of this parody may well have been in circulation and would have helped popularize the music of Rameau’s gavotte.27 It shows how the double meaning, even if unintended by the librettist or composer, could be created in the process of reception by the public. Yet knowing that audiences were fond of misappropriating the words of an air, the authors must have anticipated this amusing activity from time to time and consciously provided opportunities for it.28

The gods as models: an allegory of love In opera as in the cantata, love is also expressed by way of allegory. The classical divinities, Venus and Cupid especially, become increasingly prominent in eighteenth-century opera. In paintings and poetry of the time, reference to ancient gods was a way of depicting the world of sexuality. In the domain of the fne arts, for example, Diderot criticized François Boucher for painting goddesses who looked like prostitutes.29 However, this also has a positive angle: under the pretext of mythology, Boucher shows us the reality of his time. In his paintings of Venus, we fnd images of nudity that are part of conventional representation, exemplifed by the naked fgures of the goddess herself and the nereids and tritons who surround her marine chariot in Le Triomphe de Vénus.30 However, we also fnd images where the goddess is in a pose that detracts from her majesty, evoking a woman of the fesh. This is the case with the numerous versions of Boucher’s Vénus endormie. In one preserved in Moscow,31 the presence of waves, cupids and a chariot drawn by doves – typical accessories associated with Venus in opera – allow us to recognise her immediately. Yet her pose, lying on her stomach, has none of the nobility we associate with a goddess. The theme of the sleeping Venus is depicted in Rameau’s opera Dardanus (1739 version), and even if the singer was dressed in a big hooped skirt, the audience perhaps had Boucher’s paintings in mind, especially since this painter was also the designer at the Opéra.32 27 On the citations of music by Rameau in contemporary parodies, see Raphaëlle Legrand, ‘Rameau parodié dans les opéras-comiques: la notion d’auteur au risque du vaudeville’, in Lorenzo Frassà (ed.), The Opéra-Comique in the Eighteenth and Nineteenth Centuries (Turnhout: Brepols, 2011), 205–19. 28 See David Charlton, ‘Opera at Home: Performance and Ownership in Eighteenth-Century France’, in Randi M. Selvik, Anne M. Fiskvik and Svein Gladsø (eds), Performing Arts in Changing Societies. Opera, Dance, and Theatre in European and Nordic Countries around 1800 (Abingdon & New York: Routledge, 2020), 22–37. 29 Denis Diderot, ‘Salon de 1765’, in J. Assézat (ed.), Œuvres complètes (Paris: Garnier, 1876), 10, 257. 30 Boucher, Le Triomphe de Vénus, 1740, oil on canvas, Nationalmuseum, Stockholm. 31 Boucher, Vénus endormie, oil on canvas, Pushkin Museum, Moscow. 32 See Nicole Lallement, ‘Boucher, François’, in Sylvie Bouissou, Pascal Denécheau and France Marchal-Ninosque (eds), Dictionnaire de l’Opéra de Paris sous l’Ancien Régime, vol. 1 (Paris: Garnier, 2019), 525–6.

Rameau’s Art d’aimer 73 The same is true for poetry. References to mythology allow the poet to enter into sexual matters. We can see this in Piron’s scandalous Ode à Priape and, in a more veiled manner, in the L’Art d’aimer by Gentil Bernard, librettist of Castor et Pollux. To quote from L’Art d’aimer, a clear imitation of Ovid’s Ars amatoria: Là fgurés par des marbres fdèles Les dieux amants sont offerts pour modèles. Sous mille aspects leurs groupes amoureux De la déesse [Vénus] expriment tous les jeux.33 [In the shape of truthful marble, the lover-gods serve as models. In a thousand guises, their amorous groupings express all [Venus’s] games.] These lines are echoed in Rameau’s Les Boréades: C’est des dieux qu’on doit apprendre L’art d’aimer et d’être heureux.34 [It is from the gods that we must learn the art of loving and of being happy.] For anyone with a classical education and familiar with Ovid, Horace and Virgil, these pagan gods were very much alive and food for the imagination. In Rameau’s operas, all the gods are involved in love affairs. Even a goddess as chaste as Diane protects the lovers Hippolyte and Aricie.35 But it is Venus and Cupid who appear most frequently, both in the prologues and as protagonists in the operas.36 And Venus’s kingdom of Cythera was not too far away from Paris: indeed, in the popular mind it was often confused with the gardens of Saint-Cloud alongside the Seine to the west of the city:37 in the prologue of Les Fêtes d’Hébé, the goddess of youth Hebe herself decides explicitly to settle down on the banks of the Seine, along with Cupid and the Graces. In this respect, Rameau’s allegorical prologues are much more captivating than they may seem. The Dardanus prologue, for example, is an enactment of the appropriate degree of jealousy. When Jealousy is too strong, it disrupts all of the Pleasures. But when it is absent, the whole kingdom falls asleep. The idea of moderate jealousy as a stimulus for love is a commonplace topic of the libertine 33 34 35 36

Pierre-Joseph Bernard, L’Art d’aimer et poésies diverses (Paris: Lacombe, 1775), 44–5. Jean-Philippe Rameau, Les Boréades, manuscript, F-Pn, Vmb ms. 4, p. 72. Laurenti, Valeurs morales et religieuses sur la scène de l’Académie Royale de Musique 252–5. Georgia Cowart, ‘Watteau’s “Pilgrimage to Cythera” and the Subversive Utopia of the Opera-Ballet’, The Art Bulletin 83/3 (September 2001), 461–78. See also Cowart, ‘Of Women, Sex and Folly: Opera under the Old Regime’, Cambridge Opera Journal 6/3 (November 1994), 205–20, and Anita Hardeman, Re-presenting Vénus: Music, Drama, and Allegory in André Campra and Antoine Danchet’s ‘Hésione’ (PhD diss., University of Western Ontario, 2010). 37 Robert Tomlinson, La Fête galante: Watteau et Marivaux (Geneva/Paris: Droz, 1991), 116–18.


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novel. Thus in Crébillon’s Lettres de la marquise de M... (1732) we read, ‘Un peu de perfdie est un raffnement d’amour : quand on ne craint pas de se perdre, on s’aime avec trop de langueur’ [‘A little deception is a refnement of love: when we are not frightened of losing each other, we love with too much languor’].38 Like many opera prologues, the one to Dardanus can thus be read as a lover’s manual. Allegory can work in both directions: eighteenth-century men and women imagine love relationships through the characteristics of pagan deities, but on the other hand the pictorial and musical representations of these deities, as Diderot observed in Boucher, take on the features of lovers from the time of Louis xv.

Music of desire, music of fulflment Turning to those heroic princes and princesses who are the protagonists of opera, the sexual references may be veiled but they are nonetheless present. Love is most often the catalyst for action, even more so than the quest for glory; or at least it is the reward for the protagonists’ heroic behaviour.39 The denouement leads to the consecration of the happy couple’s marriage, which can be seen as a focal point, as if Rameau’s operas were organized by a sort of ‘sexual fatality’, a term coined by Jean Dagen in his analysis of the structure of Crébillon’s novels, as the inevitable outcome of the plot.40 This is quite different from the tragedies of spoken theatre, where the dramatic climax leads to death or self-transcendence. The rejoicing and festivities that follow the denouement may be considered a metaphor of the lovers’ sexual union. And throughout the opera, even if the protagonists express their love with the elevation appropriate to nobility, this love also embodies a certain amount of sensuality. In Zoroastre, for instance, the eponymous hero turns to his beloved Amélite and explicitly says, ‘Vous enchantez mes sens, vous ravissez mon ame’.41 (‘You enchant my senses, you ravish my soul’.) It should be noted here that the ‘senses’ are affected before the ‘soul’, since it is undoubtedly by way of the senses that one reaches the soul (even if we do not take the word ‘soul’ to have the same sexual connotation that it has in the libertine novel). Rameau’s comic works such as Platée and Les Paladins play with the rules of tragédie en musique, exaggerating the sexual connotations and partly revealing them.42 In Les Paladins, a duo for Nérine and Orcan adopts standard operatic 38 Claude-Prosper Jolyot de Crébillon, Lettres de la marquise de M… au comte de R… (Geneva: Slatkine, 1995), 179. See also Bernard, L’Art d’aimer et poésies diverses, 35–6. 39 Laurenti, Valeurs morales et religieuses sur la scène de l’Académie Royale de Musique, 83–6. 40 Dagen, in Claude-Prosper Jolyot de Crébillon, Les Égarements du cœur et de l’esprit (Paris: Garnier-Flammarion, 1985), 10–11. 41 Louis de Cahusac, Zoroastre (Paris: Delormel, 1756), 34. 42 As we have seen with reference to Les Amours de Gogo, one of the greatest comic effects of operatic parodies is also to exaggerate the sexual connotations of the target opera. See Judith Le Blanc, Avatars d’opéras, Parodies et circulation des airs chantés sur les scènes parisiennes (Paris: Classiques Garnier, 2014).

Rameau’s Art d’aimer 75 terminology but reorients it towards a transparent erotic innuendo, by the comic accumulation of words with potential double meanings and by their excessive repetition in the musical setting: Nérine C’est trop soupirer : Je veux déclarer L’ardeur qui m’enfamme. Ah ! Je sens mon âme Prête à s’égarer. Nérine & Orcan Non, non, je ne puis dire Quelle ardeur, quel délire, Quel transport agite mes sens ! Dis-moi quel transport agite mes sens ? Quelle ardeur, quel délire, Quel transport, quel martyre, Ah! quel trouble je ressens !43 [Nérine: It’s too much to hope for: I wish to declare the ardour that infames me. Ah! I feel my heart ready to go astray. Nérine & Orcan: No, no, I cannot say what ardour, what delight, what transport agitates my senses! Tell me what transport agitates my senses? What ardour, what delight, what transport, what martyrdom. Ah! What trouble I feel!] Such parodic revelation by exaggeration in Les Paladins (and there are similar instances in Platée) suggests that the words of serious operas might be less ethereal than they may seem. In the duet that often reunites the lovers at the denouement, Rameau highlights with acutely sensual music the expressions that we have begun to recognise as evoking sexual union. Perhaps the most striking example is in the fnal duo of Les Boréades. Que ces moments sont doux ! Quel transport ! L’heureux jour ! Mon bonheur ranime ma fame. 43 Jean-François Duplat de Monticourt, Les Paladins (Paris: Delormel, 1760), 33–4. On the above passage, see Joël-Marie Fauquet, ‘Commentaire musical et littéraire’, ‘Petit glossaire paladin, érotisme’, L’Avant-Scène Opéra 219 (Rameau, Les Paladins, mars–avril 2004), 32–3, 85–6. In addition, Platée and Les Paladins enact the sexual ambiguity of certain characters – especially, in the latter, that of the fairy Manto, a euphemized and acceptable version at the Opéra of the male slave who, in Ariosto’s plot (reworked by La Fontaine), demands a sexual service from Anselme.


Raphaëlle Legrand Tous les mouvements de mon âme Sont des triomphes pour l’amour.44 [How sweet are these moments! What transport! Joyful day! My happiness rekindles my fame. All the movements of my soul are triumphs for love.]

This duo (Example 4.2) exemplifes the sexual-union metaphor with several striking features: – In a tonal context of D major and minor, this miniature duo is in B minor. Such a key shift, in the context of a fnal scene characterized by tonal unity, creates a sense of an enclave, of a momentary escape. – There is no introduction. The duo begins abruptly, as if the soprano Alphise just cannot wait to jump in. Her frst words refer to those equivocal ‘moments’. In fact, almost all of the nouns – ‘moments’, ‘transport’, ‘bonheur’, ‘fame’, ‘mouvements’, ‘âme’, ‘triomphes’ – have a double meaning in libertine literature. – As usual, there is a long vocalize on the word ‘triomphes’. Here, however, there is an interesting rhythmic feature: the triplets sung by Alphise against Abaris’s quadruple semiquaver fgures create a complex rhythmic effect, like the embrace of two different beings. – Most surprising, after the fnal perfect cadence in B minor, there is an extremely dissonant passage in a much slower tempo, ending with a powerful suspension on an imperfect cadence, giving the impression that the ecstatic lovers are hovering on the brink of bliss.45 Rameau himself was convinced that harmony, even without the help of words, could render all shades of feelings. In his Traité de l’harmonie, he goes into detail about the dissonances suitable for painting the different expressions of love: Without question, harmony can excite in us different emotions, depending on which chords are used. There are chords that are sad, languishing, tender, pleasant, cheerful and surprising; there are also certain chord progressions that express the same emotions […]. Sweetness and tenderness 44 Rameau, Les Boréades, v, 5, 191–2. On this duet, see Raphaëlle Legrand, Rameau et le pouvoir de l’harmonie (Paris: Cité de la Musique, Les Editions, 2007), 116. For a further example, see the duet ‘Que je vous aime’ in the fnal scene of Naïs. 45 A similar intensely dissonant suspension on the dominant to express desire can be seen in the entrée ‘L’Enlèvement d’Adonis’ in Les Fêtes de l’Hymen et de l’Amour, at the moment in the pantomime when Diane ‘gazes at the shepherd [Endymion] with whom she is falling in love’ [‘contemple le berger dont elle devient amoureuse’]. See Jean-Philippe Rameau, Les Surprises de l’Amour, version 1757–1758, ed. Sylvie Bouissou (Paris: Billaudot, 1996). For an analysis of this passage, see Raphaëlle Legrand, ‘Le ballet d’action avant Noverre: Rameau et l’écriture sonore du geste’, Musicorum 10 (2011), 251–2.

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Example 4.2 Rameau, Les Boréades, v, 5, ‘Que ces moments sont doux’

are sometimes quite well expressed by prepared minor dissonances. Tender plaints sometimes call for dissonances by borrowing and by supposition, minor rather than major; placing in the inner rather than the outer parts any major dissonances that may be encountered there.46 Returning to the ‘Calme des Sens’ in Dardanus (Example 4.3) this extremely tranquil music seems to capture the fulflment of desires after an explosion of pleasure. It recalls the passage in Les Fêtes d’Hébé where Mercure sings the ‘Musette tendre’ after a virtuosic ariette. If we pursue this analysis, we could say that Rameau’s music contains music of desire, with dissonances; music of pleasure in which we may locate the many ariettes glorifying amorous triumph; and music of fulflment, which is very serene and features drooping musical lines. More surprising, we notice in this textless dance an exact reference to the sung gavotte from Les Fêtes d’Hébé analysed above, and precisely the passage with the equivocal words ‘il est des moments’ (see the brackets in Example 4.1, p. 71). This could, of course, be a coincidence or an unconscious reminiscence. 46 Jean-Philippe Rameau, Traité de l'harmonie (Paris: Ballard, 1722), 141–2: Il est certain que l’Harmonie peut émouvoir en nous différentes passions, à proportion des Accords qu’on y emploie. Il y a des Accords tristes, languissants, tendres, agréables, gais, et surprenant ; il y a encore une certaine suite d’accords pour exprimer les mêmes passions ; […] La douceur, & la tendresse s’expriment quelquefois assez bien par des dissonances mineures préparées. Les plaintes tendres demandent quelquefois des Dissonances par emprunt, et par supposition, plutôt mineures que majeures ; faisant régner les majeures qui peuvent s’y rencontrer, dans les parties du milieu, plutôt que dans les extrêmes.


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Example 4.3 Rameau, Dardanus, iv, 2, ‘Calme des sens’

But given that these two operas were premiered within months of each other (21 May 1739 for Les Fêtes d’Hébé, 19 November of the same year for Dardanus), the intertextual effect was very probably deliberate.47 Indeed, the Air tendre entitled ‘Calme des sens’ seems to be a musical development in triple metre of the duple-time gavotte in Les Fêtes d’Hébé and even a development of the poeticoerotico-musical notion of the famous ‘moment’. This is all the more so because the preceding air, sung by a Dream (Songe), more or less repeats the general idea of the vocal gavotte in Les Fêtes d’Hébé, by employing the ambiguous word: En attendant l’heureux moment Vous savez qu’on vous aime ; un si doux sentiment Aide à supporter bien des peines.48 [In awaiting the happy moment, you know that you are loved; such a sweet feeling helps endure much pain.] In the divertissement for the Songes in Dardanus, the juxtaposition of violent music to evoke the monster who must be fought and soft music to evoke the pleasures of love may be understood as a representation of the hero’s future glory and his recompense: marriage to the princess Iphise. The whole divertissement can also be heard as a great metaphor for an erotic dream, especially since Dardanus is asleep in Venus’s chariot (a feature that made the parodists laugh, since they imagined that in this case the hero had much better things to do than sleep).49 This chain of contrasting musical movements, which echoes the stages in the act of love, was later evoked in Dorat’s libertine novel Les Sacrifces de l’amour. 47 For similar intertextual effects, notably in Dardanus, see Raphaëlle Legrand, ‘Rameau des villes et Rameau des champs: itinéraires de quelques mélodies ramistes, de la bergerie au vaudeville’, Musurgia 9 (2002), 7–18. 48 Rameau, Dardanus, 119 and Rameau, Dardanus: version 1739, 247. 49 See Raphaëlle Legrand, ‘Les Voies de l’intertextualité dans Dardanus, parodie de Favart, Panard et Parmentier’, Timbre und Vaudeville, Zur Geschischte und Problematik einer populären Gattung im 17. und 18. Jahrhundert. Bericht über den Kongreß in Bad Homburg 1996, ed. Herbert Schneider (Hildesheim: Olms, 1999), 205–25.

Rameau’s Art d’aimer 79 This includes a surprising scene where a refned lover hires a musical ensemble to play during an entire night of love. La musique fut vive, gaie, pétulante, quelquefois même un peu bacchique ; elle se radoucit peu à peu, et nous indiqua le moment d’entrer dans le boudoir. […] Mon orchestre, alors, part comme un éclair. Une musique animée, rapide, expressive, fgure la chaleur, la vivacité, et l’intéressante répétition des premières caresses. Ce calme passionné qui leur succède, cette langueur, ce recueillement de l’âme, où l’œil détaille ce que la bouche a dévoré, ces moments où l’on jouit mieux, parce qu’on est moins pressé de jouir, sont imités par cette harmonie douce, languissante, entrecoupée, qui ressemble à des soupirs. Enfn, de transports en transports, d’extases en extases, je parvins à lasser mes musiciens.50 [The music was lively, cheerful, petulant, sometimes even a little bacchic; it softened little by little and showed us the moment to enter the boudoir. […] My orchestra, then, starts immediately. An animated, fast, expressive music depicts the warmth, liveliness and stimulating repetition of the frst caresses. This passionate calm that succeeds them, this languor, this contemplation of the soul, in which the eye itemizes what the mouth has devoured, those moments which one enjoys better because one is less in a hurry to enjoy, are imitated by this soft, languishing, disjointed harmony which resembles sighs. Finally, from transport to transport, from ecstasy to ecstasy, I managed to tire my musicians.] It is not quite clear whether the musical ensemble follows the lovers or whether the lovers are, in fact, led by the musicians. Those trained in double readings will note the equivocal nature of the word ‘musiciens’ in the last sentence. It might even apply to the narrator’s sexual organs. The reader then wonders if the music described by Dorat was really music or should be fully understood as a libertine metaphor. Be that as it may, after construing this text, we no longer hear the fnal divertissements of eighteenth-century operas in quite the same way. Similarly, after reading the Diderot passage quoted above, we cannot help exploring Rameau’s music to fnd ‘the delicate nuances between the affectionate and the voluptuous, the voluptuous and the passionate, the passionate and the lascivious’. Nevertheless, one cannot help wondering whether such a musical analysis is legitimate or an over-interpretation. Here we are faced with the essential mechanism of erotic art that is based on equivocation. The responsibility for discovering sexual signifcation is in the hands of the reader or the audience. It is therefore deceptive, and we are always left wondering if we have gone too far in our interpretation. This device is really a sophisticated game. It belongs to an era of libertinage that is profoundly joyful, and quite different from that of Laclos and Sade. It is very possible that Rameau, who shows such humour in his music, is playing with us as well. Translation: Natalie Lithwick and Graham Sadler 50 Claude-Joseph Dorat, Les Sacrifces de l’amour (Amsterdam/Paris: Delalain, 1771), 105–6.


Re-assessing attributions to Louis de Cahusac of the librettos of Rameau’s Io, Zéphire and Nélée et Mirthis Thomas Soury

Rameau was depicted by his contemporaries as a violent individual who was heavy-handed with his librettists and had little interest in the literary texts he set. Nowadays, however, his collaboration especially with Louis de Cahusac has attracted fresh attention, revealing the composer to be receptive to the ideas of his most faithful librettist.1 The two men worked together on at least seven operas,2 attempting a tacit reform by orienting the genre towards a spectacle that exploited the supernatural through the use of elaborate theatrical devices of various kinds. Given the extent of this collaboration, musicologists have often proposed Cahusac as the librettist of three actes de ballet by Rameau that were unperformed in the composer’s lifetime: Io, Zéphire and Nélée et Mirthis. These works were not staged at the Académie Royale de Musique or at any of the court theatres; hence, no libretto or score was published, nor has any documentary evidence survived to identify their librettist(s). As with Les Boréades, it was tempting to suppose that these uncompleted and abandoned projects were also the fruit of a collaboration between these same two artists. In support of this idea, scholars were nevertheless reduced to hypotheses. Sylvie Bouissou, Thomas Green and Graham Sadler have each advanced arguments in favour of Cahusac based on studies of the musical sources and their context.3 In order to test their hypotheses, the

1 See Laura Naudeix, ‘Louis de Cahusac: du poète d’opéra au metteur en scène’, in Mara Fazio and Pierre Frantz (eds), La Fabrique du théâtre. Avant la mise en scène (1650–1880) (Paris: Desjonquères, 2010), 378–88; Thomas Soury, ‘Louis de Cahusac librettiste et théoricien: un collaborateur majeur à l’œuvre de Rameau’, Revue de musicologie 99/1 (2013), 33–60. 2 Les Fêtes de Polymnie (1745), Les Fêtes de l’Hymen et de l’Amour (1747), Zaïs (1748), Naïs (1749), Zoroastre (1749), La Naissance d’Osiris (1754) and Anacréon (1754). The anonymous libretto of Les Boréades, unperformed in the eighteenth century, is attributed to Cahusac in two independent sources; see Catherine Kintzler, Jean-Philippe Rameau: splendeur et naufrage de l’esthétique du plaisir à l’âge classique (2nd edn, Paris: Minerve, 1988), 210–11. 3 See Bouissou, Jean-Philippe Rameau, musicien des Lumières (Paris: Fayard, 2014), 790–802; Sylvie Bouissou, Denis Herlin and Pascal Denécheau, Jean-Philippe Rameau, catalogue thématique des œuvres musicales, ii (Paris: CNRS Éditions, 2003), 309; Thomas R. Green, Early Rameau Sources: Studies in the Origins and Datings of the Operas and Other Musical Works (doctoral diss., Brandeis University, 1992), ii, 958–71; Thomas R. Green, ‘Les Fragments

DOI: 10.4324/9781315554990-8

Attributions to Louis de Cahusac


present chapter offers a re-appraisal of these actes de ballet, exploring the extent to which they bear the hallmarks of this author’s authentic librettos. It is thus instructive to summarize certain recurrent characteristics in Cahusac’s librettos.4 Although he was much criticised as a poet, even his harshest critics conceded his ability to make the divertissement an integral part of the plot. To achieve this alchemy, Cahusac strove to improve two things: – The internal organisation of the plot, so that the various arts that contributed to French opera could fourish naturally in the course of the performance. Thus dance is never introduced without justifcation, and the chorus never sings for its own sake; rather, there must be some dramatic imperative underpinning the performers’ actions. – The practical implementation of these different arts to lend visual and aural credibility, thereby following the principle of imitation so dear to the French classical theatre. This is why Cahusac took an interest in the design of stage machines and costumes, and advocated the use of danse d’action, in which the dancers’ mimed actions related in some way to the main plot. Cahusac’s various theoretical writings emphasize this taste for expressive and dramatic dance, which the author distinguishes from danse simple. He developed the usage of two categories of elements: the dramatic and the decorative. This distinction also applies to the use of chorus and stage machinery, and more generally to the divertissement as a whole. The dramatic elements, which serve to maintain the spectator’s interest, were confned to the body of the work, while the decorative ones were reserved for the fnal divertissement once the plot was resolved.5 It is thus possible to identify a four-part theoretical structure in a typical Cahusac one-act ballet – exposition, dramatic divertissement, crux and its denouement, and decorative divertissement.6 Sometimes, the exposition itself may take the form of a divertissement in order to get straight to the heart of the subject. (This confguration is particularly well adapted to prologues, where plot development is restricted.) The exposition leads to a frst divertissement which I label ‘dramatic’, since it could not be removed without affecting our understanding of the story. It is in this section that the chorus and dancers interact with the principal characters. In creating tension, this divertissement often leads to a central dramatic twist. The denouement then calls

d’opéras dans la partition autographe de Zéphyre’, in Jérôme de La Gorce (ed.), Jean-Philippe Rameau, colloque international (Paris and Geneva: Champion-Slatkine, 1987), 265–76 and Graham Sadler, ‘A Re-examination of Rameau’s Self-Borrowings’, in John Hajdu Heyer (ed.), Jean-Baptiste Lully and the Music of the French Baroque: Essays in Honor of James R. Anthony (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1989), 259–89. 4 See Soury, ‘Louis de Cahusac librettiste et théoricien’. 5 Louis de Cahusac, La Danse ancienne et moderne ou Traité historique de la danse (The Hague: J. Neaulme, 1754), iii, 157. 6 Ibid., 161.


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for elaborate music and staging involving orchestral symphonies and, more often than not, stage machinery. The act fnishes with a second, purely decorative divertissement in which lighter, amorous airs and choruses alternate with la danse simple. While this structure is not exclusive to Cahusac, his systematic use and theorisation of it constitutes evidence that allows for comparison with librettos whose author is unidentifed. With these elements in mind, let us explore the three anonymous librettos in turn, examining the extent to which they display the Cahusac style.

Io: a precursor of Platée? The history of Io remains a mystery. The sole surviving sources are a manuscript score and separate parts in the Decroix collection copied in the frst decades after the composer’s death.7 Decroix, fearing that Rameau’s unpublished works would be lost, undertook the task of having fair copies of them prepared.8 In a letter of 27 July 1777 thanking Rameau’s son for supplying scores and other materials, Decroix reveals that he was returning the score of an ‘acte de ballet entitled Io, without divertissement’.9 The surviving score and parts do indeed lack a divertissement. For that reason and because of its presence among the composer’s posthumous papers, this work was long thought to be one of Rameau’s fnal compositions.10 However, Sadler has drawn attention to a textual and musical similarity between the duo for Apollon and Io, ‘Jupiter lance la foudre’ (Io, scene 4), and duos in Rameau’s La Princesse de Navarre (Act iii, scene 5) and Les Fêtes de Polymnie (prologue, scene 1), both frst performed in 1745.11 Given that the Io duo is musically less polished that those in the other works, Sadler supposed that it was the earliest version and hence that this work was probably written during the early 1740s, at a time when Rameau had distanced himself from the Académie Royale de Musique. Given the similarity between the texts of the duos in Io and Les Fêtes de Polymnie, whose libretto is by Cahusac, Sadler raised the possibility that both were by the same librettist. More recently, however, Bouissou has noted a striking correspondence between the plot of Io and that of Platée (1745), on a libretto by Jacques Autreau.12 The plot of Io reads like a sketch for that of Platée: the nymph Io is courted by Apollon; a group of forest dwellers arrive; but before they can perform their divertissement, the proceedings are interrupted by La Folie carrying the lyre 7 F-Pn, Vm2. 316, the score from which the part-books, F-Pn, Vm2. 324, were copied. 8 See Jacques-Joseph-Marie Decroix, L’Ami des arts (Amsterdam: Les Marchands de Nouveautés, 1776), 168. On the Decroix collection, see Laurence Decobert, ‘Decroix et sa collection des œuvres de Rameau’, in Sylvie Bouissou, Graham Sadler and Solveig Serre (eds), Rameau entre arts et sciences (Paris: École des Chartes, 2016), 291–325. 9 F-Pn, Rés. Vmc. Ms. 10: ‘acte de ballet intitulé Io sans divertissement’. 10 Paul-Marie Masson, L’Opéra de Rameau (Paris: H. Laurens, 1930), 86. 11 Sadler, ‘A Re-examination of Rameau’s Self-Borrowings’, 273–5. 12 Bouissou, Jean-Philippe Rameau, 800–2.

Attributions to Louis de Cahusac


that she has just stolen from Apollon. While this observation supports Sadler’s re-dating of the former work, it weakens his attribution to Cahusac. Yet despite the obvious similarity between these two works, it seems unlikely that Autreau was the librettist of Io, since this work is not included in his Œuvres complètes published in 1749.13 In an exhaustive study of the genesis of Platée, Elizabeth Bartlet reveals that Autreau had written this libretto in the 1730s.14 But his poor health and fnancial diffculties led to the Platée libretto being shelved, and the project did not resurface until the end of 1743. It is nevertheless possible that Rameau had already taken an interest in the plot of Platée and, assuming that Autreau had abandoned the project, asked another librettist to re-work it as Io. If so, however, there are several reasons for ruling out Cahusac as librettist. First, the subject matter does not match his known preferences. Of his spoken plays, the tragedies Pharamond (1736) and Le Comte de Warwick (1742) are derived respectively from French and English history, while the comedies Zénéïde (1743) and L’Algérien (1744), both contemporary with the Io project, already reveal predilections that would fourish in his frst librettos for Rameau – namely, the enchanted world of Middle-Eastern mythology (‘la féerie’) in the fnal entrée of Les Fêtes de Polymnie and exoticism in Les Fêtes de l’Hymen et de l’Amour. If the presence in Io of the standard Greco-Roman mythology is in itself inconclusive (it is found in several of Cahusac’s other librettos), the fact that this does not motivate the supernatural effects for which he was renowned is more anomalous. But it is especially the structural organisation of Io that undermines the attribution to Cahusac. In its length, the exposition does not match his preference for rapidly introducing the frst divertissement. Some 175 lines of verse precede the arrival of the chorus and dancers, whereas in a typical Cahusac libretto this divertissement is reached within 80 to 100 lines. Moreover, while Cahusac uses dramatic divertissements to generate action, the plot of Io evolves solely through dialogue. Apart from a storm, no external event disrupts the exchanges between Jupiter, Apollon and Io. The collective entity represented by  the chorus and dancers seems irrelevant to the plot. Cahusac well understood the dramatic interest produced by connecting such entities to the destinies of the protagonists as a way of justifying the use of chorus and dance. The Cahusacian ‘dramatic’ divertissement, often centred on a religious ceremony or an artistic or sporting competition, presents a challenge that the principal characters must meet. Although we do not know the subject matter of the Io divertissement, since the manuscript sources break off just before it would have begun, the arrival of ‘les Grâces, les Plaisirs et les Jeux déguisés’ seems not to create the necessary dramatic tension to advance the plot. Moreover, the

13 Œuvres de Monsieur Autreau, ed. Charles-Etienne Pesselier (Paris: Briasson, 1749), 4 vols. 14 Jean-Philippe Rameau, Platée, ed. M. Elizabeth C. Bartlet, Opera Omnia Rameau, OOR iv.10 (Bonneuil-Matours: Société Jean-Philippe Rameau, 2005), lxxiii.


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character of La Folie, despite its resemblance to her equivalent in Platée, merely introduces a zany diversion that does not herald the resolution of the action. Unfortunately, the work’s incomplete state precludes any solid conclusions. How, then, do we explain the presence of variant versions of the Io duet in Les Fêtes de Polymnie and La Princesse de Navarre? In fact, it would be simple enough for Rameau to relocate this ensemble in any scene representing Jupiter’s anger, and Cahusac, to satisfy the composer’s wish to re-use the duo, could easily adapt the Io text to the requirements of his own plot. Nevertheless, in the light of the above remarks, it seems improbable that the Io libretto is by Cahusac.15

Zéphire: apogee of the Cahusacian ballet? The origins of this acte de ballet remain equally obscure.16 The sole source is the autograph manuscript.17 From the presence of a ritournelle at the start of its opening scene, the work was evidently conceived as an entrée for a ballet rather than as an autonomous acte de ballet. Thomas Green has identifed extracts from Les Boréades and the earliest version of Zoroastre on the obverse of collettes (pasteovers), leading him to deduce a date of composition of between 1747 and 1759.18 At frst sight, the opera displays no features that might point to Cahusac – supernatural or exotic elements, for instance, or allusions to freemasonry.19 Let us nevertheless examine the work’s structure in relation to the theoretical model discussed above. Like the entrée ‘L’Histoire’ in Les Fêtes de Polymnie, which begins with Séleucus’s victory celebration, the exposition of Zéphire incorporates a divertissement. In the opening scene, Zéphire, god of the West Wind, reveals his love for the nymph Cloris, who has dedicated herself to the cult of Diane. The other nymphs arrive to celebrate to return of the dawn (scene  2). Cloris then prays to Diane, who has neglected her priestesses. The nymphs are about to depart when Zéphire, who has remained hidden, causes fowers to blossom as a way of tempting Cloris to stay. He pays court to her, but she rejects him since, as a nymph of Diane, she must renounce love (scene 3). When the nymphs surprise Cloris and Zéphire together, they attempt to rescue her from this situation (scene 4). The librettist now introduces a divertissement of rare complexity, the dramatic purpose of which is to entice the nymphs away from the cult of Diane. Constructed in two parts, it incorporates a divertissement

15 While Bouissou ( Jean-Philippe Rameau, 801) suggests Le Valois d’Orville as the possible librettist, on the grounds that he is credited with revising Autreau’s Platée libretto, Bartlet (see note 14 above), lxxvi, shows that the inexperienced Le Valois d’Orville was recruited to this project at a very late stage and in only a minor capacity. 16 See Bouissou, Jean-Philippe Rameau, 796–800; Green, ‘Les Fragments d’opéras dans la partition autographe de Zéphyre’, 265–76 and Green, Early Rameau Sources, ii, 952–7. 17 Rameau, Zéphire, F-Pn, Ms. 372. 18 Green, ‘Les Fragments d’opéras dans la partition autographe de Zéphyre’, 274–5. 19 On the masonic allusions in Cahusac’s librettos, see Kintzler, Jean-Philippe Rameau. Splendeur et naufrage de l’esthétique du plaisir à l’âge classique, especially 195–203.

Attributions to Louis de Cahusac


within a divertissement. The ballet movements at the start of scene 5 serve to prepare the nymphs for the real divertissement, since Zéphire calls for an entertainment enacting the seduction of a nymph by a zephyr.20 This functions as a dramatic divertissement, since the motivation for Zéphire’s play-within-aplay is to convince Cloris to surrender to his love. But here, the librettist plays masterfully with the conventions governing operatic divertissements. While Cahusac was normally averse to divertissements in which the principal characters were mere observers, the librettist of Zéphire cleverly manages to include a divertissement that is dramatic even though the principals do not participate. Unlike the ceremony in ‘Canope’ (Les Fêtes de l’Hymen) where Memphis is prepared for sacrifce, or the one in honour of Cupid in Zaïs when Zaïs and Zélidie are instructed to test their mutual love, Cloris and Zéphire remain spectators. The divertissement nevertheless achieves its aim: Cloris falls in love with Zéphire to the extent that, at the arrival of Diane which provokes the denouement, they initially fear a rebuke from her. But the goddess confesses that she too is in love. The happy couple are then united in a decorative fnal divertissement. Thus the work’s structure and skilful integration of the divertissement, even with the somewhat unusual device of a play-within-aplay, strongly support the attribution to Cahusac. The deployment of the chorus and dancers is likewise in line with Cahusac’s practice. To enhance the visual credibility of the danced confrontations between nymphs and zephyrs, Rameau divides the chorus into two equivalent groups: nymphs sung by the women, and zephyrs by the men. The RameauCahusac operas often contain such conficts between choral groups that provide an opportunity to put them into action – huntsmen versus nymphs in ‘La Féerie’ (Les Fêtes de Polymnie), Amazons versus Egyptians in ‘Osiris’ (Les Fêtes de l’Hymen), Gods versus Titans in Naïs. By such means, Cahusac sought to fuse the singers and dancers into a single entity, so that ensemble movement was no longer reserved for the dancers alone. In Lully and Quinault’s day the choral singers had been required to perform some degree of gestural movement, and Cahusac, as a life-long admirer of Quinault, was keen to revive this practice.21 In Zéphire the danced choruses at the arrival of the nymphs (scene 2) represent an attempt in this direction; yet it is in the dramatic divertissement that this fusion is at its most interesting. At the start of scene 4, the chorus of nymphs is initially off-stage when the nymphs of the corps de ballet make their entrance, but then the singers burst onto the stage, only to discover Cloris and Zéphire together. Even more striking, at the start of the following scene where the nymphs try to fee, a stage direction indicates: ‘intersecting fights of the zephyrs. The zephyrs

20 For the sake of clarity, I differentiate between the spelling of Zéphire, the protagonist, and his followers, the zephyrs. 21 See Rebecca Harris-Warrick, Dance and Drama in French Baroque Opera: A History (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2016), 36–40, 75–7.


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confront each other during the accompanying symphonie’.22 At the bottom of the page Rameau adds, ‘The men of the chorus, or the dancers, will enter during this symphonie to halt the nymphs’.23 Such ‘action’ choruses show that the roles of each group were not conceived in terms of their different disciplines but were guided by the dramatic demands of the work. Here, men play the role of zephyrs, whether as singers or dancers. In sum, Zéphire reveals several particularly interesting choreographic situations. In the absence of a printed libretto, we do not know whether any of the dance-sequences were actually labelled ballet fguré, as was Cahusac’s practice. Still, Rameau’s autograph score includes several clues that the work incorporated the danse d’action advocated by this librettist. Over and above the ballet movements whose titles give an idea of their choreography (‘Air un peu gai pour les groupes de Fleurs’, p. 14; ‘Sarabande pour les Fleurs, Nymphes et Zéphirs rendant hommage à Flore’, p. 26), certain dances bear annotations confrming the existence of a scenario. The frst occurs in scene 5, where the nymphs take fight. Here Rameau adds an explanation of the meaning of certain letters in the score: ‘f. signife fuite, o. opposition, e. ensemble’.24 This danced confrontation between the nymphs and zephyrs corroborates Cahusac’s practices. Towards the end of the fnal divertissement we fnd the ballet movement that comes closest to Cahusac’s conceptions. Zéphire’s ariette ‘Vole Amour, brise leurs chaînes’ is followed by a sarabande linked to a recitative-like accompanied air, ‘Voyez ces amants heureux’. This composite form, itself typical of the new aesthetic pioneered by Rameau and Cahusac, bears numerous annotations (‘Flûtes avec lesquelles le Zéphir coure [sic] à la Nymphe’, ‘La Nymphe fuit’, etc.) that confrm the presence of a scenario. While danced choruses were not uncommon in French opera, it was rare for dance to accompany an air sung by one of the principals. Given that Cahusac was experimenting with new uses for the dance, it is diffcult to imagine this confguration being conceived by any other librettist. Indeed, the previous page of the manuscript bears the outline of a ballet fguré in a hand other than Rameau’s, which Thomas Green has identifed as that of Cahusac25: At frst, after the ariette, a nymph will fee from a zephyr. A cupid will halt this nymph by showing her his faming torch. The zephyr will take advantage of the nymph’s surprise; he will pursue her, and during the airs in diverse metres, the cupid, nymph and zephyr will dance a frst ballet

22 Rameau, Zéphire, autograph manuscript, 37: ‘Vols croisés des Zéphirs. Les Zéphirs s’opposent sur cette symph[onie] d’accomp[agnement]’. 23 Ibid.: ‘Les hommes des ch[œu]rs, ou les danseurs, entreront sur la symphonie pour arrester les nymphes’. 24 Rameau, Zéphire, autograph manuscript, 38. For further discussion of this scene, see the chapter by Hubert Hazebroucq and Rebecca Harris-Warrick in this volume (Chapter 15), pp. 243–63. 25 Green, Early Rameau Sources, i, 328–31.

Attributions to Louis de Cahusac


movement. At the end of this movement, the cupid will withdraw as if in triumph, and the zephyr and nymph will continue to dance during the ensuing vocal air.26 Hence, while the fragmentary nature of these sources makes it dangerous to endorse the attribution of Zéphire on such evidence alone, the present study hopes to have confrmed Cahusac’s paternity of a libretto that stimulated Rameau to compose some of his fnest ballet music.

Nélée et Mirthis: a new type of ballet? At frst sight, the attribution of this acte de ballet seems self-evident. Rameau’s autograph score, the sole source of the work, bears a deleted alternative title: Les Beaux Jours de l’Amour,27 a title also found on the composer’s autograph manuscript of La Naissance d’Osiris.28 That the libretto of the latter is by Cahusac is beyond doubt.29 Nevertheless, the subject matter and style of this libretto are frankly untypical of Cahusac. True, we fnd an exposition, a frst divertissement, a crux, denouement and second divertissement; yet the exposition is uncharacteristically long, and the frst divertissement creates little tension, merely delaying the denouement. Furthermore, the principal characters do not really interact with the collective entities represented by the chorus and dancers, who present a divertissement-performance comprising an ‘Entrée de triomphe’, a chorus and a lengthy chaconne. Unlike that of Zéphire, the source provides no scenario for the ballet movements, though it is easy to imagine a ceremony in honour of the Argian Games in which the Muses and the people of Argos celebrate Nélée’s victory. Although Rameau and Cahusac’s Naïs had already used a chaconne to accompany a ballet fguré, the present movement generates no particular dramatic interest and does not infuence the course of the plot. The chorus and dancers are merely decorative accessories that could be eliminated without affecting the action. While we do not know its precise date of composition, it is not unreasonable to suppose that Nélée et Mirthis is one of Rameau’s last works, given its link with La Naissance d’Osiris.30 Could the absence of magic, exoticism, stage machinery or crowd effects represent a new departure for Cahusac? Can we detect a stylistic evolution in Nélée et Mirthis? As noted, this acte de ballet – originally entitled Mirthis – was intended to form part of the projected ballet Les Beaux Jours de l’Amour, along with La Naissance d’Osiris. That the work may already have been composed by 1751 is 26 27 28 29

Rameau, Zéphire, autograph manuscript, 46. For the original French text, see p. 254 below. Rameau, Nélée et Mirthis, autograph manuscript, F-Pn, Ms. 372. Rameau, La Naissance d’Osiris, autograph manuscript, F-Po, Rés. 206. See Louis de Cahusac, La Naissance d’Osiris, in Fragments représentés devant le roi (Paris: Ballard, 1754), [3]. 30 On the dating of Nélée et Mirthis, see Green, Early Rameau Sources, ii, 929–40.


Thomas Soury

implied by the diarist Charles Collé, who reports Rameau as saying, ‘The prévôt des marchands […] is unwilling to authorise the performance of three tragédies, two ballets and three actes de ballet that I have already completed’.31 Be that as it may, La Naissance d’Osiris was detached from the project to form part of a triple bill alongside ‘Les Incas du Pérou’ (from Les Indes galantes) and Pigmalion at Fontainebleau on 12 and 13 October 1754 to mark the birth of the duc de Berry. Moreover, the same celebrations included another Rameau-Cahusac acte de ballet, Anacréon, performed on 24 October. Though lacking defnitive proof, scholars have often supposed that Anacréon was likewise intended as part of Les Beaux Jours de l’Amour.32 It becomes apparent that La Naissance d’Osiris was intended as the prologue of the original ballet project: over and above the annotation ‘prologue’, deleted in the autograph score, the work begins without the ritournelle with which each entrée of a ballet typically began, and its frst page is numbered ‘7’, implying the one-time presence of a substantial overture. In its structure, moreover, the work accords well with Cahusac’s prologues: it begins with a divertissement interrupted by a short episode (in this case, the descent of Jupiter) and concludes with another divertissement. Also, the lack of dramatic substance in La Naissance is not surprising if we regard it as the re-cycled prologue of a ballet, the main aim of which was to introduce the theme linking the component entrées. Even though Cahusac had abandoned the prologue in his tragédies from Zoroastre (1749) onwards, he retained those conceived for ballets. In scene 3 of La Naissance d’Osiris, Jupiter makes a solemn announcement: Qu’il est doux de régner dans une paix profonde ! Que le sort aux mortels prépare de beaux jours ! Rien ne peut plus troubler le ciel, la terre et l’onde : L’Amour qui me seconde, De leur félicité vient d’assurer le cours.33 [How sweet to reign over a profound peace! May the fate of mortals summon up halcyon days! Nothing more can trouble the heavens, the earth or the waves: Amour, who assists me, will ensure the course of their bliss.] Here, Cahusac makes explicit reference to the theme of the ballet: the prologue prepares ‘les beaux jours de l’Amour’. But what specifc purpose is served by this reference to ‘beaux jours’?

31 Charles Collé, Journal et Mémoires, ed. Honoré Bonhomme (Paris: Firmin Didot, 1868), i, 300: ‘M. le prévôt des marchands […] ne veut pas faire jouer trois tragédies, deux ballets, et trois actes séparés que j’ai tout prêts’. 32 See Green, Early Rameau Sources, ii, 912–21 and Jean-Philippe Rameau, Anacréon, ed. Jonathan Huw Williams, Opera Omnia Rameau, OOR iv.25 (Bonneuil-Matours: Société Jean-Philippe Rameau, 2004). 33 Cahusac, La Naissance d’Osiris, 11 (my emphasis).

Attributions to Louis de Cahusac


According to Rameau’s manuscript, this prologue was originally entitled ‘Les Festes Pammilies’, which Cahusac later adapted as the subtitle of La Naissance d’Osiris (‘La Fête Pamilie’). Originally, the reference to Osiris was not explicit, except in the sense that the Egyptian festival of Pamylia honoured this deity. According to Claustre’s Dictionnaire portatif de mythologie, from which Cahusac probably drew his inspiration for the preface to his libretto:34 A Theban woman named Pammila, who left the Temple of Jupiter to fetch some water, heard a voice which commanded her to announce that the great Osiris had been born and that he would be a great prince to whom Egypt would have great obligations. Pammila, encouraged by this hope, nursed and brought up Osiris. In memory of this nurse, a festival was instituted which was named in her honour ‘Pammilies’.35 From Pammila would have come the adjective Pammilès, referring to Osiris as god of fertility. Hence it is signifcant that the personage of Pamilie is likewise absent from the frst version of this acte de ballet, in which it is a simple shepherdess who comes to take part in the festival of Pamylia.36 Cahusac evidently did not intend to represent the birth of Osiris itself as reported in the legend, but rather to evoke the story of a birth through the intermediary of this festival in honour of the ‘dieu de la génération’,37 announced by Jupiter: Il est né ce héros que vos vœux me demandent ; Que j’aime à parcourir la suite de ses ans ; Je vois déjà briller tous ces traits éclatants, Que les nations en attendent Dans les fastes secrets des destins et du temps.38 [He is born, this hero that you desire of me. How I love to survey the course of his life. Already I see all his radiant features that the nations expect of him from the secret annals of destiny and time.] The original prologue thus illustrated the birth of an unidentifed hero would be the subject of the ensuing ballet. For the court premiere in 1754, Cahusac 34 Ibid., [4]. 35 André de Claustre, Dictionnaire de mythologie pour l’intelligence des poètes (Paris: Briasson, 1745), iii, 79: une femme de Thebes nommée Pammila, étant sortie du Temple de Jupiter pour aller querir de l’eau, entendit une voix qui lui ordonnoit de publier que le grand Osiris étoit né ; que ce seroit un grand Prince, auquel l’Egypte auroit de grandes obligations. Pammila fattée de cette espérance, nourrit & éleva Osiris. En mémoire de la Nourrice on institua une fête qui de son nom fut appellée [sic] Pammilies. 36 Throughout the manuscript, Rameau has replaced ‘la Bergère’ with ‘Pamilie’. 37 See de Claustre, Dictionnaire de mythologie pour l’intelligence des poètes, 79. 38 Rameau, La Naissance d’Osiris, autograph manuscript, [20] (my emphasis). In the fnal version, Cahusac replaced ‘les nations’ with ‘vos tendres cœurs’.


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had merely to adapt his libretto by identifying the birth as that of Osiris, an ideal allegory with which to celebrate the birth of the duc de Berry. ‘Les Fêtes pammilies’ therefore became ‘La Fête pammilie’. Further, the second line of Jupiter’s announcement – ‘How I love to survey the course of his life’ – suggests a perfect scenario for a ballet comprising several entrées, each focusing on a different episode in the hero’s life. Corroboration for this hypothesis comes from an intriguing observation by Bouissou that in the autograph manuscript of Nélée et Mirthis Rameau deleted the identifcation ‘Anacréon’ and replaced it with ‘Nélée’.39 Whereas Green and Williams interpret this as confrmation that the two actes de ballet were composed during the same period, Bouissou suggests that Cahusac’s initial project was to make ‘a selection of varied episodes centred on one individual, in this instance Anacréon’.40 It is thus tempting to identify Nélée et Mirthis and Anacréon as being two of those episodes, the frst celebrating Anacréon’s genius through the Argian Games, the second uniting two young lovers. Besides, the title Les Beaux Jours de l’Amour refers to the idea of the passing of time, and the libretto includes numerous references to ‘beaux jours’, whether past or future. In Nélée et Mirthis the poetess Mirthis says ‘Dieux puissants, un grand peuple attend de ce héros | Les jours les plus beaux qu’il espère’ [‘Powerful gods, a great nation expects from this hero the most beautiful days that it hopes for’],41 while in Anacréon the aged poet declares, Auprès de cent beautés, que j’aimai tour à tour, L’Amour a rempli mon attente ; Mais ce jour est mon plus beau jour.42 [Alongside a hundred beauties that I have loved in turn, Cupid has fulflled my expectations; but today is my most beautiful day.] Yet these two acts thus contrast youth and old age, whereas portrayals of the Greek poet Anacreon generally focus on the latter. Hence this emphasis on different stages of life is surprising. In Nelée et Mirthis, the chorus sings, ‘Jeune héros, jouis à la feur de tes ans | Des fruits les plus lents de la gloire!’ [‘Young hero, enjoy in the fower of your youth the lingering fruits of glory’].43 By contrast, Cahusac’s Anacréon confesses, ‘J’aime à jouir de mon ouvrage, | Et cet innocent badinage | De l’hiver de mes ans embellit les loisirs’ [‘I love taking pleasure in this work; its innocent playfulness brightens the idle hours of the winter of my days’].44 The generational confict fnds its resolution in the present time and, 39 Bouissou, Jean-Philippe Rameau, 784–5. 40 Ibid., 784: ‘une confguration variationnelle d’épisodes centrés sur un même personnage, en l’occurrence Anacréon’. 41 Nélée et Mirthis, autograph manuscript, 23. 42 Louis de Cahusac, Anacréon (Paris: Ballard, 1754), 9. 43 Rameau, Nélée et Mirthis, autograph manuscript, 13. 44 Cahusac, Anacréon, 6.

Attributions to Louis de Cahusac


through the intermediary of Anacréon, seems to wish to celebrate the famous ‘carpe diem’ of Horace: Il naît des feurs dans tous les temps, Il est des plaisirs à tout âge. […] Des caprices du sort, je crains peu les retours. Je jouis du présent, j’en connois l’avantage. Je retrouve au déclin de l’âge Les Jeux rians de mes beaux jours.45 [Flowers come in every season, pleasures at every age […] I do not fear the twists of fate: I enjoy the moment, I know its benefts. In old age’s decline, I rediscover the merry pastimes of my youth.] The connection between the two entrées likewise manifests itself in the absence of the supernatural. Rather, the librettist chooses a realistic setting featuring historical characters. In Cahusac’s entire œuvre, these are the only two works that make no use of mythology. True, they are not unique within the repertory of the Académie Royale de Musique. Yet with Les Beaux Jours de l’Amour, the librettist seems to be developing a new style of opera in which the dramatic interest derives entirely from psychological tension: in both these acts, the hero masks his true feelings in order to test the love of his beloved or that of his pupils. A similarly manipulative character is already found in Cahusac’s libretto for Zaïs, in which the protagonist tests the fdelity of Zélidie by means of different magic ordeals. But in the present works, the librettist no longer amuses himself with the supernatural:46 he prefers to introduce deception and suspense. It is nevertheless risky to identify the poet Anacréon as the intended hero of both works. Admittedly, Rameau writes both roles for baritone (basse-taille). Yet historical sources make no mention of the poet’s participation in the Argian Games, which took place far from Anacréon’s native Theos, nor of his love for Mirthis.47 Could the hero mentioned by Jupiter in the intended prologue thus be, more generally, the fgure of a poet, an idea that Cahusac had already treated in his Épître sur les dangers de la poésie?48 45 Ibid., 13–14. 46 Jonathan Williams (in Rameau, Anacréon, OOR iv.25) suggests that the absence of the supernatural may be linked to the limitations of the Fontainebleau court theatre. However, David Charlton (Opera in the Age of Rousseau: Music, Confrontation, Realism (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2013), 10, 25–9) has shown that from 1754 this theatre was capable of performances with stage machinery. 47 See, for example, the prefaces in Hilaire-Bernard de Longepierre (ed.), Œuvres d’Anacréon et de Sapho (Paris: Charles Clouzier, 1692) and Francis Gacon (ed.), Odes d’Anacréon et de Sapho (Rotterdam: Fritsch & Böhm, 1712). 48 Louis de Cahusac, Épître sur les dangers de la poésie (The Hague: Jean Neaulme, 1739).


Thomas Soury

It is equally striking that, between them, these two acts feature several ancient Greek poets: Anacréon, Mirthis and Corinne.49 The latter two are mentioned in Charles Simon’s Histoires choisies with respect to the poet Pindar, whose ‘teacher in the art of writing verse was a Greek woman named Myrthis, who also taught Corynna’.50 Already, then, we fnd these two poetesses linked historically, though not as the rivals imagined by Cahusac. As for Bathylle, the youth from Samos whom Anacreon celebrated in his odes, he might be identifed with the Latin poet contemporary with Virgil or, more intriguingly, with the famous Alexandrian mime artist to whom Cahusac devoted part of his treatise La Danse ancienne et moderne.51 The homage to poetry extends to an imitation of the Anacreontic style in the verse recited by the aged poet’s pupils, Bathylle and Chloé.52 Indeed, Bathylle’s poem ‘Des Zéphirs que Flore rappelle’ seems to have been inspired by Anacreon’s frst ode, ‘Sur sa lyre’. In a translation of these odes published in 1773, Moutonnet-Clairfons prints Anacreon’s original alongside Cahusac’s, to show their resemblance.53 A review in the Mercure de France of the second edition of 1779 gives credit to Cahusac’s verse: ‘Furthermore, Fuzelier [sic] has imitated this ode in Les Fêtes lyriques54 and had captured something of the grace of the original’.55 It is thus very probable that the poet Cahusac wished to celebrate his illustrious predecessors. More than a simple evocation of ‘the poet’, Les Beaux Jours de l’Amour also carries the message of the duty of remembrance, as Jupiter stresses in the prologue quoted above, with its reference to ‘les fastes secrets des destins et du temps’ [‘the secret annals of destiny and time’]. The poet must take account of history and his work must serve the nations. The artist thus has a vocation to enlighten. Moreover, Mirthis calls for the ‘Temple de Mémoire’ to be opened, an expression that Cahusac had already used in the prologue to Les Fêtes de Polymnie, while one of the Argian choruses includes the line ‘Gravez un nouveau

49 In an early version of Nélée et Mirthis, Corinne was merely an off-stage character mentioned to Eglé by Mirthis as her rival. Rameau’s many revisions reveal that Eglé was replaced by Corinne, which may indicate that the librettist wished to place more emphasis on this love-triangle. 50 Charles Simon, Histoires choisies des auteurs profanes (Paris: D’Houry, 1752), i, 171: ‘[Pindare] eut pour maître dans l’Art de faire des vers une dame grecque, nommée Myrthis qui enseigna aussi à Corynna’. 51 Cahusac, La Danse ancienne et moderne, ii, 1–21. My thanks to Laura Naudeix for drawing my attention to this connection. 52 Cahusac, Anacréon, 7, 10 and 12. 53 Anacréon, Sapho, Bion et Moschus, ed. Julien Moutonnet-Clairfons (Paris: Le Boucher, 1773), 17–18. 54 The critic is referring to the 1766 revival of Anacréon as part of a composite spectacle (‘fragments’) entitled Les Fêtes lyriques, erroneously attributing the libretto to Fuzelier. Oddly enough, Cahusac’s verse is attributed to Horace in Adolphe Ricard, L’Amour, les femmes et le mariage. Historiettes, pensées et réfexions glanées à travers champs (Paris: Garnier, 1862), 540. 55 Mercure de France, 6 November 1779, 24: ‘Au surplus, Fuzelier [sic] a imité cette ode dans Les Fêtes lyriques et l’imitateur a conservé quelque chose des grâces de l’original’.

Attributions to Louis de Cahusac


nom dans les fastes du temps’, pre-echoing Jupiter’s words. Similarly, Mirthis’s invocation of the Muses recalls the memory of bygone authors: Muses, flles du ciel, dont les chants glorieux Sont les interprètes des dieux, Le charme de la terre et le fambeau du monde, Sans vous de nos héros les noms les plus fameux Dans l’horreur d’une nuit profonde Seraient ensevelis comme eux. [Muses, celestial daughters whose glorious songs are the gods’ mouthpiece, the earth’s delight and the torch of the world: without you the names of the most famous of our heroes would be buried in the horror of dark night.] In Les Beaux Jours de l’Amour the poet ascends to the rank of hero, rendered immortal by the memory of his works. Such an interpretation is in line with the librettist’s masonic allegiance. Can we see here a refection on the place of art in society? While Cahusac’s librettos may not be designed to carry a message, they nevertheless reveal an enlightened artist rooted in his epoch. * Without resolving all the mysteries surrounding these three Rameau works, the present study hopes to have tilted the balance. While Io still poses many questions to the musicologist, it is safe to conclude from its construction and its absence of supernatural effects that this libretto is not the work of Cahusac. Conversely, it now seems probable that he was indeed the author of Zéphire and Nélée et Mirthis. Future analysis of key-word frequency, rhyme schemes, style of versifcation and other technical aspects may provide further confrmation. Cahusac nevertheless seems to elude us still further. While he is certainly not the mere ‘word funkey’ (valet de chambre parolier) depicted by Charles Collé, commentators may have supposed his work to be more formulaic than it really is. Indeed, the present lines of enquiry reveal a writer still experimenting with ideas. Thus Zéphire demonstrates an advance in Cahusac’s integration of collective characters; he also pursues his experimentation with the danse d’action, exploring new ways of bringing together singing and ballet. As for the projected Les Beaux Jours de l’Amour, it seems undeniable that the librettist sought to create a new form of ballet. The work demonstrates a clear intertextuality connecting the different acts. By a system of self-quotations and crossreferences, Cahusac respects the demands of the overall form while proposing a new genre of operatic narration that anticipates Offenbach’s Les Contes d’Hoffmann. Moreover, the choice of historical characters and the recourse to plots that are more psychological than visual reveal Cahusac in a new light and emphasize the astonishing diversity of his œuvre. Translation: Graham Sadler


The Triumph of Generosity, or ‘Let’s make an opera-ballet’ Roger Savage

It’s story-time at the Opera: time for three very brief tales. Tale no. 1: it’s the 1730s, and we are on a Turkish island in the Indian Ocean where the ruling Pasha is holding an abducted but unyielding French lady in his harem. As his feelings for her become dangerously intense, a tempest blows up and a ship capsizes close by. On board is a French naval offcer who, it so happens, loves and is loved by the lady. The Pasha’s henchmen take the ship in charge. A catastrophe in the offng? Quite the reverse. The Pasha returns the lady to the offcer, launching them homeward to France with a silent tear but also with African dances and rich gifts, for (as he explains) the offcer had years before given him his freedom when he had been enslaved – by Barbary pirates most like. Tale no. 2: Syria in the third century BC. King Séleucus asks his fancée, Princess Stratonice, whether she can discover the nature of the baffing illness affecting his son by a previous marriage, the Prince Antiochus. Stratonice secretly loves Antiochus, and her betraying her feelings to him during their medical tête-à-tête provokes him to reveal that he is literally dying of a passionate love for her: a love that naturally he hasn’t been able to disclose to his father. At which, his father enters. Impulsively, Antiochus makes a clean breast of things and dutifully offers what in effect will be his suicide, but Séleucus interrupts, praises the prince’s generosity of spirit and enthusiastically unites the lovers. Tale no. 3: the ancient Aegean. We are at Teos near Ephesus, in the garden of the much loved and admired Greek lyric poet Anacréon as he presides over a poetic salon notable for a couple of his star pupils, a boy and a girl. It’s the day of the Festival of Bacchus, Cupid and Hymen, and Anacréon’s busy preparations and ambiguous words give the girl to believe that during the festivities she is herself to be married to the aging poet. An honour, yes, but also a disaster, since she and the boy are in love. (It’s a secret between them, or so they think.) The boy too is horrifed, but when they nerve themselves to tackle their revered mentor, Anacréon reveals that it is their marriage to each other that he has been planning all along, though for reasons of his own he hasn’t come clean about this until now. Three engaging stories, and stories that have several things linking them. One is that each forms the plot of a mini-opera by Rameau. The Turkish tale, to a text by Louis Fuzelier, is the frst entrée in his opéra-ballet of the mid-1730s DOI: 10.4324/9781315554990-9

The Triumph of Generosity  95 on love in exotic places, Les Indes galantes. The Syrian tale is the second entrée in his 1745 celebration of Fable, History and ‘La Féerie’, Les Fêtes de Polymnie, texted by Louis de Cahusac; and the third, from 1754 and again to words by Cahusac, is the first of the composer’s two free-standing actes de ballet featuring Anacréon.1 Another thing: each libretto reveals that its poet has done some serious homework in preparing his text. Worried perhaps that the title of his entrée, ‘Le Turc généreux’, might strike audiences as a paradox too far, Fuzelier makes it clear in his preface that he can cite ‘an illustrious original’ for his good-hearted Pasha: an actual Grand Vizier of the early 1730s, Topal Osman, ‘so well known for his excessive generosity’. (The Mercure de France had run a glowing article in January 1734 – anonymous, perhaps by Fuzelier himself – about Osman’s delivery from corsair-slavery early in life and his profuse gratitude to his French deliverer, the Sieur Arniauld.)2 Cahusac derives his story of Stratonice from a long tradition: a semi-historical legend that developed in the ancient Hellenistic period, was revived in prose, verse and paint during the Renaissance and lived on in various seventeenth-century Italian operas and French spoken dramas (one of them by Cahusac’s admired Philippe Quinault).3 Our librettist is careful to put his own gloss on it. As for his evocation nine years later of a select salon-cum-summer-school of love and poetry in Anacréon’s Teos – one quite unknown to sober historical scholarship – I suspect that this is indebted to the almost wholly fanciful but beguilingly plausible ‘life and works’ of the historical Anacreon confected by the roguish François Gacon in 1712, partly out of the lyric sequence of Anacreontea that was widely credited to the Greek poet, partly out of Gacon’s own fertile imagination. His book was commended as ‘ingenious’ by the Encyclopédie’s ‘Anacréontique’ entry in 1751, and the free versions of the Anacreontea in it were reprinted in 1754, the year Rameau and Cahusac staged their acte de ballet.4 1 For modern editions, see Jean-Philippe Rameau, Les Indes galantes, ed. Sylvie Bouissou, ­Opera Omnia Rameau, OOR iv.2 (Tauxigny: Société Jean-Philippe Rameau, 2019); Les Fêtes de Polymnie, ed. Thomas Soury, Opera Omnia Rameau, OOR iv.11 (Tauxigny: Société ­Jean-Philippe Rameau, in preparation); Anacréon, ed. Jonathan Huw Williams, Opera Omnia Rameau, OOR iv.25 (Bonneuil-Matours: Société Jean-Philippe Rameau, 2004). 2 Mercure de France, January 1734, 73–96. Grand Vizier Osman tells his compatriots (p. 88) of his deliverance by Arniauld. Without knowing who I was, he paid me a thousand sequins for my ransom. […] He gave me a ship to take me wherever I wished. Where, even among Muslims, shall we find anyone capable of such a generous act? [Il a payé sans me connoître mille Sequins pour ma rançon. […] Il m’a donné un Vaisseau pour me conduire ou je voudrois ; où est, même le Musulman, capable d’une pareille action de génerosité ?] 3 See Wolfgang Stechow, ‘“The Love of Antiochus with Faire Stratonica” in Art’, Art Bulletin 27 (1945), 221–37. 4 The link that I suspect exists between Gacon’s Anacreon-narrative in Les Odes d’Anacreon et de Sapho en vers françois (Rotterdam: Fritsch et Böhm, 1712) and Cahusac’s 1754 libretto

96 Roger Savage A third link: each of the librettos moulds and processes its erudition so as to arrive at what is essentially the same format: a three-character intrigue based on an emotional triangle. To do this, the Turkish plot adds male-female loveinterest to what in the Mercure essay is a simply a case of gratitude between two gentlemen from different civilisations; the Syrian plot omits the character of an observant doctor important in the original legend, so reducing the dramatis personae to three; and the Greek tale, piling invention on Gaconesque invention, provides Anacréon’s boyfriend Batile (who is to be found in the Anacreontea) with a girlfriend Chloé (who isn’t), 5 and has Anacréon himself assure the audience at the start that the young couple are clay in his hands: Deux cœurs, que j’ai formés, qu’un doux penchant engage, Pensent qu’Anacréon ignore leurs soûpirs : D’ici je vois leur trouble, & j’entens leur langage. J’allarme tour à tour, & fatte leurs désirs : J’aime à jouir de mon ouvrage, Et cet innocent badinage, De l’hiver de mes ans embellit les loisirs. (scene 1)6 [Two hearts that I have fashioned, hearts that have tender feelings for each other, think that I’m unaware of their loving sighs; but I see what it is that troubles them and understand what they say. I alarm and encourage their desires by turns. I love taking pleasure in this work; its innocent playfulness brightens the idle hours of my life’s winter.] Not, of course, that plot-triangulation in itself was exclusive to this triad of librettos. Having looked at around 120 libretti for actes de ballet and entrées in opéras-ballets from 1695 to 1750, I can report that rather more than a third of them feature some kind of love-triangle involving two men and a woman or two women and a man – which chimes with the high incidence of such things in those more familiar French operas of the period that have single plots running

is more one of atmosphere and ambience – their shared world of coteries and protégés and knowing literary allusion – than of specifc plot elements. Still, the recourse of Anacréon’s admirers to tablettes of his lyrics in both texts (see Gacon, pp. 30 and 37, for instance; Cahusac, scenes 2 and 4) is suggestive of a plot-connection; and one might conjecture a link between Cahusac’s Batile and Chloé thinking their love a secret (thereby underestimating Anacréon’s perceptiveness) and the back-story Gacon creates out of Anacreontea 59 and 27 (modern numbering). No. 59 depicts love-makers at a grape-harvest; no. 27 celebrates ‘love’s brand-mark’, and together they lead in Gacon’s inventive imagination (pp. 305–21) to Anacréon observing two young people entwined at a vendage and insisting later that he knows their warm feelings for each other, for all that they protest that they are not in love. 5 Cahusac may well have borrowed the name ‘Chloé’ from Longus’s Daphnis and Chloe, the classic tale of innocent young lovers. It had supplied the plot for a pastorale of Joseph Bodin de Boismortier in 1747. 6 See Louis de Cahusac, Anacréon, ballet héroïque (Paris: Ballard, [1754]).

The Triumph of Generosity 97 7

through all the acts. Not that the high incidence should surprise us in either case. Eros was at or very near the centre of the Académie Royale de Musique’s operatic universe; plots involving Eros needed some kind of confict if they were to have any action to speak of, and two rivals or seeming rivals for the hand of a bien-aimé could provide that archetypally, vividly and economically. What’s more, the erotic triangle welcomed all genres and all manner of plot-resolutions. At the far extremes, it could take a deep-tragic form that involved the deaths of both the mutual lovers, as in Lully’s doubly triangular Atys, or the suicide of the unloved third party, as in Rameau’s Hippolyte et Aricie; or it could take a broadcomic form, climaxing in a farcical humiliation for the foolish and therefore richly deserving third party, as in Rameau’s Platée and Les Paladins. There was a supernatural form too, as when a god – for instance the Apollo of Rameau’s entrée ‘La Lyre enchantée’ in Les Surprises de l’Amour – descended ex machina to sort things out in some more or less satisfactory way. What does make our triad of Turkish, Syrian and ancient Greek tales rather special among the welter of one-act triangles is that in each of them, after a central scene of anxiety and perplexity, a purely human volte face or seeming volte face leads the plot towards a relatively contented ending for all parties: all parties, that’s to say, including the unloved ‘other man’; for in each case that other man, socially the more powerful contender (or apparent contender) for the lady’s hand, suddenly, dramatically, benignly drops his claim on her. The result: three love-triangles with no tragic blood spilt, no comic humiliations dealt out, no heavenly machines descending and no convenient last-minute metamorphoses of characters into rivers, trees, stars or whatever. Each instead is resolved by a simple act of generous good nature. No other libretto set by Rameau culminates in quite the way these three do (though among his tragédies en musique Pollux’s yielding of Télaïre to his brother in the last act of Castor, and Anténor’s ceding of Iphise in the frst version of Dardanus come fairly close). And no other composer known to me undertook to set all of three one-act texts featuring the volte face motif that characterises our Turkish, Syrian and Anacreontic pieces. These singularities suggest that the three might be brought together illuminatingly in performance. They are at once unifed enough in theme and varied enough in locale and dramatis personae to add up to a successful show. Varied enough in dramaturgy too, with their central scenes of tension generating different kinds of audience-involvement: thriller-like uncertainty in ‘Le Turc’, since its plot is a new-minted one; a cooler curiosity over the Stratonice imbroglio, since (as the Mercure de France’s review of 7 For triangles and related shapes in fve-act opera, see Cuthbert Girdlestone, La Tragédie en musique (1673–1750) considérée comme genre littéraire (Geneva: Droz, 1972), 20–1, 86–7 and Jean-Baptiste Rivaud, ‘Approche thématique et structurelle des livrets d’opera de JeanPhilippe Rameau’, in Jérôme de La Gorce (ed.), Jean-Philippe Rameau: Colloque international organisé par la Société Rameau […] 1983 (Paris: Champion, 1987), 75–87, especially 76–8. See also Scott Balthazar, ‘Aspects of form in the Ottocento libretto’, Cambridge Opera Journal 7/1 (1995), 23–35.


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October 1745 pointed out) most of the audience at the premiere would already have known the outcome of an ‘histoire si connue’ so that their focus would be on how Cahusac contrived to bring that outcome about; and, in Anacréon, a knowing complicity with the leading character’s amused but well-meant treatment of the young lovers. After all, he has taken us into his confdence at the very beginning. The three tales, then, would make good neighbours in a ‘new’ opera-ballet. So let’s make one. Its subtitle? Fragments de Monsieur Rameau, surely – a form of words approved at the Opera. For its main title I would suggest Le Triomphe de la générosité, though this, of course, would need spelling out in a newly written and composed prologue: something perhaps involving Cupid, Venus and sundry Muses confronted with a benign Minerva who urges them to make sure that they fnd a place in some of their tales for outward-going magnanimity. A possible libretto for such a prologue8 – it’s dedicated to whoever frst undertakes to set it to music – can be found in the Appendix to this chapter. * To stress the singularity of Rameau’s triad of generous triangles is not to imply that plot-shapes backed by similar (though not, I’ll suggest, identical) ethical ideas had never appeared before in opéra-ballet or tragédie en musique. Indeed, a related idea determines the climax of arguably the frst tragédie in which Quinault found form as librettist, his Alceste for Lully in 1674. Alceste packs in two triangles. The frst, early in the piece, is a matter of spectacular derring-do involving a bold nautical abduction and a successful siege. The second, in Act v, is more inward and interesting. It concerns Alceste, Admète and Alcide (aka Hercules). At the end of the opera, Quinault’s Hercules is minded to carry off Alceste, whom he has rescued from death, as his prize. Not only is he enchanted with her, but it was agreed in advance that she would be his reward if he succeeded in bringing her back from the underworld. Yet at the crucial moment he puts his feelings aside and waives his claim, choosing rather to return her to her mutually loving husband, Admète: Alcide Non, non, vous ne devez pas croire Qu’un Vainqueur des Tirans soit Tiran à son tour : Sur l’Enfer, sur la Mort, j’emporte la victoire ; Il ne manque plus à ma gloire Que de triompher de l’Amour. Admete et Alceste Ah quelle gloire extresme !

8 The idea of designing prologues for imaginary opéras-ballets goes back at least as far as the abbé Perau’s mock ‘plan d’un opera’ of 1745: see Regine Klingspom, Jean-Philippe Rameaus Opern in Ästhetischen Diskurs ihrer Zeit (Stuttgart: M & P, 1996), 311.

The Triumph of Generosity 99 Quel heroïque effort ! Le Vainqueur de la Mort Triomphe de luy-mesme. (v, 4)9 [Alcide No, no; you shouldn’t think that a conqueror of tyrants would be a tyrant in his turn. I’m victor over hell and death, and my glory is completed by my triumph over love. Admete and Alceste Ah, what extreme glory, what heroic effort! The conqueror of death triumphs over himself.] It’s a moment that could be seen as bringing together two of the most distinguished writers of the generation before Quinault: Pierre Corneille and René Descartes. From Corneille comes the device of the last-minute plot-twist – think of the Emperor Augustus late in his Cinna – along with a gambit the dramatist deploys remarkably often (at least 15 times, one scholar has counted): having a lover, for one of a wide variety of motives and reasons, cede his or her claim on a bien-aimé to another person.10 From Descartes comes Hercules’s motive for ceding Alceste in this way. It is the seventeenth-century aristocratic virtue of générosité: that magnanimity – part of the honour-code of the warrior class – which conquers a man’s destructive impulses. Descartes’s 1649 treatise, Les Passions de l’âme, is especially to the point: Ceux qui sont Genereux […] n’estiment rien de plus grand que de faire du bien aux autres hommes, & de mepriser son propre interest […]. Ils sont entierement maistres de leurs Passions; particulierement des Desirs, de la Jalousie, & de l’Envie […]. Je croye que la vraye Generosité, qui fait qu’un homme s’estime au plus haut point qu’il se peut legitimement estimer, consiste […] en ce qu’il connoist qu’il n’y a rien qui veritablement luy apartienne, que cette libre disposition de ses volontez, ny pourquoy il doive estre loüé ou blasmé, sinon pource qu’il en use bien ou mal.11 [The truly generous […] esteem nothing greater than to do good to other men and scorn their own interests. […] They are wholly masters of their passions: of desire, jealousy and envy particularly. […] True generosity, I believe, which causes a man to esteem himself as highly as he legitimately can, consists […] in the fact that he knows that there is nothing that truly pertains 9 See [Philippe Quinault], Alceste ou Le triomphe d’Alcide ([Paris]: René Baudry, 1674). 10 The Infanta early in Le Cid is one such lover. 11 René Descartes, Les Passions de l’âme (Paris: Henry Le Gras, 1649), clvi and cliii; translation taken in part from Charles Taylor, Sources of the Self: The Making of the Modern Identity (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1989), 154. Corneille on claim-ceding: see Roger Guichemerre, ‘Le Renoncement à la personne aimée en faveur d’un/une autre dans le théâtre de Pierre Corneille’, in Alain Niderst (ed.), Pierre Corneille: Actes du Colloque […] tenu à Rouen (Paris: Presses Universitaires, 1985), 581–92, especially 581–2. Corneille, of course, also has things to say about generosity; see André Stegmann, L’Heroïsme Cornélien (Paris: Colin, 1968), ii, 451–80.

100 Roger Savage to him but this free disposition of his will, and that there is no reason why he should be praised or blamed unless it is because he uses that well or ill.] ‘Triomphez, genereux Alcide !’ sings the chorus Cartesianly at the end of Alceste; ‘Que toûjours la Gloire vous guide !’ It is odd perhaps that Hercules’s generous change of heart didn’t have a major impact and infuence on French operatic plot-construction in the next 60-or-so years. However, it was refected occasionally. I’ve come upon seven instances during those decades in operas other than Rameau’s. For example, Quinault himself revisits the idea in his very next piece with Lully, Thésée. There, King Egée of Athens is in love with the same lady as is his long-lost son, Thésée, but he renounces his claim when, near the end, Thesée’s identity and passion are revealed to him. Bowing out, the King observes equably to the lady that she has such a hold over his family that it might just as well be his son as himself who wins her: Mon Rival m’est trop cher pour en estre jaloux, Je reconnôis mon fls à son amour extreme, C’est le sort de mon sang de s’enfamer pour vous. (iv, 5)12 [My rival is too dear to me for me to be jealous of him. In his intense love I recognise my son. It is the destiny of my family to feel passion for you.] A quarter of a century later, another Hercules appears in a similar situation in a libretto of Houdar de La Motte’s: his tragédie en musique for Destouches of 1701, Omphale. Much taken with Queen Omphale, Hercules discovers late in the day that she and a friend of his, Iphis, are in love. At frst he turns angrily to his divine father, Jupiter: Ciel ! Que veux-tu de moy, dans le trouble où je suis ? […] Quel sacrifce exiges-tu ? Dieu barbare, mon cœur en sera la victime. (à Omphale) Quoy, je vivrois sans vous ? Dieux ! Quel seroit mon sort ? [Heavens! What do you want of me in this trouble of mine? […] What sacrifce are you demanding? Barbarous god, its victim will be my heart. (To Omphale) What, shall I live without you? Gods, what will become of me?] But then a generous thought strikes him, though for a while it only adds to his confusion: Où m’importe un indigne transport : Un instant pour jamais, va fétrir ma memoire : 12 See Philippe Quinault, Thésée (Paris: Christophe Ballard, 1675).

The Triumph of Generosity 101 Vivez plûtôt heureux … mais, quel funeste effort ! Amour, barbare Amour, impitoyable Gloire ! C’en est trop, la raison vient enfn m’éclairer, Elle éteint à la fois, mon amour & ma haine. (à Omphale & Iphis) Allez, unissez-vous, d’une éternelle chaîne. Je ne veux plus vous separer. (Ballard, Recueil vii, 341–2)13 [Where is this unworthy passion leading me? One single moment will blight my renown for ever. Rather then, live happy! … But what deadly effort! Love, barbarous love! Pitiless glory! But too much of that; reason comes to enlighten me at last, extinguishing both my love and my hate. (To Omphale and Iphis) Go, unite yourselves with an everlasting chain. I no longer wish to keep you apart.] At which he goes off, presumably to lose himself in one of his Labours. And that isn’t La Motte’s only reference to this theme around 1700. It’s there too in ‘La Peinture’, an entrée in one of the earliest of opéras-ballets, his Triomphe des arts for Michel de La Barre. Taking its scenario from the anecdote of Alexander the Great and the painter Apelles in Pliny’s Natural History, it has its Alexandre commissioning Apelle to paint the royal mistress Campaspe, discovering that mistress and painter have fallen in love, seeing red momentarily but then nobly handing mistress to painter and hurrying away before he’s tempted to change his mind. La Motte tells us in his Avertissement to the libretto that he has presented Alexandre as still in love with Campaspe at this point since, if he wasn’t, ‘there would be little generosity involved in his yielding her’ and his audience would have no reason to be impressed by ‘the effort that he made’. Pliny’s own comment on the great man’s volte face had anticipated Descartes on self-mastery in Les Passions de l’âme and Quinault’s presentation of Hercules in Alceste. His Alexander considers it ‘a victory no less great than his other victories, because here he conquered himself’.14 La Motte’s Alexandre takes this up: Eh bien ! C’est donc à moi de me vaincre moy-même, Mon cœur doit être le plus fort ; Mais, quoy ! céder ce que l’on aime ? Ah ! Quel cœur l’est assez pour un si grand effort ?

13 Here and later ‘Ballard, Recueil’ refers to the Recueil général des opera représentéz par l’Académie Royale de Musique depuis son établissement (Paris: Ballard, 1703–46), 16 vols (facsimile edn, Geneva: Slatkine Reprints, 1971). 14 La Motte on Alexander: Ballard, Recueil, vii, 7–8; Pliny on the same: Naturalis Historia, xxxv, 86–7.


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The lovers urge him on: Sur vous-même aujourd’huy remportez la victoire ; Couronnez nôtre amour, & comblez vôtre gloire. (Ballard, Recueil, vii, 37) [Alexandre Well, it’s for me then to conquer myself; my heart should be the strongest. But, what? Yield the thing one loves? What heart is strong enough for such a great effort? Apelle and Campaspe Gain this day a victory over yourself. Crown our love and fll your glory to overfowing.] It’s an instance of that great Humanist tradition, the Education of the True Prince, who must learn (as opera seria librettists on the other side of the Alps would put it) to be vincitor di se stesso. La Motte’s entrée is echoed three years later by the pastoral one in Antoine Danchet’s libretto for Campra’s Le Ballet des Muses, where just such a prince, the noble Arcas, befriends a shepherd boy, Palemon, only to discover that they are both in love with the same shepherdess, Silvie. Arcas is touched by the mutual devotion of the country couple: (à part)

Fut-il jamais une ardeur si fdelle ! Ah ! Quelle rigueur cruelle De briser de si beaux nœuds … Faisons un effort genereux. (à Silvie) Je vous aime, Silvie, & je suis trop sensible, Vos regards pour mon cœur seroient trop dangereux : Je vais loin de vos yeux, je vais, s’il est possible, Eteindre un amour malheureux. (Ballard, Recueil, viii, 130–1) [(aside) Was there ever so constant an ardour? Ah, how harsh, how cruel it would be to break open such fne bonds … Let me make an effort to be generous. (To Silvie) I love you, Silvie, and I feel it too deeply. Your glances would be too dangerous for my heart. I go far from your eyes; I go – if it is possible – to extinguish an unfortunate love.] Twenty-two years after that, we meet the unpredictable Queen of the Fairies – or rather of their Persian equivalents, the Péri – in La Reine des Péris, the Oriental fantasy-opera Fuzelier texted for Jacques Aubert. The Queen has allowed herself to fall in love with a mortal, an Egyptian caliph, but the caliph loves and is loved by a Syrian princess. After much magical hocus-pocus and the appearance of a sinister djinn intent on abducting the princess, the Queen quells the djinn and conquers her own feelings, telling the caliph,

The Triumph of Generosity 103 Mon amour balançoit ma raison & ma gloire, J’ai caché mes combats, je parois devant vous Dans le moment de ma victoire. (Ballard, Recueil, xiii.389) [I was wavering between love and my reason and glory; I have now put such combats behind me, and I appear before you in my moment of victory.] At which, she restores the princess to the caliph and, as a wedding present for the happy pair, spirits up a very desirable residence in the Japanese style. Finally there is the entrée of Foristan and Calenis in Pierre de Morand’s Les Peines et les plaisirs de l’amour for Thomas-Louis Bourgeois (written in 1730 though not actually performed) and that of Petrarch and Laura, ‘L’Amour constant’, in the abbé Pellegrin’s libretto for Collin de Blamont’s Les Caractères de l’amour six years later. In Les Peines et les plaisirs, the good-hearted King of Sevarambia (a sun-worshipping deistical Utopia some leagues south of Java) is about to marry a noble lady of that country, Calenis. Calenis feels duty-bound to accept the King for all that once she more truly loved and was loved by another, Foristan. At which Foristan appears and, rather like Antiochus in our Stratonice tale, self-abnegatingly proposes to take his own life so as to release her from that earlier commitment – only to have the King, like our Séleucus, stay the self-sacrifcer’s hand.15 The King soliloquises, Quelle étrange combat se passe dans mon ame ! Je vois ce que la Gloire exige ici de moi : Je dois sacrifer ma famme ; Et mon devoir m’en fait la loi. (à Foristan) Je vous rend Calenis. […] Un roi, de ses sujets doit faire le bonheur, L’Amour, à ce devoir, doit céder la Victoire : C’est en triomphant de mon cœur, Que je puis assurer ma Gloire. (scene 6) 15 De Morand adapts this plot-line from the Histoire des Sévarambes (Paris: Barbin, 1677–9) of Denis Vairasse. For Vairasse’s telling of it, see his ‘Description du Temple du Soleil’ in Part iv of the Histoire (267–79 of the 1715 Amsterdam edition published by Pieter Mortier). Vairasse (p. 279) says of the monarch’s love for Calenis, He had most tender passion for her and a great desire to make her his own; but his virtue, imposing silence on his passion, had him yield her to justice and pity, and he acquired much esteem and love among his subjects for this generous act. For the Séverambes, see Geoffroy Atkinson, The Extraordinary Voyage in French Literature before 1700 (New York: Columbia University Press, 1920), chapter 5, especially 135–6 and Alberto Manguel and Gianni Guadalupi, The Dictionary of Imaginary Places (expanded edn, New York: Harcourt, 2000), 604–6.

104 Roger Savage [What a strange combat possesses my soul! I see what it is that glory demands of me here. My duty is to sacrifce my love; and that duty is my law. (To Foristan) I render Calenis to you. […] It’s a king’s duty to attend to the happiness of his subjects. Love must cede victory to this duty. It’s by triumphing over my heart that my glory can be assured.] His citizens duly applaud ‘the name of so generous a king’.16 Meanwhile, the Petrarch entrée in Les Caractères de l’amour echoes the Alexandre-ApelleCampaspe scene in Le Ballet des arts. The amorous Prince Alfonso of Avignon, jealously offended at frst by the mutual love of Laura and Petrarch, in time comes to do the nobler, renouncing thing: (à part) Quel trouble ! La vertu vient éclairer mon âme ; Ah ! quel effort plus glorieux Que de triompher de sa famme ! (à Petrarch & Laure) Tendres Amants, soyez heureux ; Ma gloire, vôtre amour; tout me force à me rendre.17 [(aside) What trouble! But virtue comes to enlighten my soul. What effort is more glorious than to triumph over one’s passions! (To Petrarch and Laure) Tender lovers, be happy! My glory, your love – all things force me to yield.] The poet assures him, much as La Motte’s Campaspe assures Alexandre on Apelle’s behalf, that he will have his reward in the long term: his renown will have a brighter future, eternised as it will be in the work of a great – and grateful – artist. * Since the idea of generosity runs through the cliff-edge resolutions of all these plots, they clearly foreshadow Rameau’s tales of a Turkish Pasha, a Syrian king and a Greek poet. And yet there are differences: differences that lie in the motives, impulses and social status of our heroes and heroines of generosity. From Quinault’s Hercules to Pellegrin’s Prince of Avignon, the generous ones are without exception demi-gods, royals, noble patrons of artists or Christian aristocrats, and they have a tendency to go through extended struggles with their erotic, sometimes violent impulses before they arrive at that généreux selfmastery that makes for properly high Cartesian self-esteem and likely future renown – at la gloire in the seventeenth-century sense. Indeed, as we have seen, along with ‘généreux’, warrior-class words like ‘victoire’, ‘effort’, ‘triomphe’ and, sometimes, ‘gloire’ itself recur at the climactic moments of their librettos. We hear these words again in connection with the one close cousin to

16 Pierre de Morand, Théâtre et œuvres diverses (Paris: Sebastien Jorry, 1751), iii, 108–9. 17 Simon-Joseph Pellegrin, Les Caractères de l’amour (Paris: J.-B.-C. Ballard, 1738), 56.

The Triumph of Generosity 105 such magnanimous characters in Rameau’s own tragédies en musique: Pollux in Pierre-Joseph Bernard’s 1737 text for Castor et Pollux. This son of Jupiter is climactically moved by his half-brother Castor’s great good nature in respect of the Princess Télaïre: Quoi, malgré tout l’amour dont ton cœur est épris, Tu me sacrifois la princesse qui t’aime ! […] Castor, tu m’as vaincu, je me vaincrai moi-même, Sois heureux, je ne suis immortel qu’à ce prix. […] Pour vaincre mon amour il fallait à mon cœur Tes jours, ma gloire, et (en montrant Télaïre) son bonheur. To which Castor and Télaïre respond just as we would expect: Quel généreux effort, quelle vertu supreme ! (v, 6) [Pollux: What? In spite of all the love gripping your heart, you would still sacrifce to me the princess who loves you? […] Castor, you have conquered me; I shall conquer myself. Be happy! Only at that price am I an immortal. […] To conquer my love, my heart had to be assured of your life, my glory and (indicating Telaïre) her happiness. Castor & Telaïre: What generous effort, what supreme virtue!] With Rameau’s triad of one-act triangles, however, the case is to an extent altered. Générosité in two of them becomes less purely aristocratic, less concerned with personal glory, and in all three it is much less anguish-driven: closer perhaps in its operation to that ‘disinterested ultimate desire for the happiness of others’ that British philosophers of the time, at least those of the school of Shaftesbury and Hutcheson, were coming to think was inherent in all human nature, where it had the support of the ‘moral sense’ of mankind in general.18 Thus the moment our heathen Turk sets eyes on that shipwrecked French naval offcer, he is impelled to a generous act far beyond the offcer’s expectation. (‘Was there ever a more generous heart?’ the Frenchman asks later; ‘if virtue can make us happy, he deserves perfect happiness’).19 And the Pasha’s act isn’t motivated by a desire for glory; rather it’s done in grateful return for a similar act once done to him. It’s perhaps not fanciful to pick up a hint of a universal, trans-cultural brotherhood 18 Francis Hutcheson, An Inquiry into the Original of our Ideas of Beauty and Virtue (London: J. Darby, 1725), ii.ii.6; ed. W. Leidhold (Indianapolis: Liberty Fund, 2004), 225. Taylor, Sources of the Self, 153–5, sees signs already in Descartes of this internalisation of generosity and of its becoming an aspect of all human dignity, not simply that of a warrior class. For Cartesian generosity in the parallel Italian operatic tradition, see pp. 35–6 of Don Neville, ‘Moral Philosophy in the Metastasian Dramas’, Studies in Music from the University of Western Ontario 7/1 (1982), 28–46. 19 Fuzelier, Les Indes galantes, ‘Le Turc généreux’, scene 5: ‘Fut-il jamais un cœur plus genereux  ? | […] Au plus parfait bonheur il a le droit de prétendre, | Si la vertu peut nous rendre heureux’.


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of enlightened spirits here; the Mercure de France essay that Fuzelier connects with his Pasha’s character seems to imply one.20 Then when Cahusac’s Séleucus releases Stratonice to her beloved and loving Antiochus, the matter is all over in a few seconds: there’s none of the long-drawn-out weighing of pros and cons or revelation of ignoble motives that one fnds in the Séleucuses of some seventeenth-century treatments of the story. As it happens, Cahusac and Rameau drafted two surviving versions of this climactic moment in their preparations for the 1745 frst performance.21 In the one referred to at the beginning of this essay, all that King Séleucus feels the need to say to Antiochus as he spontaneously unites the couple after his son’s offer of suicide is that in his eyes the claims of Love – his own love for Stratonice, that’s to say – are not worth a second thought in the face of the claims of Nature, where Nature has the sense of ‘family’: Prince trop généreux, crois-tu que je balance Entre la Nature & l’Amour ?22 (scene 6) [Too generous prince, do you think I would waver between nature and love?] – which, as well as being a moment of high sentiment, is perhaps a quiet eighteenth-century joke at the expense of a seventeenth-century text, since wavering of that sort between Love and Nature is just what the Séleucus in Act 20 Mercure de France: see note 2 above. The Mercure comments on the Vizier’s delivery of a speech praising his rescuer Arniauld: One must understand the profound alienation and scorn inspired in the Turks through their religion and education for anything that is not Muslim – and particularly for Christians – if one is to sense the full nobility and beauty of this deed, performed as it was in the presence of the whole Court. […] If gratitude, natural as it is to generous hearts, passes for a rare virtue especially among the great, it must be allowed that here it achieved a new lustre from the place and time of Topol Osman’s recalling the memory of his benefactor. [‘il faudroit connoître le profond mépris et le fond d’éloignement que les préjugez de la Religion et de l’éducation inspirent aux Turcs pour tout ce qui n’est point Musulman, et en particulier pour les Chrétiens, pour sentir toute la beauté et la noblesse de cette action, qui se passa aux yeux de toute sa cour’ (90). ‘Si la reconnoissance, toute naturelle qu’elle est aux cœurs genereux, passe pour une vertu rare sur tout chez les Grands, il faut convenir qu’elle reçoit ici un nouvel éclat par la circonstance qu’elle reçoit et le moment où Topal Osman rappella le souvenir de son Bienfaicteur’ (94)] Does Fuzelier’s tacit assumption in his Turkish entrée that a Christian operatic audience may well be incredulous at the idea of a Turc généreux consciously echo the presentation here of Turkish incredulity at the idea of a Generous Christian? For a similar ‘enlightened ecumenism’ (Bruce Alan Brown’s phrase) in connection with a later and different Generous Turk, the Viennese Hilverding-Starzer-Durazzo piece with that title of 1758, see Bruce Alan Brown, Gluck and the French Theatre in Vienna (Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1991), 187. Mozart and Stephanie’s Pasha in their later Seraglio, seeming at frst blush quite like Rameau-Fuzelier’s, is actually very different: his concern is to teach generosity to the West, not to reciprocate it. 21 Jean-Philippe Rameau, Œuvres complètes (Paris: Durand, 1895–1924), xiii, 260–61, 457–8. 22 Compare Pollux’s Act ii aria in Castor et Pollux: ‘Nature, Amour, qui partagez mon cœur, | Qui de vous sera le vainqueur?’

The Triumph of Generosity 107 v, scene 2 of Thomas Corneille’s Antiochus (1666) does at this point, launching on a big soliloquy which even after 56 lines doesn’t bring him to a very defnite conclusion. Meanwhile, Antiochus in Cahusac’s other 1745 text doesn’t even have to announce his and the princess’s mutual love to his father: Séleucus sees it in their eyes – ‘Je vois dans ces regards le cause de vos pleurs’ – and joins their hands without so much as a quick philosophical gloss. It’s generosity in the fast lane. As for Cahusac’s Anacréon, he is characterised by a private, unassuming, unaristocratic magnanimity. Early on in this acte de ballet, Chloé calls the poet ‘pere aimable, généreux maître’; it’s a generosity that comes to be characterised partly by his liberality in providing Chloé and Batile’s marriage-fête but mainly by the benign concern of a sentimental old fellow who enjoys observing the ups and the downs of young love, who wants to do his best by the lovers, and whose appearing to put an obstacle in the way of their happiness – that anxiety-inducing ambiguity of his over the wedding-plans – is, in part at least, so that they can better relish his removing of it. If Anacréon proposes any glory for himself, it’s simply the satisfaction of knowing that he has successfully completed his match-making – his ouvrage, as he calls it. ‘I wanted for a while to enjoy your sighs’, he tells the lovers, but, Rendre heureux ce qu’on aime est l’amour de mon âge. Qu’à former vos deux cœurs j’ai gouté de plaisirs ! Mais c’est en comblant vos désirs Que je couronne mon ouvrage. (Anacréon unit Batile & Chloé) (scene 5) [Love at my age is a matter of making those whom one loves happy. I have tasted such pleasure in forming your hearts; but it is in fulflling your desires that I crown my work.]23 Working poet that he is, does Anacréon see that ouvrage as a kind of living poem?24 So we have three Ramellian triangles leading to sudden revelations of generous good nature, which is interesting when one considers that in his personal life the composer had a reputation for being a combative, tight-fsted, crusty-peppery-vinegary sort of person. And from Cahusac we have two librettos for Rameau on that theme; and if we look into his non-operatic texts, we’ll

23 Rameau directs that the last two lines should be sung ‘avec sentiment’. 24 A century later, the generosity of the poet Hans Sachs triumphs in a similar way in Act iii, scene 4 of Wagner’s Die Meistersinger as, half-jokingly, he declines to play King Mark to Walther and Eva’s Tristan and Isolde: something echoed in turn 50 years after that by the Marschallin’s blessing of Oktavian and Sophie – ‘In Gottes Namen’ – at the climax of the Act iii trio in the Hofmannsthal-Strauss Rosenkavalier. For a notable presentation of the same theme in novel form, see Anthony Trollope’s The Way We Live Now (1875), especially Chapter 100: the resolution of the Roger-Hetta-Paul plot.

108 Roger Savage also fnd a spoken comedy of misunderstandings and confused identities from 1744 called L’Algérien, which climaxes with Hassan, the Francophile Turk of the title – ‘noble and generous soul’ they call him25 – yielding his favoured lady to a young French friend who has long loved and been loved by her. Three triangles of generosity from him too then, which is equally interesting, considering that towards the end of his life – and our Anacréon was written only a few years before he died – he was growing more and more cantankerous and depressive, becoming prone to delusions of grandeur and thoughts of suicide, even spending time in the asylum at Charenton.26 Were both men’s essays in good nature in some way self-therapising? Were Rameau and Cahusac pioneering the notion of the artist as self-curing (or would-be self-curing) neurotic? Well, perhaps; but they were also surely setting up pioneering images for Court and Opera of a spontaneous, un–self-regarding, un–self-seeking, un–nation-class-or-creedspecifc ‘natural’ generosity proper to an Age of Enlightenment.

25 Louis de Cahusac, L’Algérien, ou les Muses comediennes (Paris: Prault, 1744), 76; compare other éloges of Hassan in the play: ‘the wisest Turk that Nature has made’ (99); ‘a Turk full of honour’ (69); one who has the simplicity of the ‘Musulman’ but not his pride or ‘sombre rudesse’ and who has adopted the urbanity, gaiety and delicacy of the French but not their ‘folie et légèreté’ (23). This idea of the Exceptional Turk echoes the hope of Fuzelier in his preface to Les Indes galantes (1735) that ‘Topal Osman, […] the admirable living original I have chosen for my virtuous Pasha, will justify the characteristics that I have given to the copy’ [‘Topal Osman, […] le Modelle respectable que j’ay choisi pour former mon vertueux Basha [sic], authorise les traits que j’ay donnez à la Copie’]. For the spectrum of readings of the Turk in the eighteenth-century West, see, for example, pp. 114–18 of Johanna Fassl’s essay ‘Punchinello Meets the Turk’, in James G. Harper (ed.), The Turk and Islam in the Western Eye, 1450–1750: Visual Imagery before Orientalism (Farnham: Ashgate, 2011). For these issues as they relate to post-Indes opera from the 1750s to the 1780s, see W. Daniel Wilson, ‘Turks on the Eighteenth-Century Operatic Stage’, Eighteenth Century Life 9/2 (1985), 79–92. 26 See Emmanuel Soleville, ‘Louis de Cahusac, poète dramatique’, Biographie du Tarn et Garonne (Montauban: Emerand Forestié, 1860), 201–39.


Le TRIOMPHE de la GÉNÉROSITÉ, ou FRAGMENTS de M. RAMEAU A prologue to a newly assembled opera-ballet, The Triumph of Generosity, confected out of lines from librettos – their prologues in the main – by Edme Boursault (Méléagre, 1694: lines 10–15 below), Joseph de la Font (Les Fêtes de Thalie, 1714: 16–17, 20–45, 49–50), Simon-Joseph Pellegrin (Orion, 1728: 1–9 and Les Caractères de l’amour, 1738: 68–71) and Pierre de Morand (Les Peines & les Plaisirs de l’amour, 1730: 63–65, 72–82). Most lines are taken over ‘straight’ but half a dozen are slightly modifed; I have added nine lines of my own and I am very grateful to Peter France for contributing the speech for Minerve: 51–61. PERSONNAGES DU PROLOGUE Vénus, Mère de l’Amour L’Amour, Fils de Vénus Melpomène, Muse de la Tragédie Thalie, Muse de la Comédie Minerve, Divinité de la Sagesse & des Arts Troupe des Ris et des Plaisirs Suites de Melpomène et de Thalie Le Théâtre représente un rivage de l’Isle de Cythère. Scène I. VÉNUS. Vénus descend des cieux, suivie par les Ris et les Plaisirs. Hâtez-vous, préparez ces lieux Pour le plus grand de tous les Dieux. Quel spectacle pour une Mère ! Sur ces rivages de Cythère, Mon Fils va triompher de la Terre et des Cieux. Offrez à ses regards la plus brilliante Fête.

110 Roger Savage Achevez d’embellir cet aimable séjour : Dans un soin si charmant, que rien ne vous arrête. Vous servez Vénus & l’Amour.

___________________________________________________ Scène II. L’ AMOUR, VÉNUS. L’AMOUR.


Personne n’echappe Aux traits de l’Amour. Il attrappe Et frappe Chacun à son tour. Personne n’echappe &c.

L’AMOUR. Pour mieux faire éclater mon triomphe en ce jour Signalons dans nos Jeux le pouvoir de l’Amour. Muses, venez chanter mes exploits et ma gloire ; Thalie, Melpomène, racontez ma victoire !


On danse.

___________________________________________________ Scène III. VÉNUS, L’AMOUR, MELPOMÈNE et sa Traîne. VÉNUS. C’est Melpomène. MELPOMENE. Rivage où régne l’harmonie, 20 Ne recevez des loix que de mon seul génie. Rien ne peut égaler mes spectacles pompeux. Mes Sujets sont les Rois, les Heros & les Dieux. Les plus fns des amants expirent sur ma scène ; Armide, Phaëton, Atis, Roland, Bellerophon, Thetis De ce charmant séjour me rendent Souveraine. J’attendris par les sons mes pleurs & mes soupirs ; Mes tragiques douleurs forment les vrais Plaisirs. Régnez, divine Melpomène, 30 Régnez des vrais plaisirs l’aimable Souveraine. La suite de Melpomène lui rend hommage par leurs danses, mais on entend une Symphonie vive & gaye qui annonce l’arrivée de la Muse Comique avec sa suite.

___________________________________________________ Scène IV. MELPOMÈNE, VÉNUS, L’AMOUR, THALIE et sa Suite. MELPOMENE. Dieux ! quels frivoles sons ! Que vois-je ? C’est Thalie ! Vient-elle de ses Jeux étaler la folie ?

The Triumph of Generosity 111 THALIE. Sans vous rien disputer, je voudrois, Melpomène, Par un autre chemin égayer cette scène. Vous faites à l’Amour une cruelle offense De ne l’offrir que furieux. Sous des traits plus rians je l’offre à tous les yeux. Qui de nous sert mieux sa puissance ? Mon art est le plus doux des arts. Il est l’Amour de la Jeunesse Et je fais leçon de tendresse. Venez, volez de toutes parts, Je vais offrir à vos regards Des Jeux sans pleurs & sans tristesse. Par Arlequin et Columbine, Par Scaramouche et Truffaldine, Moi, je fais leçon de tendresse.


On danse. VÉNUS. Il reste à moi de vous deux faire la différence… On entend une Symphonie grave ; Minerve descend. Mais Minerve en ces lieux s’avance ! 50

___________________________________________________ Scène V. MINERVE, VÉNUS, L’AMOUR, MELPOMÈNE, THALIE. MINERVE. Quel démon, Muses, vous inspire De mêler aux plus beaux de vos amoureux chants Les disputes, la mort et les torrents de sang, Et les traits moqueurs de satire Qui peignent en Géronte vos malheureux amants ? Vos tendres héros et leurs belles Doivent connaître enfn la fn de leurs querelles. Puisse la Générosité, Des sentimens le plus sublime, Clef des vertus dignes d’estime Remplir les vers que vous chantez !* VÉNUS. Mon fls, marquez les mots de l’illustre déesse ! En vain à l’Univers l’Amour donne les loix ; Il n’inspire de la tendresse, Il ne triomphe ici qu’autant qu’il suit sa voix. L’AMOUR. Mais Phèdre, Medée, Didon, Le Capitaine, Pantalon … VENUS. Vous tracez de l’Amour une image trop vaine. Embrassez donc l’esprit généreux ; Unissez Minerve, Thalie et Melpomène, Et moi-même, je vais seconder vos Jeux.




Amour, vainqueur aimable, Viens, et régne sur nous ; Mais toujours sans courroux Deviens-nous favorable ! Viens, Amour, régne sur nos âmes ; Viens faire triompher tes feux ! Mais si tu dois causer des larmes, Et de nos jours toubler la paix, Fuis, fais ailleurs goûter tes charmes. 80 Pour nous, tes nœuds n’ont plus d’attraits ! Viens, Amour &c. On danse ; fn du Prologue

*Cf. L’Encyclopédie: ‘Générosité. […] Le plus sublime de tous les sentimens, le mobile de toutes les belles actions, & peut-être le germe de toutes les vertus’



New light on the genesis of the ill-fated opera Linus by La Bruère and Rameau Marie Demeilliez

Until now, little was known about Rameau’s opera Linus other than that it was abandoned, incomplete, after a few rehearsals and never publicly performed. The sole surviving sources of this fve-act tragédie en musique are two manuscript copies of the libretto, by Charles-Antoine Le Clerc de La Bruère (1715–54), and two of the frst violin part-book.1 An annotation in the hand of the collector Jacques-Joseph-Marie Decroix on one of the part-books identifes it thus: First violin part-book, the only one that Rameau managed to recover after a rehearsal of this opera at the house of the marquise de Villeroi, the score and all the other parts having been stolen or mislaid at the marquise’s home after she succumbed to a serious illness that caused much trouble and confusion in her household.2 I learned these details from Rameau’s son.3 Apart from a few allusions in the writings of the abbé Joseph de La Porte to a ‘full rehearsal’ of Linus,4 the only other relevant evidence hitherto identifed 1 This material derives from the Decroix and Soleinne collections, both assembled after Rameau’s death. The earlier of the two librettos, copied after 1753, is held in F-Pn (Manuscrits), ms. fr. 15076. The other, copied from it at the end of the eighteenth century, bears the shelf-mark F-Pn (Manuscrits), ms. fr. 9253. Both are described in Sylvie Bouissou and Denis Herlin, Jean-Philippe Rameau. Catalogue thématique des œuvres musicales. Tome 2: livrets (Paris: CNRS Editions, Bibliothèque nationale de France, 2013), RCT 46. The violin partbooks bear the shelf-marks F-Pn (Musique), Vm2. 381(2) and F-Pn, Vm2. 381(1), the latter being a copy of the former. 2 It is nowadays accepted that Rameau’s son, Claude-François, was referring to an illness suffered not by the marquise but by his own father – the ‘long and dangerous malady’ reported in the Mercure de France, May 1751, 186. 3 F-Pn, Vm2. 381(1), title page: Partie détachée de 1er violon, la seule qu’ait pu recouvrir M. Rameau après une répétition de cet opéra chez Mme la M[arqu]ise de Villeroy. La partition et toutes les autres parties détachées ayant été dérobées ou égarées chez cette dame, pendant une maladie grave qui lui survint et qui mit beaucoup de confusion dans sa maison. C’est de M. Rameau fls que l’on tient ces particularités. 4 Joseph de La Porte, Voyage en l’autre monde, ou nouvelles littéraires de celui-ci (2nd edn, London and Paris: Duchesne, 1752), ii, 161:

DOI: 10.4324/9781315554990-10


Marie Demeilliez

is in an entry of October 1754 in the diary of Charles Collé, a member of the entourage of the tax-farmer La Pouplinière, Rameau’s patron. Among other things, the diarist reveals that the composer had still not made the fnal adjustments to the music: M. de La Bruère died in Rome at the beginning of the present month. I used to know him and, without being in any sense his friend, I nevertheless always maintained some relationship with him. I agreed to take charge of his libretto for Linus, which Rameau has still not fnished setting to music, following the new revisions made by M. de La Bruère.5

The abbé de Bernis, the comte de Stainville and the Linus project: a new chronology Important evidence about the gestation of this opera emerges with the discovery of an unpublished letter to Rameau from the abbé François-Joachim de Pierre de Bernis (1715–94).6 Addressed to ‘Monsieur Rameau. Chés Mr de Lapouplinière. A Paris’, it is now preserved in the archives of the Bernis family, the abbé’s collateral descendants. The new material is complemented by another of the abbé de Bernis’s letters, this one to his close friend, the duc de Nivernais (1716–98),7 French ambassador in Rome, whose secretary was La Bruère, librettist of Linus.8 It is further complemented by a large number of letters in the correspondence of ‘On a encore de cet Auteur [La Bruère] un Linus, qui grossit le porte-feuille de M. Rameau, & qu’on ne se presse pas de nous donner depuis qu’on en a fait une répétition solemnelle’; and La Porte, L’Observateur littéraire 1 (1760), 82: ‘L’ouvrage dont il s’agit ici, est l’Opera de Linus. On en a fait une répétition chez Madame de Villeroi. Quelques défauts dans la Musique du cinquiéme Acte, ont empêché qu’on en donnât la représentation’. On this episode, see also Cuthbert M. Girdlestone, Jean-Philippe Rameau: His Life and Work (London: Cassel, 1957), 308–9. 5 Charles Collé, Journal et mémoires de Charles Collé sur les hommes de lettres, les ouvrages dramatiques et les événements les plus mémorables du règne de Louis XV (1748–1772), ed. Honoré Bonhomme (Paris: Firmin-Didot frères et fls et cie, 1868), i, 435: M. de la Bruère est mort à Rome, dans le commencement de ce mois-ci [October 1754] ; je le connoissois anciennement, et sans être son ami en aucune manière, j’avois conservé toujours cependant avec lui quelques relations. J’avois bien voulu me charger de son Poëme de Linus, que Rameau n’a point encore achevé de mettre en musique, suivant les nouvelles corrections de M. de La Bruère. 6 The discovery of this letter was made possible thanks to the project ‘Le cardinal de Bernis, un médiateur européen. 1715–1794’, directed by Gilles Montègre at the Université Grenoble Alpes (2014–16), for which the Bernis family made available its archives. For further detail, see Marie Demeilliez, ‘“Une passion si vive pour les spectacles”. Bernis et la négociation diplomatique d’un opéra de Rameau’, in Gilles Montègre (ed.), Le Cardinal de Bernis. Le pouvoir de l’amitié (Paris: Tallandier, 2019), 349–64. 7 Louis-Jules Mancini-Mazarini (1716–98), the last of the dukes of Nevers known as Nivernais, was ambassador at Rome between 1748 and 1752. 8 The letter is reproduced in Émile-Antoine Blampignon, Le Duc de Nivernais, ou Un grand seigneur au XVIIIe siècle, d’après sa correspondance inédite avec les principaux personnages de son temps (Paris: Perrin, c .1880). Blampignon had access to the archives of the Nevers family.

Linus by La Bruère and Rameau 115 Étienne-François de Choiseul (1719–85), comte de Stainville, the future duc de Choiseul. Stainville’s letters, which are also addressed to the duc de Nivernais, have been almost entirely overlooked by musicologists.9 Between them, these ‘new’ sources shed abundant light not only on the composition of the ill-starred Linus but also on the literary milieu in which this and other Rameau operatic projects were conceived. The precious correspondence from the comte de Stainville is currently available only in extracts translated into English by Rohan Butler in his monograph on Stainville and his father.10 The original texts of these letters, which formed part of Butler’s private collection until his death in 1996, have not yet been located. Of necessity, therefore, all Stainville’s letters to Nivernais are quoted below only in Rohan Butler’s translations. Over a period of several months, Stainville describes in great detail his commitment to ensuring that Rameau would agree to set La Bruère’s libretto and outlines the stages in the gestation of this opera. Stainville’s motivation for this is not immediately clear, but we shall later consider why he made so much effort to engage Rameau in the project. It is not known whether La Bruère had completed the libretto of Linus before leaving Paris at the end of 1748 to join the duke in Rome. But during the summer of 1749 Stainville engaged Bernis to negotiate with Rameau about setting this libretto. In August of that year he wrote to Nivernais: I have received from La Bruère a letter thanking me I know not why nor wherefore. I am not answering him for I have nothing to tell him yet. The Abbé de Bernis, newly Count de Lion [sic], is in charge of the negotiation to get the work taken by Rameau.11 It seemed to me the last time I saw him [Bernis] that he augured ill of it. I did not fnd in him that air of confdence which gives hope of success. If we do not succeed with Rameau we must certainly have recourse to Mondonville.12 He is the only one with some genius. All the others are wretched scribblers from whom one can hope for nothing.13 Rameau did not give his consent until the beginning of 1750. Meanwhile, Stainville had begun to discuss further with Nivernais the possibility of choosing other composers, perhaps even a Roman musician, whom they thought might

9 The earliest musicological publication to identify the correct date of composition of Linus on the basis of the comte de Stainville’s correspondence is Graham Sadler, The Rameau Compendium (Woodbridge: The Boydell Press, 2014, 118–19). I wish to thank Professor Sadler for bringing this correspondence to my attention. On the circumstances of the composition of Linus, see also Sylvie Bouissou, Jean-Philippe Rameau: musicien des Lumières (Paris: Fayard, 2014), 807–12. 10 Rohan Butler, Choiseul: Father and Son, 1719–1754 (Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1980). 11 This allusion to Bernis’s new nobility refers to his recent election to a canonry at Lyon. 12 Jean-Joseph Cassanéa de Mondonville (1711–72). For further on his relationship with Rameau, see the chapter by Thierry Favier in this volume (Chapter 3), pp. 46–60. 13 Stainville to Nivernais, 4 August 1749, in Butler, Choiseul, 787.


Marie Demeilliez

have more success with the Parisian public. Nevertheless, Stainville disliked the idea of a work that mixed French recitative with Italian music: We are in such a horrible dearth of musicians that, God forgive me, I would rather send my script [i.e., the libretto] to Quito than give it to Bury, Royer, etc.14 But we should like the same musician to do the whole work, and we are frightened of the patchwork (bigarrure) of having the recitative done here with the [rest of the] music done in Rome. […] But what you must, please, prevent is that La Bruère, who prides himself upon composing, should want to do the recitative. […] It is a mistake to think that one need not be a musician in order to do recitative’.15 Two months later, Stainville wrote again to Nivernais: I still have a little negotiation for Rameau. It has not yet either failed or succeeded. I confess that I should much like him to take our script [...]. It could well be that his genius is wearing itself out and ageing, but it does not seem so in this latest opera,16 whatever they may have told you of it, and believe me I am telling you the truth; but I thought I did notice this [decline] in Zaïs, and Naïs. Perhaps too he did them too quickly. However that may be, in such a matter one can never be sure of success in advance. All one can do is to give one’s work to the best musician and commit one’s soul to God. Now Rameau is certainly not only the best, but the only one, and I am so much of that opinion that I am very much in favour of having it set to music in Rome if Rameau does not undertake it. This project could be a chimera, but I do not regard it as madness. […] If you have a man of genius who does good music, I am persuaded that it would score a great success [here,] greater than if it were done by a Frenchman. You know the taste of this nation for novelty. Italian music is gaining ground every day.17 In April 1750, Stainville confrmed that Rameau had fnally accepted but was still requesting revisions of the libretto: The abbé de Bernis, whom I met this week, promised me to write to La Bruère. I do not know whether he has done so despite the positive promise which he gave me. Rameau has decided to do Linus but he does not want to work on it till La Bruère has made the necessary changes and corrections

14 Bernard de Bury (1720–85) and Pancrace Royer (c. 1705–55). 15 Stainville to Nivernais, 6 October 1749, in Butler, Choiseul, 787. La Bruère’s pretentions as a composer have previously been overlooked by musicologists. 16 Stainville doubtless refers to Rameau’s most recent opera, Zoroastre, premiered at the Académie Royale de Musique on 5 December 1749. 17 Stainville to Nivernais, 29 December 1749, in Butler, Choiseul, 789–90.

Linus by La Bruère and Rameau 117 and has got it quite in shape. So get the little man to work on it as soon as possible.18 The abbé de Bernis should be telling La Bruère of the changes which he thinks necessary, especially in the ffth act.19 It was probably during this period that the newly discovered letter from Bernis to Rameau was written. The complete text is given below: No one could be more sensitive than I, Monsieur, to the essential token of friendship that you give me in kindly agreeing to set Linus to music. I have sought on every occasion to convince you of my own [friendship], but whatever I might do, you would never know the extent to which I cherish in you the man, the inventor, the man of genius and, above all, the man of probity. Cahusac has sent me a new project; you may make use of it as you wish.20 In view of the other tasks on your hands, I will return Linus to you only when you have discharged these, and I will relish the opportunity to come and dine at La Pouplinière’s house. Please convey to Madame Rameau my respects. The princesse de Rohan asks me to tell you many things on her behalf. I have the honour to be, very perfectly, Monsieur, your very humble and very obedient servant. abbé de Bernis, comte de Lyon At Clichy, 21 [February 1750]21 A few weeks later, Bernis wrote to the duc de Nivernais after a performance of Le Prince de Noisy, a setting by Rebel and Francœur of a libretto that La Bruère had written for the marquise de Pompadour’s Théâtre des Petits Cabinets: Rameau is waiting for the new act from La Bruère. I have seen Le Prince de Noisy, which has been very successful at court and, if I dare add my own 18 A reference to La Bruère’s small stature, frequently alluded to by Stainville. 19 Stainville to Nivernais, 6 April 1750, in Butler, Choiseul, 791. 20 This project was presumably for a libretto, unidentifable from Stainville’s reference, by Louis de Cahusac, Rameau’s preferred librettist at this period. 21 Bernis to Rameau (Archives privées Bernis de Crolles, Varia 6): On ne sauroit être plus sensible que je le suis, Monsieur, à la marque essentiele d’amitié que vous me donnés, en voulant bien vous charger de mettre Linus en musique. J’ay cherché dans toutes les occasions à vous convaincre de la mienne, mais quelque chose que je puisse faire vous ne saurés jamais à quel point j’estime en vous l’homme, l’inventeur, l’homme de génie, et ce qui est bien au-dessus de tout cela, l’homme de probité. Mr de Cahuzac m’a communiqué un projet nouveau, vous pourrés vous en servir utilement selon les circonstances. Ainsi comme vous avés de la besogne de reste, je ne vous remettrai Linus que lorsque vous en serés débarassé et je saisirai avec bien de la joye cette occasion d’aller dîner chés Mr de La Pouplinière. Assurés je vous prie Madame Rameau de mes respects. Mde la princesse de Rohan me charge de vous dire bien des choses de sa part. | J’ay l’honneur d’être très parfaitement Monsieur votre très humble et très obéissant serviteur. | L’abbé de Bernis comte de Lyon | A Clichy, ce 21 [février 1750]. Transcribed by kind permission of the Bernis family. Facsimile of this letter in Demeilliez, ‘“Une passion si vive pour les spectacles”’, 358–9.


Marie Demeilliez opinion, I was really very happy. I beg him to revise Linus carefully and, when this is done, to send it to Rameau complete, in order that he should believe that the whole work has been revised and corrected as much as it deserves.22

The last sentence of Bernis’s letter confrms how demanding Rameau could be with his librettists, often participating actively in fnalizing the text.23

Rehearsal and revision Two further letters from Stainville mention the genesis of Linus. In November 1750, a frst version of the opera was said to be complete: I told you that I saw Rameau. He seemed to me very pleased with what he has done [on Linus]. He seemed to me to have worked on it with relish, and to be taken by it. […] I forgot to tell you that Rameau has fnished [Linus]. He is letting the work rest a while so as to take a fresh look at it later. He has promised me to let me hear it one day on the harpsichord with the abbé de Bernis. I am very curious to hear it.24 A full rehearsal took place at the marquise de Villeroy’s house six months later, on 10 May 1751,25 possibly postponed because of Rameau’s illness to which the comte de Stainville refers a week later (see p. 120). Stainville gives a detailed critique of the opera, noting not only details of the music but also the reactions of the spectators: The frst four acts were pretty successful in general although they are by no means ready, and there are many things to recast in the music; but there are some fne and even distinguished ones, above all in the entertainments [i.e., divertissements], the airs for violins [i.e., instrumental movements] and certain pieces of music. The vocal treatment is much weaker and needs to be greatly touched up.26 The ffth act is musically terrible and cannot pass as it is. Everybody thought too that the words of it were not good … It has always seemed to me mediocre, but we had imagined that it would lend itself to the music and would favour the musician. We have experienced just the contrary. […] Besides, the setting which is not bad in itself is not lively enough for the 22 23 24 25

Bernis to Nivernais, 17 March 1750, in Blampignon, Le Duc de Nivernais, 73–4. See, for example, Bouissou, Jean-Philippe Rameau, 711. Stainville to Nivernais, 16 November 1750, in Butler, Choiseul, 792. Jeanne-Louise Constance d’Aumont, wife of the marquis de Villeroy, had a private theatre in her Paris residence on the rue de Varennes that could seat about a hundred spectators. Other Rameau operas rehearsed there include La Naissance d’Osiris and Anacréon. See Sadler, The Rameau Compendium, 219. 26 Stainville to Nivernais, 17 May 1751, in Butler, Choiseul, 896–7.

Linus by La Bruère and Rameau 119 setting of a ffth act. It is a little languorous, and that is not what is wanted at the end of a tragedy. […] This is the opinion of all who were there, and everybody thinks that by resuscitating Lully and Campra they cannot make a good musical act out of the ffth […].27 But against all expectations, Rameau, weakened by illness, responded to such criticisms with uncharacteristic meekness. According to Stainville, there has been a revolution in characters which much surprised all those who are up in it. Rameau is the gentlest and most docile person in the world. He said […] after the rehearsal that there were many things in the music with which he was not happy, and that he even felt that he had not conveyed the words and situations. […] He confessed that he had done this work very quickly, without eagerness and even with a little aversion, and that he felt that there was a lot to change […] All the same he thought that in it there were pieces good enough not to be abandoned, but he asked that the poet for his part should lend himself to making the changes judged necessary.28 As for La Bruère, who was temporarily in Paris accompanying the duchesse de Nivernais on a visit to her sick mother, Stainville reports that he initially refused to revise the libretto: Without being taken in by La Bruère’s gentle air, and well knowing that he was an author as others are, very fond of what he has done, prejudiced enough in favour of his children and in addition very lazy, I did not believe that he was so intractable and so temperamental. […] I had foreseen in advance the disadvantages of Rameau and I did not disguise them. You are witness to it […] the diffculty of guiding him, the infuence of his friends, and the defect of his talent, which is great in certain things but not universal.29 Three weeks later, La Bruère ‘had added a little water to his wine’30 and, before departing for Rome, had made the necessary revisions to the ffth act, which, as Stainville reports to Nivernais, he entrusted to Bernis: Since I wrote to you about it I have not spoken to him of anything and I was quite resolved never to say anything to him, but on the eve of his departure [to rejoin Nivernais in Rome] he told me that he was determined to redo

27 Stainville to Nivernais, 17 May 1751, in ibid., 476–7. Lully and Campra are here cited as representatives of an older period of French opera. 28 Ibid., 897. 29 Ibid. 30 Stainville to Nivernais, 7 June 1751, in Butler, Choiseul, 898.

120 Marie Demeilliez the ffth act. He said so too to the abbé de Bernis and to d’Argental.31 I do not know if he will keep his word. What is certain is that everybody thinks that […] it would be a great pity to lose such a work. As to the frst four acts, [if Rameau asked for minor alterations La Bruère should accede, since]32 authors who are working together owe one another some consideration, but I have advised him to make the abbé de Bernis his proxy for that, because those things need to be done in concert, and it is not possible for him to do them himself 300 leagues away […] The abbé de Bernis is very capable of that, as also of setting words, and I assume that he had not such bad taste or weakness as to spoil the work in deference to Rameau. There are many good and beautiful things in it and I believe that it could make a very fne opera. You would do well to exhort La Bruère to rework the ffth immediately.33 In August, two of Stainville’s letters confrm that La Bruère had made the required changes and sent them to Bernis. Meanwhile Rameau, who was ‘becoming a little infrm and had been rather ill since La Bruère had left’,34 seems to have continued working on the opera during the summer after the rehearsal in Mme de Villeroy’s theatre. No doubt this protracted revision process is responsible for the numerous discrepancies between the manuscript librettos and the violin part-books. In fact, certain fragments of text in the part-books – for example, the textual cues ‘digne de ce qu’il aime’ and ‘quand ils servent l’amour’ (Act i, scene 1) and ‘et quel est votre maître?’ (iii, 1) – do not appear in the libretto and must presumably have belonged to an earlier version. The case of Acts iv and v is the most complex; the part-book bears traces of numerous corrections (deletions, paste-overs, annotations in red crayon), doubtless prompted by the reactions of spectators at the rehearsal. Stainville was particularly critical of the ffth act, a succession of animated scenes in which we fnd several topoi of French opera: This act is full of several successive noises without any intervals. The music cannot manage to distinguish these different noises in a suffciently striking way. There is the noise of a fght, then a victory, and then a defeat and one fnishes up with a tempest. It is a terrible and continual din. One is deafened without being moved, and you know that of all kinds of monotony that of noise is the most grievous.35 Act v in the part-books does indeed include, in quick succession, a combat, a storm scene involving soloists and chorus, and a vast tempête characterized 31 Charles-Augustin de Ferriol d’Argental (1700–88), nephew of the well-known salonnière Mme de Tencin and a friend of Voltaire; he was a counsellor in the Parlement de Paris and would become French ambassador to Parma between 1759 and 1788. 32 The passage in square brackets appears thus in Butler’s translation. 33 Ibid., 898–9. 34 Stainville to Nivernais, 11 July 1751, in Butler, Choiseul, 899. 35 Stainville to Nivernais, 17 May 1751, in ibid., 477.

Linus by La Bruère and Rameau 121 36

by rapid scales and repeated notes. In the surviving librettos, by contrast, the fnal act is scaled down: in the frst scene, for instance, it lacks the chorus marked ‘combat très vif’ (f. 9). Moreover, the numbering of scenes in the different sources is out of synchronization: scene 4 in the part-books is scene 3 in the librettos, in which the tempête is located in scene 5 of the violin part-book. Such disparities confrm that the librettos and part-book do not preserve the same stage of the work’s gestation. Although Rameau evidently never completed his score, the libretto of Linus was later re-set by Berton, Dauvergne and Trial in 1771. This version suffered the same fate as Rameau’s, however, in never having been performed.37

Negotiating about the music of an opera To make the libretto of Linus acceptable to Rameau, a veritable conspiracy had to be organized. Between the composer and La Bruère, three intermediaries played a part: the duc de Nivernais; the comte de Stainville, the duke’s best friend; and the abbé de Bernis, who was judged by Stainville to be best suited to persuade Rameau. Why so much effort? According to Stainville, I have done enough, too much even. The interest of La Bruère, that of our pleasure and the success of the matter have led and directed my actions.38 After La Bruère’s success at the Théâtre des Petits Cabinets with Érigone, set by Mondonville in 1747, and Le Prince de Noisy, the marquise de Pompadour (with whom Stainville, Nivernais and Bernis were all linked) insisted that La Bruère provide her with another libretto, despite his being in Rome.39 Thomas Green, detecting the infuence of Pompadour on the choice of subject-matter in Linus, even wonders whether the marquise herself actually commissioned this libretto.40 The fact that Bernis was entrusted with the delicate task of negotiating with Rameau seems important to Stainville, who several times reminds Nivernais that La Bruère should send his work directly to Bernis: By this post I have received a letter from La Bruère. I thank him for writing to me and you for not writing. I am sorry that he is sending Linus to me. 36 Linus also includes a storm involving the chorus and a bruit de guerre (Act ii), and a confagration (Act iii). 37 See Benoît Dratwicki, Antoine Dauvergne (1713–1797): une carrière tourmentée dans la France des Lumières (Wavre: Mardaga, 2011), 148–52, 448. 38 Stainville to Nivernais, 17 May 1751, in Butler, Choiseul, 898. 39 Blampignon, Le Duc de Nivernais, reproduces several letters from Mme de Pompadour to the duc de Nivernais in which she promises La Bruère a portrait of Louis xv in exchange for a libretto. See the letters of 12 April 1750 (pp. 52–3), 26 April 1750 (p. 54) and 24 February 1751 (pp. 56–7). 40 Thomas R. Green, Early Rameau Sources: Studies in the Origins and Dating of the Operas and other Musical Works (PhD diss., Brandeis University, 1992), ii, 680–4.


Marie Demeilliez He would have done better to send it to the abbé de Bernis […]. I will give it to M. d’Argental who will give it to the abbé de Bernis.41

In another letter Stainville writes, ‘We have need of [Bernis]. He must be treated with consideration’.42 For his part, the young abbé also needed the duc de Nivernais. The main object of his letter of 17 March 1750 was not to report on Linus but to make a personal request: perennially short of cash, he was soliciting Nivernais for a benefce in Brittany that was in the Pope’s gift.43 Why choose Bernis as intermediary? At the time Linus was composed, the abbé was a fashionable poet from a noble but impoverished family. Elected to the Académie Française in 1744 at the age of only 29, he was among the protégés of Mme de Pompadour, who secured for him an apartment in the Tuileries Palace and an annual pension of 1,500 livres.44 He is the presumed author of the Point de vue de l’Opéra, published in the 1740s. This takes the form of 50 tongue-in-cheek directives issued by the god Momus to regulate the amorous behaviour of the flles de l’Opéra,45 and confrms the familiarity of Bernis, an inveterate theatre-goer, with the proclivities of fashionable actresses and musicians. The mission confded to him by Stainville was prompted, perhaps, by a certain friendship between the composer and the young abbé: the tone of Bernis’s letter reveals a genuine admiration for Rameau both as a musician and a man, and the writer refers to colleagues and patrons whom they had in common (La Pouplinière, Madame de Rohan, Cahusac). In Collé’s diary, Bernis is also mentioned in a dispute between Rameau and the comte d’Argenson, whose responsibilities included oversight of the Opéra administration. According to 41 Stainville to Nivernais, 16 August 1751, in Butler, Choiseul, 899. 42 Stainville to Nivernais, 9 August 1751, in ibid., 899. 43 Letter from Bernis to Nivernais, 17 March 1750, quoted in Blampignon, Le Duc de Nivernais, 73–4: I ask for your friendship and, if you can grant it, one of the three large benefces that M. de Duras mentioned to me yesterday; I believe that you would have as much pleasure in doing this for me as I would have in holding it for you. […] Remember, Monsieur le duc, that M. de Puisieux had authorised you to request on my behalf a benefce in Brittany. You will not forget that this is now the only way in which I could get one. [Je vous demande votre amitié, et si vous le pouvez, un des trois gros bénéfces dont M. de Duras me parla hier  ; je crois que vous auriez autant de plaisir à me le faire avoir que j’en aurais de le tenir de vous. […] Rappelez-vous, Monsieur le duc, que M. de Puisieux vous avait autorisé de demander pour moi un bénéfce de Bretagne. Vous n’oublierez pas non plus que c’est la seule façon dont je puisse en avoir actuellement.] 44 On François-Joachim de Pierre de Bernis, see Gilles Montègre, Le Cardinal de Bernis. Le Pouvoir de l’amitié (Paris: Tallandier, 2019); Serge Dahoui, Le Cardinal de Bernis ou la royauté du charme (Aubenas: Lienhart, 1972); and Frédéric Masson, Le Cardinal de Bernis depuis son ministère. 1758–1794 (Paris: Société d’éditions littéraires et artistiques, 1903). 45 The Point de vue de l’Opéra – Règlement pour l’opéra ([n.p.]: [], [n.d.]) is attributed to Bernis in La France littéraire of 1778. It was published anonymously alongside a burlesque text entitled Règlement pour l’Opéra de Paris avec des nottes historiques. A Utopie, chez Thomas Morus (1743), attributed to Anne-Gabriel Meusnier de Querlon.

Linus by La Bruère and Rameau 123 Collé, it was to Bernis that Rameau gave vent to his feelings after d’Argenson had refused his request for a pension:46 This month the prévôt des marchands paid Rameau a visit out of selfinterest.47 The takings at the Opéra, which have been steadily declining, obliged him to take this step. He asked him for the new works he had composed. Rameau replied that he was ready to give these to him, but on one condition: that he be accorded a pension of 1000 écus by the Opéra. He pointed out that Campra and Destouches had both received pensions of 2000 écus and that they had been less of an asset to the Opéra than he; that nevertheless, given the current state of this spectacle, he was asking for only half of what those composers had received; that for this sum, and on paying him for his new operas at the standard rate, he would shortly provide what was requested of him. The prévôt des marchands, who is merely d’Argenson’s subordinate, went to see this minister, who refused point blank. Rameau, for his part, swore that they would get nothing if they did not satisfy him in this respect. He went to see the abbé de Bernis and, presenting him with a piece of paper, said: ‘I do not know how to draw up a well-thought-out memorandum, Monsieur, but here is an itemized statement of what my operas have produced. Look at this statement: it amounts to 978,000 livres, of which I have received a mere 22,000 livres’. The abbé de Bernis undertook to show the statement to Mme de Pompadour if he found the opportunity.48

46 On this ‘affaire d’Argenson’, see Bouissou, Jean-Philippe Rameau, 704–10. 47 In Paris, the prévôt des marchands was a high-ranking offcial whose responsibilities, between 1749 and 1757, included oversight of the administration of the Académie Royale de Musique. The post was currently held by Louis-Basile de Bernage de Saint-Maurice (1691–1767). 48 Collé, Journal et mémoires (i, 321), May 1751: M. Le prévôt des marchands a été ce mois-ci rendre une visite intéressée à Rameau. La recette de l’Opéra, qui devient tous les jours plus foible, l’a obligé de faire cette démarche. Il lui a demandé les opéras nouveaux qu’il avoit faits. Rameau lui a répondu qu’il étoit prêt à les lui donner, mais à une condition : c’est qu’on lui accorderoit mille écus de pension sur l’Opéra. Il a représenté que MM. Campra et Destouches en avoient eu chacun une de deux mille écus et qu’ils avoient été moins de ressource que lui à l’Opéra  ; que cependant, vu l’état où étoit actuellement ce spectacle, il ne demandoit que la moitié de ce que ces messieurs avoient eu ; qu’à ce prix, et en lui payant ses opéras nouveaux à l’ordinaire, il donneroit tout-à-l’heure ce qu’on lui demandoit. Le prévôt des marchands, qui n’est que le commis de d’Argenson, a été trouver ce ministre qui a refusé tout net. Rameau, de son côté, jure qu’ils n’auront rien qu’ils ne l’aient satisfait à cet égard. Il a été voir l’abbé de Bernis, et lui a dit, en lui présentant un papier : Je ne sais point, monsieur, faire de mémoire bien raisonné, moi, mais voici un état, jour par jour, de ce que mes opéras ont produit ; voyez cet état, il monte à 978.000 livres, sur quoi je n’ai bénéfcié que de 22.000 livres. L’abbé de Bernis s’est chargé, s’il en trouvoit l’occasion, de montrer cet état à Mme de Pompadour.


Marie Demeilliez

Yet despite the fact that one of Bernis’s youthful poems includes a fairly conventional reference to Rameau as one of the greatest of musicians along with Lully,49 the abbé never mentions him in his Mémoires, even though he refers to other men of letters he encountered during his Parisian years, notably Fontenelle, Maupertuis, Mairan, Buffon and the abbé Terrasson. Perhaps this omission was linked to the severe views on opera held by Bernis, now that he had become a cardinal: Hardly had I emerged from the seminary when I succumbed to the temptation to go to the theatre. The Comédie-Française softened my heart; the Opéra bewitched my senses. Thereupon a passion for these spectacles was ignited in me, so strong that the greatest sacrifce I ever made in my life was to renounce them. Attendance at the theatre produced in me a kind of revolution of ideas and feelings, from which I must conclude that this is always dangerous for young people. I even believe that the Opéra should not be allowed at any age.50 As well as Bernis, Nivernais and Stainville, all of whom were enlisted to ensure that La Bruère’s libretto was set to music, the correspondence discussed here includes other fgures from or destined to become part of the world of eighteenth-century diplomacy. In November 1750, Stainville showed a frst draft of the libretto to d’Argental, who suggested a better-characterized divertissement for the ffth act – advice that Stainville asked Nivernais to pass

49 Bernis, Epître sur le goût, dedicated to the duc de Nivernais, quoted in Poësies diverses par M. l’Abbé de Bernis. Nouvelle édition augmentée (Paris: Charles Robustel, 1756), 22–3: Plût au neufs Sœurs qu’un Amphion nouveau | Avec Lully conciliât Rameau: | Que, bannissant l’envie & la satyre, | On accordât les accens de leur lyre. | Le Dieu de Gnide et le Dieu des concerts | Ont inspiré ces deux chantres divers  : | L’un du bon goût protecteur & modéle, | Est de nos cœurs l’interprête fdele  ; | L’autre échauffé par le concert des corps | Rend avec feu leurs physiques accords. | Que de l’amour l’un chante les ravages, | L’autre les mers, la foudre, & les orages. [May it please the nine Muses that, with Lully, a new Amphion should conciliate Rameau: to banish envy and satire, let the accents of their lyre be tuned: the one, protector and model of good taste, is the faithful interpreter of our emotions; the other, infamed by the sounds of resonating bodies, renders with passion their physical harmony. May the one sing of the ravages of love, and the other [those of] the seas, the thunder and the storms.] 50 François-Joachim de Pierre de Bernis, Mémoires et lettres (1715–1758), ed. Frédéric Masson (Paris: Société d’éditions littéraires et artistiques, 1903), i, 28: Je fus à peine sorti du séminaire que la tentation d’aller au théâtre me prit, et j’y succombai. La Comédie française attendrit mon cœur, l’Opéra séduisit mes sens. Dès lors il s’alluma en moi une passion si vive pour les spectacles, que le plus grand sacrifce que j’aie fait en ma vie a été d’y renoncer. La fréquentation des spectacles produisit en moi une espèce de révolution d’idées et de sentiments, d’où je dois conclure qu’elle est toujours dangereuse pour les jeunes gens. Je crois même que l’Opéra ne doit être permis à aucun âge. Bernis nevertheless acknowledged the diplomatic value of attending the theatre during his time as Venetian ambassador (ibid., 184).

Linus by La Bruère and Rameau 125 on to La Bruère. We also learn that Stainville argued with the duc de Duras,51 who, like Nivernais, was an actor in the Marquise de Pompadour’s Théâtre des Petits Cabinets52 about the choice of composer: Duras preferred Mondonville to Rameau,53 whereas Stainville believed that although the former possessed a ‘glimmer of genius suffcient for motets […], for opera, his [talent] was not fruitful enough, varied enough, extensive enough, and he has composed bad operas. The last is less bad, but it has no greater genius’.54 As Thierry Favier’s chapter (Chapter 3) in this volume confrms,55 the widespread perception that Rameau excelled in the world of opera while Mondonville was superior in sacred music proved long-lasting. In fact, the comte de Stainville’s letters are characteristic of the critical discourse on French opera in the mid-eighteenth century. Over and above the opposition between Rameau and Mondonville, and several months before the eruption of the Querelle des Bouffons, in which Rameau would be represented as the paragon of the French style, we encounter the idea that the older composer represented ‘the mean term’ (middle ground)56 between the French and Italian styles. Rameau, who had been considered Italianate during the Lulliste-Ramiste dispute that raged around his frst operas in the 1730s,57 was still associated by Stainville with the Italian style and, for that reason, best placed to appeal to French opera-goers two decades later. Despite the structural and other diffculties encountered by La Bruère and Rameau, Linus was potentially a work of major importance. Its plot, which concerns the mutual love of Linus, son of Apollo, and Cléonice, queen of Thebes, provided Rameau with an abundance of dramatic conficts and opportunities for powerful evocations of natural and supernatural phenomena: these include a storm scene provoked by the lovers’ rivals and a bruit de guerre (Act ii), confagration of the enchanted gardens (Act iii) and a combat and two successive tempests (Act v), the second of which, particularly violent, inundates the stage. At 94 bars, this double tempête is the longest Rameau ever composed.58 * 51 Emmanuel-Félicité de Durfort, duc de Duras (1715–89), soldier and diplomat, took part in almost all of Louis xv’s wars. He was ambassador to Spain between 1752 and 1755. He would become director of the Comédie-Française and the Comédie-Italienne, and was elected a member of the Académie Française in 1775. 52 See the cast lists reproduced in Adolphe Jullien, Histoire du théâtre de Madame de Pompadour dit Théâtre des petits cabinets (Paris: J. Baur, 1874). 53 Stainville to Nivernais, 17 November 1749, in Butler, Choiseul, 788, reporting a dispute with Duras, an admirer of Mondonville, who claims to have persuaded Nivernais to have Linus set to music by Mondonville, with La Bruère’s consent. 54 Ibid., 788. Stainville presumably refers to Mondonville’s Le Carnaval du Parnasse, premiered to great acclaim at the Académie Royale de Musique on 23 September 1749. 55 See above, pp. 46–60. 56 Stainville to Nivernais, 29 December 1749, in Butler, Choiseul, 790. 57 See Francesca Pagani’s chapter in this volume (Chapter 1, pp. 11–24), which shows that in Jean Galli de Bibiena’s Mémoires et aventures de monsieur de *** (1735) Rameau is viewed as a French composer capable of integrating the expressivity of Neapolitan opera. 58 See the surviving violin part F-Pn, Vm2. 381(2), f. 12.

126 Marie Demeilliez Taken in conjunction with the letters from Bernis, this correspondence between friends reveals the importance for the genesis of Linus of a circle linked to the marquise de Pompadour and also to the diplomatic world: we recall that both Stainville and Bernis would succeed Nivernais as French ambassadors in Rome. In refning the chronology of this unfnished opera, these letters also underline the major role of Stainville and Bernis, two young academicians and theatre-lovers, in its compositional process. Translation: Graham Sadler

Part III

Borrowings and creative renewal


A cluster of allusions to Vivaldi’s Le quattro stagioni in Rameau’s ‘Anacréon’ (1757) Graham Sadler

Jean-Philippe Rameau seems to have adopted two different approaches to the recycling of musical ideas. As a self-borrower, he may not have been in the same league as Bach, Handel or Vivaldi, but he nevertheless borrowed freely from his own works. So far, almost 100 self-borrowings have been identifed,1 and further instances will doubtless come to light in the course of continuing work on the complete critical edition, Opera Omnia Rameau.2 By contrast, Rameau made relatively few borrowings from the music of other composers. ‘Borrowings’ in this context does not, of course, include generalized stylistic elements that are clearly indebted to the music of others. Few would deny, for example, that the forceful tremolandos and rushing scales that feature in the many storm scenes that punctuate his dramatic works are indebted to the tempête genre initiated by Pascal Collasse in Thétis et Pélée (1689),3 not to mention the violin writing of Vivaldi and his Italian contemporaries. But to my knowledge, no one has thematically linked any single Rameau passage of this kind with any specifc antecedent. Most of Rameau’s borrowings from other composers are brief and welldisguised. With the exception of the Gavotte and six doubles from his Nouvelles suites de pièces de clavecin (1729 or 1730), which have been shown to be closely

1 See Graham Sadler, ‘A Re-examination of Rameau’s Self-Borrowings’, in John Hajdu Heyer (ed.), Jean-Baptiste Lully and the Music of the French Baroque: Essays in Honor of James R. Anthony (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1989), 264–76. For evidence that certain borrowings in Rameau’s fnal operas were not made by the composer himself, see Julien Dubruque, Édition critique, histoire, genèse et esthétique des deux versions du ‘Temple de la Gloire’ de Voltaire et Rameau (doctoral thesis, Université François Rabelais de Tours, 2014). 2 Jean-Philippe Rameau, Opera Omnia Rameau, ed. Sylvie Bouissou (Paris: Gérard Billaudot, 1993–2002 and Bonneuil-Matours/Tauxigny: Société Jean-Philippe Rameau, 2003–). 3 See Caroline Wood, ‘Orchestra and Spectacle in the tragédie en musique 1673–1715: oracle, sommeil and tempête’, Proceedings of the Royal Musical Association 108 (1981–82), 25–46; Caroline Wood, Music and Drama in the ‘tragédie en musique’, 1673–1715 (New York: Garland, 1996), 334–45 and Sylvie Bouissou, Crimes, cataclysmes et maléfces dans l’opéra baroque en France (Paris: Minerve, 2011).

DOI: 10.4324/9781315554990-12

130 Graham Sadler modelled on a set of variations by Handel,4 many of the ones that have so far been identifed – from Ariosti, Campra, Charpentier, François Couperin, Pierre Février, Handel, Lalande, Leclair and Telemann5 – consist of little more than brief quotations of musical themes. In each case, we can be confdent that Rameau was familiar with the model in question, and the melodic and harmonic resemblances are close enough for us to be reasonably sure that they were not coincidental. But whether such borrowings were deliberate or merely subconscious reminiscences remains impossible to prove. The cluster of allusions that form the focus of the present chapter are, however, of quite a different order. They occur in ‘Anacréon’,6 one of the entrées that Rameau added to his opéra-ballet Les Surprises de l’Amour (1748) for its 1757 revival.7 The allusions, to several of the concertos that make up Vivaldi’s Le quattro stagioni,8 occur in a passage of some 25 bars during the sommeil and orage in scene 3. They form a network of references not only to the thematic material and harmonic procedures of the model but also to certain verbal annotations in the published source. The allusions were evidently inspired by the dramatic situation in ‘Anacréon’. The plot of this entrée hinges on the question of whether love and wine can co-exist. While the ancient Greek poet Anacréon thinks they can, the Priestesses of Bacchus (Ménades, or Bacchantes) believe otherwise. During a feast in honour of the god of wine, Anacréon and his companions celebrate the pleasures of inebriation. Their revels are interrupted by the Ménades, who wish to banish love from the Bacchanal cult. Anacréon strenuously challenges their attempt to dissociate the two things he holds most dear but eventually succumbs to

4 Air and variations in D minor for harpsichord, HWV 428; see Graham Sadler, ‘From Themes to Variations: Rameau’s Debt to Handel’, in M. Biget and R. Schmusch (eds), ‘L’Esprit français’ und die Musik Europas: Entstehung, Einfuß und Grenzen einer aesthetischen Doktrin (Hildesheim: Olms, 2007), 592–607. 5 Several of these borrowings are discussed in Graham Sadler, The Rameau Compendium (rev. 2nd edn, Woodbridge: The Boydell Press, 2017), 27–8, 56–7, 80, 97, 115, 203–4, and in Sadler, ‘A Re-examination of Rameau’s Self-Borrowings’, 260–1. 6 This work, on a libretto by Pierre-Joseph Bernard, is not to be confused with the one-act Anacréon (1754) on a libretto by Louis de Cahusac discussed in Chapters 5 and 6 of this volume. 7 On the gestation of the entrée ‘Anacréon’, see Jean-Philippe Rameau, Les Surprises de l’Amour, ed. Sylvie Bouissou (Paris: Gérard Billaudot, 1996), Opera Omnia Rameau, OOR iv.27/2, xviii and xxxii and Sylvie Bouissou, Jean-Philippe Rameau: musicien des Lumières (Paris: Fayard, 2014), 672–5. 8 Le quattro stagioni, the frst four concertos of Vivaldi’s Il cimento dell’armonia e dell’inventione, op. 8, were published as a set of fve part-books by Le Cène in Amsterdam in 1725 (see also note 20 below). On the popularity of these concertos in France, see Michael Talbot, ‘“Le plus habile compositeur qui soit à Venise”: Vivaldi’s Reputation in Eighteenth-Century France’, in Marie-Alexis Colin (ed.), French Renaissance Music and Beyond: Studies in Memory of Frank Dobbins (Turnhout: Brepols, 2018), 567–89. I wish to thank Professor Talbot for his constructive comments on a draft of this essay.

Allusions in ‘Anacréon’


intoxication and falls asleep. In his dreams he is visited by Cupid, whose revelations lead eventually to a resolution of the plot.

The sommeil It is during the sommeil that accompanies the poet’s drunken stupor that we fnd the frst direct links with Vivaldi’s Le quattro stagioni, and more particularly with L’autunno (RV293), the third concerto in the set. Here too is the frst evidence that Rameau had directly studied the musical source rather than merely heard a performance of the work. Not only does the opening of the sommeil bear an unmistakable resemblance to the start of the second movement of Vivaldi’s concerto, but Rameau must surely have noticed that in the published partbooks this movement is labelled ‘Ubriachi dormienti’ (Sleeping drunkards). It will be recalled that L’autunno depicts a celebration of the harvest during which, as the sonnet appended to the published work explains, the peasants sample the fruits of their labour: E del liquor de Bacco accesi tanti Finiscono col Sonno il lor godere. [And many, infamed by the liquor of Bacchus, conclude their enjoyment with sleep.] No doubt it was the fact that the narrative situation in this movement is so similar to the one at the start of scene 3 in ‘Anacréon’ which particularly attracted Rameau’s attention. Still, we should note that he could not have made this connection merely from having heard the piece: while any imaginative listener might interpret Vivaldi’s slow movement as a representation of sleep, it is only the published musical source that reveals that the sleepers in this case are ubriachi: drunkards. Example 8.1 below shows extracts from the opening of the two movements. It is worth emphasising that the Rameau passage can in no way be regarded as a quotation of the Vivaldi. Rather, the Frenchman was evidently seeking to create a comparable effect to that in L’autunno, by using similar means. The resemblance of the near-identical opening melodic fgure (indicated by a bracket in Example 8.1) is enhanced by the use of slow triple time, similar rhythmic movement and phrasing, languid chromatic harmony and a texture comprising three high-lying upper parts separated from the bass by some considerable distance – features which between them depict the ‘sweet sleep’ (dolcissimo sonno) referred to in the accompanying sonnet.9 9 Paul Everett, Vivaldi: ‘The Four Seasons’ and Other Concertos, op. 8 (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1996), 86, nevertheless suggests that the startling harmonic features discussed later in this essay evoke a slumber that is far from untroubled.

132  Graham Sadler

Example 8.1  (a) Vivaldi, L’autunno, RV 294, second movement (from b. 6); continuo figuring omitted; (b) Rameau, ‘Anacréon’ (1757), scene 3, sommeil (from b.  3); dynamics and ornaments omitted. To facilitate comparison, this passage has been transposed down a fifth.

Less obvious to the eye but instantly apparent to the ear is the harmonic s­ imilarity between these two passages. Both composers make extensive use of the chord of the diminished 7th – Vivaldi in bars 1, 5, 7 and 11, Rameau in bars 2, 4, 7 (second beat) and 9. Moreover, many of these chords resolve in a distinctive way, exemplified in the final bars of each extract, where a ­diminished 7th on G sharp resolves chromatically on to the third inversion of a dominant seventh. This progression recurs several times in Example 8.1 (Vivaldi, bars 1–3, 7–9 and 11–13; Rameau, bars 4–5 and 9–10), and its repeated use ­produces a powerful bond between the two passages. Rameau actually chooses to ignore some of Vivaldi’s other progressions, which may have struck him as outlandish – notably, the plunge from one unresolved diminished 7th to another (Example 8.1(a), bars 5–7) and the move directly from one unresolved dominant 7th to another (bars 3–4). Rather than emulate such irregular procedures, he substitutes a different but equally bold progression, in what might be described as a ‘gesture against the model’.10 The resolution of the 10 For further examples of this procedure, see Sadler, ‘From Themes to Variations: Rameau’s Debt to Handel’, 598.

Allusions in ‘Anacréon’  133 diminished 7th in bar 2 of Example 8.1(b) introduces an element of Rameau’s beloved enharmony: this chord, built on D sharp, should conventionally resolve on to a chord of E major or minor (see Example 8.2(a) below), but sidesteps instead on to a G minor chord in second inversion. This implies an enharmonic ‘re-­spelling’ of the bass note, since the de facto leading note is now F sharp rather than D sharp, the latter being interpreted by the ear as E flat (see Example 8.2(b)).11 Thus although Rameau’s progression may be different in kind from those of Vivaldi in bars 2–3 of Example 8.1(a), it produces an analogous sense of harmonic dislocation. Rameau may again be seen to be writing ‘against the model’ in his treatment of the chromaticism in the melodic figure indicated by the bracket in Example 8.1(b), where the B natural in bar 2 eventually falls to B flat in the next bar. This figure, as we have observed, derives from the one bracketed in Example 8.1(a). Yet whereas the chromaticism in Rameau’s treatment of the figure descends, in Vivaldi’s it rises: see Example 8.1(a), violin 2, bars 2–3 (F natural – F sharp), bars 8–9 (D natural – D sharp) and bars 12–13 (C natural – C sharp). Despite this difference, however, the aural effect of all these chromaticisms, whether in rising or falling movement, is remarkably similar.12 I briefly drew attention to this and one other borrowing from Le quattro stagioni in 1996, in the liner note to a recording of ‘Anacréon’.13 At that time I was struck by the network of melodic, harmonic and textural correspondences between the two passages, but was not entirely convinced that the allusion to L’autunno was deliberate, having yet to make the connection between Vivaldi’s ‘sleeping drunkards’ and the dramatic context of the sommeil. My characterization of this borrowing as ‘unconscious’ was nevertheless rightly questioned by Kees Vlaardingerbroek.14 Indeed, the strong probability that Rameau not only

Example 8.2  Alternative resolutions of diminished seventh chord

11 For analyses of Rameau’s practical treatment of enharmonic progressions, see Thomas Christensen, Rameau and Musical Thought in the Enlightenment (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1993), 200–5 and Raphaëlle Legrand, Rameau et le pouvoir de l’harmonie (Paris: Cité de la musique, 2007), 120–35. 12 It was presumably a consequence of opting for descending rather than rising chromaticism that prevented Rameau from borrowing the harmonic progression in Vivaldi’s opening bars, hence his substitution of the enharmonic progression discussed above. 13 Jean-Philippe Rameau, Anacréon/Le Berger fidèle, Les Musiciens du Louvre, conducted by Marc Minkowski (Archiv Produktion, 449211-2), 1995. 14 Kees Vlaardingerbroek, ‘Vivaldi alla francese: Guido and Rameau “à la manière vivaldienne”’, Informazioni e studi vivaldiani 18 (1997), 63–80. I am grateful to the author for his invaluable assistance during the preparation of this essay.

134  Graham Sadler heard the concerto but also examined one of its published sources and saw its intended descriptive content, surely confirms a conscious borrowing.

Raindrop pizzicatos As it happens, there is further evidence that Rameau had studied the printed part-books of Le quattro stagioni. This is found in the four bars that immediately follow the passage quoted above in Example 8.1(b). Towards the end of the sommeil, raindrops begin to fall on the sleeping Anacréon, presaging an approaching storm. In Rameau’s engraved score this passage is marked ‘Pluye’, and the falling raindrops are depicted by the first and second violins, whose oscillating chord-patterns in 6ths are marked ‘pincé’ – i.e., pizzicato in this context (see Example 8.3). Although Rameau makes abundant use of this technique in his operas, the present instance is one of his few uses of ‘linear’ pizzicato, where the instruments pluck a single line as opposed to multiple-stopped chords.15 It is therefore with some interest that we turn to another component of Le quattro stagioni, the final concerto, L’inverno (RV 294), where precisely the same technique is employed in an identical context. At the start of the second movement, the divided violins have broken-chord patterns labelled ‘La Pioggia’ (‘Rainfall’) and marked to be played pizzicato (see Example 8.4). Once again, the accompanying sonnet makes clear the descriptive intent: Passar al foco i di quieti e contenti Mentre la pioggia fuor bagna ben cento. [Passing quiet and contented days beside the fire, while the rain beats down furiously outside.]

Example 8.3  Rameau, ‘Anacréon’, sommeil, bb. 13–16

15 On Rameau’s use of this technique, see Paul-Marie Masson, L’Opéra de Rameau (Paris: Laurens, 1930), 514–15 and Graham Sadler, ‘Rameau and the Orchestra’, Proceedings of the Royal Musical Association 108 (1981–82), 47–68.

Allusions in ‘Anacréon’  135

Example 8.4  Vivaldi, L’inverno (RV 297), second movement, bb. 1–2; dynamics and continuo figuring omitted

As in Rameau’s sommeil, the plucked violins form an aural counterpoint to the sustained lines of the other instruments and fulfil two distinct functions, the one onomatopoeic, the other harmonic. From the fact that Vivaldi appears nowhere else to have explicitly made this connection between pizzicato and raindrops,16 we can again be confident that Rameau’s inspiration in this instance derived from the published part-books of Le quattro stagioni.

The Orage The final connection with Vivaldi’s cycle of concertos appears in the orage that immediately follows the depiction of rainfall illustrated in Example 8.3 above. The link is with the second concerto, L’estate (RV 315). The third movement of this work is likewise a storm, labelled ‘Tempo impetuoso d’estate’ and graphically described in the sonnet appended to this concerto: Ah che pur troppo i Suoi timor Son veri Tuona e fulmina il Ciel e grandinoso Tronca il capo alle Spiche e a’ grani alteri. [Alas, his worst fears are justified: the heavens roar and flash, and hailstones cut off the ears of corn and lofty wheat.] The corresponding storm in ‘Anacréon’ is crammed with elements that we instinctively recognize as Vivaldian, although as Kees Vlaardingerbroek 16 Michael Talbot, in private correspondence, kindly confirmed this detail. Vivaldi uses pizzicato to represent teardrops in the aria ‘Sento in seno ch’in pioggia di lagrime’ in his opera Giustino (ii, 1). See Michael Talbot, Vivaldi (2nd edn, London: Dent, 1993), 91.

136  Graham Sadler concedes, ‘it is perhaps conceivable that raging scales and furious tremolos were by that time sufficiently common not to be associated directly with Vivaldi’s “Tempo impetuoso d’estate”’.17 But in view of the subsequent realization that the preceding sommeil is demonstrably indebted to Le quattro stagioni in several respects, the resemblances in this orage to a third concerto in the cycle seem highly unlikely to be coincidental. The parallel passages are shown in Examples 8.5 and 8.6 below. The fact that Rameau’s movement is in duple time and Vivaldi’s in triple is of no real consequence in the present context, since the ‘borrowing’ consists not of a direct quotation, but rather a manipulation of the model, whereby a 16-bar passage near the start of the concerto movement is condensed in the orage into a mere half-a-dozen bars, and its components re-worked. One prominent feature in the first ten bars of the model – the canon at the unison between the violins – has no counterpart in Rameau’s orage; but even without this, the resemblance between the two passages is immediately obvious to the listener. It is enhanced by the fact that the two passages share a very similar harmonic structure, which begins with a rising pattern outlining a triad and ends with an extended dominant pedal (see Example 8.7). As noted earlier, the Rameau passage is less than half the length of its model, hence no doubt the omission of two elements of Vivaldi’s harmonic structure. A further relationship becomes apparent in the sequences in bars 4–7 of the Vivaldi extract and bars 1–3 of the orage. In both passages where the bass rises by leaps of a third (Vivaldi – C, E flat, G; Rameau – G, B flat, D), each pitch is anticipated by a plunging violin scale ending one or two octaves above the bass. The relationship is disguised by the fact that Rameau’s scales are confined to an octave, whereas Vivaldi’s descend a twelfth; but this difference is surely a consequence of the Frenchman’s decision to change the metre from triple to duple. The disparity, represented schematically in Example 8.8, is, in any case, more apparent than real, since the ear is not so much aware of the starting point of each scale as of the way it swiftly ‘homes in’ on the equivalent pitch in the bass. Interestingly, Rameau enhances the opening five bars of his orage by providing the flutes with the rising scale figure which in his model does not occur until bars 12–15 of Example 8.5. Once again, the composer prefers to take elements of the original as a source of inspiration rather than to quote them literally. Indeed, it would appear that his primary purpose in alluding to these various elements of L’estate was to fire his imagination:18 after the first six bars of the orage, ‘Anacréon’ contains no further reference to this or any other Vivaldi concerto. The resemblances revealed in the above music examples are thus clear enough. They are even more apparent to the ear than to the eye, however, and

17 Vlaardingerbroek, ‘Vivaldi alla francese: Guido and Rameau “à la manière vivaldienne”’, 72. 18 The composer may also, as Michael Talbot has suggested to me, have been ‘toying’ with his audience, expecting them to appreciate these sly allusions to his model.

Allusions in ‘Anacréon’  137

Example 8.5  Vivaldi, L’estate (RV 315), third movement, from b. 10; slurs and continuo figuring omitted

138  Graham Sadler

Example 8.6  Rameau, ‘Anacréon’, scene 3, orage, bb. 1–6; bassoons and contrebasse omitted

Example 8.7  Harmonic structure of Examples 8.5 and 8.6

Example 8.8  Relationship between violin scales and bass

Allusions in ‘Anacréon’  139 readers may thus wish to experience this for themselves by listening to a collage of audio extracts in which the Vivaldi and Rameau passages are juxtaposed, accessible at * The idea that Rameau had studied Le quattro stagioni is, of course, hardly surprising. The first concerto in the cycle, La primavera (RV 269), had been a firm favourite in France ever since it was first heard at the Concert Spirituel in 1725, and the three remaining concertos, though less frequently performed, were well enough known by French audiences to have inspired imitations19 and to have justified a new edition, published in Paris in 1739.20 As a life-long admirer of the best of Italian music, Rameau would thus have had ample opportunity to acquaint himself with the concertos with which Vivaldi was most closely associated in France – not least because their programmatic character conformed perfectly to the Aristotelian concept of the imitation of nature that constituted the backbone of French aesthetic theory. It is therefore safe to conclude that by the time Rameau came to compose ‘Anacréon’ in the 1750s, he had been familiar with Les Saisons, as the cycle was known in France, for several decades. Yet the borrowings and allusions to which I have drawn attention give the impression of being inspired by recent experience, in view of the particular association of sleep and inebriation. Rather than assuming that Rameau was relying on distant memories of these concertos, we might justifiably hypothesize that he had heard them performed at some time during the gestation period of ‘Anacréon’, and that this experience prompted him to (re-)examine the printed part-books. In the absence of evidence that Rameau had attended any such performance or else had performed them in a chamber group, this must remain a mere supposition. Yet it gains a scintilla of support from a comparison of the sommeil in ‘Anacréon’ with those in his earlier operas. The former is the only sommeil in his œuvre to abandon the distinctive character that had defined this genre since the early days of French opera.21 Rameau’s previous sommeils, in Hippolyte et Aricie (iv, 3), Dardanus (iv, 2) and Les Fêtes de Polymnie (iii, 3), all follow the traditional model, in which pairs of slurred crotchets move mainly in stepwise movement, usually in duple time, as in Example 8.9. We can only imagine that the com 19 See Talbot, “‘Le plus habile compositeur qui soit à Venise’”, 573–4 and Vlaardingerbroek, ‘Vivaldi alla francese’, 80. 20 Il cimento dell armonia e dell inventione […] da D. Antonio Vivaldi, opera ottava (Paris: Charles-Nicolas Le Clerc, [1739]). Like Le Cène’s edition (see above, n.8), this freshly engraved source comprises a set of five part-books and includes the text of the four descrip­tive sonnets. Rameau nevertheless appears to have consulted the Amsterdam edition rather than this French one, since crucially the latter lacks the annotation ‘La Pioggia’ discussed above. 21 For an overview of the early development of the sommeil, see Wood, ‘Orchestra and Spectacle in the tragédie en musique 1673–1715’, 34–40 and Wood, Music and Drama in the ‘tragédie en musique’, 1673–1715, 327–34.

140  Graham Sadler

Example 8.9  Rameau, Les Fêtes de Polymnie, iii, 3, sommeil

poser, realizing that Vivaldi’s representation of ‘sleeping drunkards’ perfectly suited the dramatic situation in ‘Anacréon’, decided to adopt it as his model there in preference to the traditional French one. It was not long before he completed the 1757 ‘Anacréon’ that Rameau made his oft-quoted remark to the abbé François Arnaud, that ‘if I were thirty years younger, I would go to Italy, and Pergolesi would be my model’.22 In the wake of the Querelle des Bouffons, in which he was vaunted by the anti-Bouffonists as arch-representative of French music, the septuagenarian composer was clearly still taken by what in France was regarded as the latest thing from Italy. Even so, the evidence discussed above indicates that he had by no means turned his back on the music of an older generation of Italian composers, and that this continued to be a fruitful source of inspiration to him in his final years.

22 Quoted in André-Ernest-Modeste Grétry, Mémoires ou essais sur la musique (Paris: Imprimerie de la République, 1797), i, 426–7: ‘Si j’avois trente ans de moins, disoit-il à l’abbé Arnaud, j’irois en Italie, Pergolèze seroit mon modèle ; […] mais à soixante ans, l’on sent qu’il faut rester ce que l’on est’.


Recreating Rameau Jacques-Simon Mangot and his role in Parma Margaret R. Butler

Mounting an opera production might be compared to creating a critical edition of a musical work: those involved in each activity make creative choices, ones that impact on an audience’s experience of those pieces, and, in turn, infuence those pieces’ own histories. Arguably such choices become inseparable from the works themselves. A different, but related sort of creative process occurs when one work serves as the basis for another. What happens when an opera appears in a different guise, and through revision and rearrangement, eventually assumes an altogether new form and genre? How might such shape-shifting refect broader concerns of a theatre and community that sponsors it? And what does such a process require of the personnel involved, whether they be the ones responsible for its transformation or those who actually bring it to the stage? These thorny questions are crucial for understanding the musical life of Parma, one of the foremost centres for French opera and ballet outside Paris in the mid-eighteenth century.1 The northern Italian city came under Bourbon rule in 1749 and soon began importing French artistic products of all kinds, including a number of works by Jean-Philippe Rameau and other composers. French operas and ballets began to occupy the stage of Parma’s Teatro Ducale alongside traditional forms of Italian opera.2 Until now, little was known about Parma’s French repertory apart from titles and performers’ names, and our view of even these components is still partial and vague.3 However, hitherto unexplored evidence demonstrates that Jacques-Simon Mangot, Rameau’s brother-in-law and Parma’s court music director, shaped the city’s French 1 I explore these questions more fully in Musical Theater in Eighteenth-Century Parma: Entertainment, Sovereignty, Reform (Rochester: University of Rochester Press, 2019). This essay expands material found in Chapters 1 and 3 in particular. 2 Gaspare Nello Vetro, Il teatro ducale e la vita musicale a Parma dai farnesi a Maria Luigia, 1687–1829 (Rome: Aracne, 2010), presents an updated chronology of Parma’s Italian operas, revising and expanding Paolo Emilio Ferrari, Spettacoli drammatico-musicali e coreografci in Parma dall’anno 1628 all’anno 1883 (Parma, 1884; reprint Bologna: Forni, 1969). 3 See Giuliana Ferrari, ‘La compagnia Jean-Philippe Delisle alla Corte di Parma (1755–58) e la “riforma teatrale” di Guillaume Du Tillot’, in Luigi Allegri and Renato di Benedetto (eds), La Parma in festa: Spettacolarità e teatro nel ducato di Parma nel Settecento (Modena: Mucchi, 1987), 165–210.

DOI: 10.4324/9781315554990-13

142 Margaret R. Butler entertainments in ways that have escaped notice.4 As this evidence demonstrates, Mangot should be counted among those theatrical personnel in Parma whose activities led to developments that irrevocably changed the landscape of eighteenth-century opera, introducing to European theatres and audiences new possibilities for creating innovative blends of French and Italian styles. A penchant for generic play and adaptation characterizes the whole of Parma’s mid-century musical theatre. Mangot played a decisive role in how this transformation looked and sounded to Parmesan audiences. Understanding Mangot’s milieu sheds light on his importance within it. In 1749 Parma’s new sovereign, Philippe de Bourbon, attempted to transform the city into a modern and sophisticated European capital.5 Together with Guillaume Du Tillot, his visionary adviser and later prime minister, he created a cultural centre that became known around Europe for its French infuence on all spheres of artistic life. In 1755 Du Tillot recruited a large troupe of French dancers, singers and actors to Parma. Led by their director, Jean-Philippe Delisle, they provided plays, operas and ballets for the court and public during a four-year residency. Mangot arrived the following year, in 1756, remaining in service there until his death in 1791. In 1759, court composer Tommaso Traetta began to write innovative Italian operas, combining French-inspired dances, choruses and ensembles with Italianate arias, recitatives and other dramaturgical features. Table 9.1 presents Traetta’s four works for Parma that are best known as his reform operas. Gluck and his associates in Vienna spearheaded contemporaneous reforms, destined to become far more famous, of which Orfeo ed Euridice (1760) stands as the quintessential example.6 Seminal studies on operatic reform in Parma have underscored the importance of the city’s stylistic innovations.7 Yet the circumstances surrounding Parma’s unique stylistic blend, which in turn determined the conditions for the Parmesan reform efforts, largely remain a mystery. Moreover, the dearth of musical sources and a reliable chronology for the city’s French operas and ballets has long hampered a full understanding of its musical theatre and related contexts. However, a few important sources, some hitherto unexplored and some that I have re-evaluated, form the basis on which I have been able to construct a revised view of Parma’s French entertainments and their impact on later developments.8 As I demonstrate in this essay, investigating Mangot’s contributions to these entertainments at once amplifes and clarifes the context in which Traetta’s operas and reform in Parma need to be placed. 4 For brief biographical details on Jacques-Simon Mangot and his sister Marie-Louise, see Graham Sadler, The Rameau Compendium (Woodbridge: The Boydell Press, 2014), 124–5. 5 Henri Bédarida, Parme et la France de 1748 à 1789 (Paris: Champion, 1927); see also Carminella Biondi, La Francia a Parma nel secondo Settecento (Bologna: Clueb, 2003). 6 Bruce Alan Brown, Gluck and the French Theatre in Vienna (Oxford: Clarendon, 1991). 7 Daniel Heartz, ‘Traetta in Parma: Ippolito ed Aricia’, in John A. Rice (ed.), From Garrick to Gluck: Essays on Opera in the Age of Enlightenment (Hillsdale: Pendragon, 2004), 271–92 and George Loomis, ‘Traetta’s Operas for Parma’ (PhD diss., Yale University, 1999). 8 See Butler, Musical Theater in Eighteenth-Century Parma.

Recreating Rameau 143 Table 9.1 Tommaso Traetta’s four reform operas for Parma Title


Ippolito ed Aricia I Tindaridi

1759, opened Carlo Innocenzo Adaptation of Hippolyte et Aricie 2 May Frugoni (Rameau/Pellegrin) 1760, 14 Frugoni Adaptation of Castor et Pollux May–30 June (Rameau/Bernard) 1760, Frugoni Adaptation of Les Fêtes d’Hébé, ou September Les Talents lyriques (Rameau/ Montdorge), Les Fêtes de l’Hymen et de l’Amour, ou Les Dieux d’Egypte (Rameau/Cahusac), and Le Ballet des sens (Mouret/Roy) 1761, Spring Jacopo Antonio Adaptation of Enée et Lavinie Sanvitale (Dauvergne/Fontenelle)

Le feste d’Imeneo

Enea e Lavinia



Mangot brought to Parma a wealth of experience as an instrumentalist, conductor, singer, composer and opera director. He collaborated with Delisle and the troupe, conducted the orchestra and oversaw music copying. Although Mangot’s contribution to court chamber music is coming to be more clearly understood,9 his connection with Parma’s operas and ballets has required further scrutiny. For reasons hinted at above, scholars have missed the fact that Mangot’s arrival coincides with a repertorial shift signifying a decisive attempt to raise the standards of Parma’s musical theatre. Table 9.2 attempts to reconstruct the musical repertory of Delisle’s troupe, which, from 1755, presented spoken tragedies and comedies, opéras comiques and ballets.10 Frequent productions of works in the loftier genres of tragédie en musique, ballet héroïque and pastorale héroïque appeared just after Mangot’s arrival the following year. In this, Parma was truly unique: no city outside France produced as many works in these elevated French genres.11 Even Vienna, whose French theatre gave 9 See Paolo Russo, ‘Musica a corte da Odoardo Farnese alla fne del ducato’, in Francesco Luisi and Luigi Allegri (eds), Storia di Parma, 10 (Musica e Teatro) (Parma: Monte Università Parma, 2013), 149–93. Mangot is discussed on pp. 163 and 168. See also Paolo Russo, ‘Duni a Parma: Tracce d’archivio tra opera italiana e teatro francese’, in Paolo Russo (ed.), I due mondi di Duni: Il teatro musicale di un compositore illuminista fra Italia e Francia (Lucca: Libreria Musicale Italiana, 2014), 87–117. 10 David Charlton argues convincingly that Parma’s Ninette à la cour was composed for the troupe by Egidio Duni (maestro di cappella in Parma from 1750) and later retitled Le Retour au village on the score’s publication in Paris in 1758 or 1759. The genre is designated as ‘Opera Comique, Pantomime, et Ballet’, signalling a highly experimental theatre piece. See Charlton, ‘Duni’s Le Retour au village and the Politics of Parma’, in Russo (ed.), I due mondi di Duni: Il teatro musicale di un compositore illuminista fra Italia e Francia, 119–54. 11 Even at court theatres where French infuence was strong and where French-inspired Italian opera was produced, French operatic vocal music was rare to nonexistent. Some of Rameau’s


Margaret R. Butler

plays and opéras comiques, never attempted full-length performances of serious repertory.12 Mangot likely engineered the creative revisions of several French operas performed for the public, three of them by Rameau, and had many more of Rameau’s works staged at court. After revised versions of Les Indes galantes and Castor et Pollux, Parma’s creative team adapted ‘Anacréon’, an entrée added to Les Surprises de l’Amour (1748) at the 1757 revival,13 as a ballet titled Anacreonte (1759). This work forms a crucial link – signifcant both for its chronological position and its generic intermingling – between the last of the French opera productions and the frst of Traetta’s French-inspired Italian adaptations: Anacreonte premiered in carnival 1759 (the carnival season generally running from 26 December to sometime between January and April) and Ippolito ed Aricia in May 1759 – at most, a mere six months later. In the absence of an extant score of Anacreonte and seeking to understand how Mangot’s adaptation process might have worked, I reconstructed the ballet music on the basis of the Parma scenario and Rameau’s score for ‘Anacréon’. The evidence shows that chief among the resources necessary for recreating Rameau’s works was a strong musician experienced with their style and knowledgeable about their production. Moreover, it required someone with imagination who was capable of conceiving different works on the same subject. Mangot would continue to demonstrate his skill in this regard; in 1762 he wrote to Du Tillot from Vienna, proposing a creative recreation of Castor et Pollux.14 The key to understanding Parma’s unique theatrical environment, and by extension the subsequent French-inspired reforms there, particularly as they concern Rameau’s works, seems to be Mangot, his activities and his long-standing infuence. operatic music was also given in Dresden (Zoroastre), while according to Decroix, ‘On a souvent exécuté des morceaux tirés des Opéras de Rameau sur les théâtres de Parme, de Naples & de Florence, & surtout ses airs de ballet’: Jacques Joseph Marie Decroix, L’Ami des arts ou justifcation de plusieurs grands hommes (Amsterdam: [n. p.], 1776), 132; see also Mary Cyr, ‘Rameau e Traetta’, Nuova rivista musicale italiana 12 (1978), 166–82. Places that sponsored French-inspired Italian opera, other than Vienna, include Mannheim (later, Munich), Stuttgart, Ludwigsburg and Berlin. On German centres, see Nicole Edwina Ivy Baker, ‘Italian Opera at the Court of Mannheim, 1758–1770’ (PhD diss., University of California, Los Angeles, 1994); Paul Edward Corneilson, ‘Opera at Mannheim, 1770–1778’ (PhD diss., University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, 1992); Marita P. McClymonds, ‘Mattia Verazi and the Opera at Mannheim, Stuttgart, and Ludwigsburg’, Studies in the Music of Western Ontario 7 (1982), 99–136 and Bruno Forment, ‘Frederick’s Athens: Crushing Superstition and Resuscitating the Marvellous at the Königliches Opernhaus, Berlin’, Cambridge Opera Journal 24 (2012), 1–42. Within Italy, Turin showed a strong interest in French-inspired innovations; see Margaret Ruth Butler, Operatic Reform at Turin’s Teatro Regio: Aspects of Production and Stylistic Change in the 1760s (Lucca: LIM, 2001). See also Marita P. McClymonds, ‘Opera Reform in Italy, 1750–80’, in Bianca Maria Antolini, Teresa M. Gialdroni and Annunziato Pugliese (eds), ‘Et facciam dolçi canti’: Studi in onore di Agostino Ziino in occasione del suo 65° compleanno, ii (Lucca: LIM, 2003), 895–912. 12 The arrival of an haute-contre in Vienna occasioned performances of ariettes; see Brown, ‘Gluck and the French Theatre in Vienna’, 399–402. 13 For further discussion of this work, see Graham Sadler’s chapter in this volume (Chapter 8), pp. 129–40. 14 Parma, Archivio di Stato (I-PAas), Gov. Borbone, Teatri e spettacoli pubblici, 1 (hereafter Teatri 1), letter from Mangot to Du Tillot, Vienna, 24 June 1762.

Table 9.2  Musical repertory of Delisle’s troupe, August 1755–November 1758. Dates and some titles are drawn from Ferrari, ‘La compagnia Jean-Philippe Delisle alla Corte di Parma (1755–58) e la “riforma teatrale” di Guillaume Du Tillot’, and Charlton, ‘Duni’s Le Retour au village and the Politics of Parma’. Other titles and dates have been corrected in the light of my study of sources in the Archivio di Stato di Parma.a Genre/composer Opéra-ballet (entrées from Rameau, Les Indes galantes) Prologue Gl’Incà del Perù L’Acte des Sauvages L’Acte Turc (‘Le Turc généreux’); L’Atto Turco Opéra-ballet L’Europe galante, Campra L’Acte du Feu; l’opera des Vestales (possibly ‘Le Feu’ from Les Élémens, Destouches and Lalande)b Vertumne et Pomone (likely ‘La Terre’ from Les Élémens, Destouches and Lalande) Pastorale héroïque Æglé (La Garde) Issé (Destouches) Ismène (Rebel and Francœur) Titon et l’Aurore (Mondonville) Ballet héroïque Zaïde (Royer) ‘Vénus et Adonis’ (Mondonville) ‘Amphion’ (from Le Triomphe de l’harmonie, Grenet) L’acte de l’amour fidelles (probably ‘L’Amour constant’ from Les Caractères de l’amour Collin de Blamont) L’opera de cleopatre (likely ‘Cléopatre’ from Les Fêtes grecques et romaines, Collin de Blamont) Tragédie en musique Castor et Pollux (Rameau) Zoroastre (Rameau) Opéras comiques or parodies en vaudevilles Raton et Rosette ou La vengeance inutile (Favart, parodie of Titon et l’Aurore) Le Devin du village (Rousseau, intermède) Les Amours de Bastien et Bastienne (Favart, parodie of Le Devin du village) La Coquette sans le savoir (Favart) Le Coq de village (Favart) Ninette à la cour (Favart; music by Duni (?)) Opéra bouffon/intermède Les Troqueurs (Dauvergne) La servante maîtresse (Baurans’s translation and revision of Pergolesi, La serva padrona) La Bohémienne (Favart’s translation and revision of La zingara, Rinaldo da Capua) Ballets/Divertissements Anacreonte (Rameau?) Aci e Galatea Le Feste del Tersicore [ballets performed with the carnival operas] Zélindor, re de’ Silfi (Rebel and Francœur)

Colorno/Parma, court (private) 1757 1757, 1758 1758

Parma, Teatro Ducale (public)

1757 Carnival 1759

1758 1756, 1757 1757 1756, 1757, 1758 1758 1756, 1758 1758


1757, 1758 1757 1757 1757 1756, 1757, 1758 1756, 1758 1758


? 1756, 1757, 1758 1755, 1756, 1757 1755 1755 1756 1756, 57 1757, 58 1757

1757 1757

Carnival 1759 Carnival 1756 Carnival 1756 Autumn 1757

a The archival sources often provide only partial titles, making it difficult to identify with certainty most of the pieces listed in those sources. b Conceivably, the entrée in question could be ‘Les Génies du feu’ from the marquis de Brassac’s Le Triomphe de l’Amour (1733).

146 Margaret R. Butler

The musician Mangot Jacques-Simon Mangot gained most of his musical and theatrical experience in his native city of Lyon.15 The family had moved to Paris when his sister, Marie-Louise, married Rameau. An oboist in the Grande Écurie in 1718, Mangot was also a singer, a point deemphasized in most studies that recount his activities.16 He performed as a basse-taille (baritone) in the Concert de Marseille in 1746. Three years later he was called to Lyon to direct the theatre, where he hastened to reestablish a tradition of opera. Mangot’s Lyonnaise experience affected opera in Parma in numerous ways. Table 9.3, below, lists the operas performed in Lyon under his direction, several of which were later given in Parma. In Lyon he had built on the activities of his predecessor, François Lupien Grenet. Mangot overlapped with Grenet there, and later had an entrée from one of his colleague’s works performed in Parma. Two of the Rameau operas in the Lyon repertory – Hippolyte et Aricie and Les Indes galantes – are important for Parma. While there is no evidence of a Parmesan performance of Hippolyte, Mangot’s experience in having produced it must have infuenced its adaptation as Traetta’s Ippolito ed Aricia, especially given the inclusion of Rameau’s music in Traetta’s work.17 The prologue and three of the four entrées of Les Indes galantes were given for the court. One of these, ‘Les Incas du Pérou’, was also presented for the public, where it was creatively expanded. As shown in Table 9.3 (third column), Mangot had sung in eight of the operas he produced during his two years as director of opera in Lyon. He composed and sang a leading role in his own ballet héroïque, Le Triomphe de Vénus. His experience as a performer of numerous operatic roles in different genres must have given him a perspective broader than most ensemble conductors of the day. In 1752 he directed the orchestra at the Académie des Beaux Arts de Lyon, a post he held until 1755. Thus having sung, composed and conducted a wide variety of French dramatic music, he knew the stylistic and performance conventions of a repertory whose variety paralleled that of Parma – one unmatched by any other European theatre in the eighteenth century.18 15 Leon Vallas, ‘Jacques-Simon Mangot: Un beau-frère de Rameau, symphoniste, compositeur et directeur d’Opéra’, Revue de musicologie 11 (1924), 123–6; Henri Bédarida, ‘Jacques-Simon Mangot à Parme’, Revue de musicologie 14 (1925), 70–5 and Léon Vallas, Un siècle de musique et de théâtre à Lyon, 1688–1789 (Lyon: P. Masson, 1932; reprint Geneva: Minkoff, 1971). 16 Mangot performed the role of Colas in Ninette à la cour (Parma, 1756): see Charlton, ‘Duni’s Le Retour’, 145, which cites a document, shared with him by Paolo Russo, that lists costumes worn by ‘Mr. Mangó’ in ‘Ninette’, found in I-PAas, Fili correnti, 931b: Teatro 1756–57. 17 Cyr, ‘Rameau e Traetta’, 173–82; Heartz, ‘Traetta in Parma’, 271–92 and Loomis, ‘Traetta’s Operas for Parma’. 18 If Charlton is correct, it is likely that Duni’s score for Le Retour au village (published in Paris in 1758 or 1759) provides us with music composed specifcally for Mangot. A study of the source could thus shed light on Mangot’s unique vocal attributes. Charlton hints at this in his discussion of the work, including what must have been Mangot’s ability to handle passages of unsymmetrical phrases and lyrical semi-recitative (see the examples for Colas on pp. 150 and 152).

Recreating Rameau  147 Table 9.3  Overlaps between repertoire in Lyon and Parma. Roles as in librettos at F-Pn; other data from Vallas, Un siècle de musique et de théâtre à Lyon, 1688–1789. Opera in Lyon 1749 Les Élémens

Les Amours de Ragonde Les Indes galantes


Mangot’s Performances in Parma/Colorno roles in Lyon

Destouches and Lalande


3rd entrée, ‘Le feu’ (as L’acte du feu in Parma)


Mouret Rameau

Ragonde None Huascar

4th entrée, ‘La Terre’ (as Vertumne et Pomone in Parma)

None Osman

Prologue, 1757 ‘Les Incas du Pérou’ (as Gl’Incà del Perù in Parma) 1757 ‘Les Sauvages’ (as L’acte des sauvages in Parma) 1757, 1758 ‘Le Turc généreux’ (as L’acte turc/L’atto turco in Parma) carnival 1759

Les Fêtes de Polymnie


Thésée Le Triomphe de Vénus Zaïde, reine de Grenade Les Fêtes d’Hébé Idoménée Callirohé Issé Ajax Roland

Lully Mangot Royer Rameau Campra Destouches Destouches Bertin Lully

Jupiter, Séleucus, Zimès Égée Mars Unknown 1757, 1758 Unknown Unknown Unknown Unknown Unknown Unknown

1750 Armide Omphale Hippolyte et Aricie

Lully Destouches Rameau

None Alcide Pluton

Campra Mouret

Unknown Unknown

(attrib. Duni) Collin de Blamont Campra


Desmarets and Campra


L’Europe galante ‘La Provençale’ (Les Fêtes de Thalie) La Chercheuse d’esprit Les Fêtes grecques et romaines ‘L’Amour saltimbanque’ (Les Fêtes vénitiennes) Iphigénie en Tauride

Unknown Unknown

[Traetta’s Ippolito ed Aricia, May 1759] 1758 1756


Margaret R. Butler

The date of Mangot’s arrival in Parma to take up his post as director of court music has long been unknown.19 However, newly examined documents confrm that he was due to depart Lyon on 26 April 1756; by 30 April he received a partial reimbursement, presumably of costs relating to his travel, so it is likely he was in Parma by then or shortly thereafter.20 This fnding, when combined with others revealing Mangot’s activity, confrms how rapidly French operatic production increased in the months around the time of his arrival in Parma. A copy of his appointment letter establishes that he was engaged by 13 March 1756 but had not yet arrived in Parma (it refers to payment beginning from the day he departed from Lyon).21 Receipts for music copying show that in the same month, he had French works copied in Lyon which were later performed for the Parma court.22 He started receiving a stipend on 1 May.23 On 18 May he travelled from Parma to nearby Reggio with Giovanni Jacobi, an important member of Parma’s theatrical personnel.24 Receipts for music copying dating from 20 July at the earliest confrm his work with a team of Parma copyists.25 Mangot was thus in Parma probably by 30 April, and certainly by 18 May 1756. He had started preparing French works for Parma before departure, and the repertory changed quickly – about a month or so – after his arrival. By the time he received his appointment as director of court chamber music on 22 January 1757, he had been closely involved with Parma’s musical theatre for at least eight months.

19 Mangot may have come to Parma as early as 1754, leading a French troupe of his own, although no documents detailing any related activities survive. Russo, ‘Duni a Parma’, 103, states that Gozzi’s reference to Mangot’s presence in Parma in this year (Gozzi, ‘Storia di Parma’, ii, 1701–78, unpublished mss at I-PA, Palatina, ms. parm. 422, p. 311) might be incorrect. 20 I-PAas, Cart. borb. Francia, 48 (1756–57), letter to Du Tillot from Mauro, Lyon, 23 April 1756. The letter states that Mangot was to depart from Lyon on 26 April: ‘J’ay recu la Lettre que vous m’avez fait l’honneur on m’ecrire le 10. [??] j’ay remis celle y incluse a Mr. Mangot a qui j’ay encore payé 200. Il partira le 26 dit’ [‘I received the letter that you paid me the honour of writing to me on the 10th. I gave the one that was enclosed to Mr. Mangot, to whom I paid another 200. He will depart on the 26 of the same month’). A letter of reply from Colorno dated 30 April confrms the date of departure and a payment of 200 livres. Related letters here provide other details about his journey; he and his family travelled by way of Turin. 21 Copy of Mangot’s appointment letter, 13 March 1756. I-PAas, Carte Moreau de St. Méry, 26, ‘Teatri’. Also cited in Russo, ‘Musica a corte’, 163. 22 Receipt for music copying done in Lyon by order of Mangot, March 1756 (signed by Mangot, 5 September 1756 in Colorno). I-PAas, Computisteria Borbonica fli correnti (hereafter CBfc), 931a (1756). On this point, see Russo, ‘Duni a Parma’, 108. 23 Entry for Mangot’s appointment as director of chamber music, 22 January 1757. I-PAas, Decreti e rescritti, vi (1756–57), 12. This refers to the previous 1 May, when he began receiving a stipend. 24 Receipt for travel expenses to Reggio, Jean Jacobi and Mangot, 18 May 1756. I-PAas, CBfc, 931b (1756). Jacobi frequently travelled to Reggio, probably to recruit performers. 25 Receipt for music copying signed by Mangot, 20 July 1756. I-PAas, CBfc, 931a (1756).

Recreating Rameau 149 The troupe’s repertory began to include operas, starting on 17 June when they performed La Garde’s Æglé.26 Table 9.4 below presents premieres of French operas at the Parma court, 1756–57, drawn from an unsigned, undated manuscript list of French repertory performed by the troupe.27 In all, 14 works were presented during a period of only 15 months. Once an opera had been given, it was usually offered again, sometimes several times during the months immediately following. New works were introduced about once per month for the next six months. The scribe who penned this partial list sometimes referred to the operas informally, and usually the titles of works are prefaced by ‘l’opera de’. The large number of new works performed annually – seven in the frst and six in the second year (assuming ‘l’opera des vestales’ and ‘l’acte du feu’ are both the entrée ‘Le Feu’ from Lalande and Destouches’s Les Élémens) – demonstrates the rapid escalation of operatic activity after Mangot’s arrival. Mangot and Delisle maintained joint control over the French entertainments, drafting contracts to performers and likely interacting in many other Table 9.4 Premieres of French operas at the Parma court, 1756–57. Data drawn from an unsigned, undated manuscript list of French repertory performed by the troupe August 1755– November 1757, I-PAas, Teatri, busta 1. Identifcations in parentheses are based in part on Ferrari, ‘La compagnia Jean-Philippe Delisle’, with some corrections and additions. 1756 17 June 8 July 29 August 2 September 3 October 23 October

‘l’opera D’Eglé’ (Æglé, or Églé, La Garde) ‘Le Devin de village’ (Le Devin du village, Rousseau) ‘L’opera des troqueurs’ (Les Troqueurs, Dauvergne) ‘L’opera d’ismene’ (Ismène, Rebel and Francœur) ‘L’opera de ninete a la cour’ (Ninette à la cour, Favart, likely with music by Duni) ‘L’opera de cleopatre’ (likely ‘Cléopatre’, an entrée from Les Festes grecques et romaines, Collin de Blamont) 19 November ‘L’opera des vestales’ (likely ‘Le Feu’, from Les Élémens, Lalande and Destouches)

1757 30 May

‘La servante maîtress’ (La servante maîtresse, Baurans’s translation and revision of Pergolesi, La serva padrona) 2 June ‘L’opera D’amphyon’ (‘Amphion’, from Le Triomphe de l’harmonie, Grenet) 10 July ‘L’opera de venus, et Adonis’ (Venus et Adonis, Mondonville) 7 August ‘L’opera de Vertumne et Pomone’ (likely ‘La Terre’ from Les Élémens, Lalande and Destouches) 17 August ‘L’acte du feu’ (‘Le Feu’ from Les Élémens, Lalande and Destouches) 25 August ‘L’opera de Zaide en 3 actes’ (Zaïde, reine de Grenade, Royer) 18 September ‘L’opera des sauvages pour madame Isabella’ (‘Les Sauvages’ from Les Indes galantes, Rameau) 26 This opera is mentioned several times in the list, as ‘l’opera d’eglé’ and ‘l’opera d’eglé avec ses balets’. Although no composer is identifed, this work was almost certainly La Garde’s immensely popular Æglé, a one-act pastorale héroïque premiered at Versailles in 1748 and revived at the Paris Operá in 1751. 27 The document (in I-PAas, Teatri, 1) includes partial titles of theatrical works and ballets, though without suffcient detail to permit identifcation of those works.

150 Margaret R. Butler ways.28 This relationship had apparently become diffcult by 13 April 1758, if not earlier. On that date Delisle complained bitterly in a letter addressed to Du Tillot, whom he accused of replacing him with an unnamed person, someone who wielded great power and authority.29 Delisle’s account testifes to this person’s intervention in rehearsals and the strong infuence he must have exerted over production. This person could have been none other than Mangot, given the nature of his court appointment, related duties and opportunities to infuence repertory: no other member of Parma’s theatrical personnel enjoyed this degree of control.

French operas and their recreations Whatever the differences between Delisle and Mangot, the latter’s presence resulted in the troupe undertaking a more varied and ambitious repertory. At frst, most of the entertainments the troupe presented were small in scale, usually comprising a single act or entrée, and given only for the court. They soon expanded to tragédies en musique and ballets héroïques on Parma’s public theatrical stage. The frst public production that Mangot could have overseen was of Rebel and Francœur’s divertissement Zélindor, roi des sylphes in 1757. Librettos were printed for some of the public performances: Zélindor was the frst French opera given at the Teatro Ducale for which one such libretto survives. My comparisons of the extant Parma librettos with the originals for the Paris revisions that are closest in time to the Parma performances reveal fascinating alterations. Some of the changes in Zélindor, ‘Les Incas du Pérou’ and Castor et Pollux involve the same singers, who must have commanded particular attention in Parma. The fnal chorus in Zélindor is replaced by a two-stanza aria and a dance. The aria underscores the leading role of Zélindor, king of the sylphs, and its singer, the haute-contre Jean-Joseph Guigues. His extra aria suggests that he was a valued troupe member. He would be showcased even more prominently a month later in ‘Les Incas du Pérou’, which was more heavily revised: its lengthy fnal scene was rewritten to include new choruses, dances, arias and a duet, the extra arias highlighting not only Guigues as the Spaniard Don Carlo but also the other lead singer, soprano Marguerite Hedoux, as Phani Palla. The composer of the new material is unknown, but the most likely person is Mangot, in view of his current role.

28 Contract for a bass singer, signed by Mangot, 25 December 1756, I-PAas, Teatri, 1. This contract is one of several to singers with this date and with Mangot’s signature. 29 Letter from Delisle to Du Tillot, 13 April 1758, I-PAas, Teatri, 1; cited (as located in ‘Teatri, L. 33’, now erroneous) in Sylvie Bouissou, ‘À la cour de Parme, une choréographie de JeanPhilippe Delisle pour Acis et Galatée’, in Michelle Biget-Mainfroy and Rainer Schmusch (eds), L’Esprit français et la musique en Europe: émergence, infuence et limites d’une esthétique. Festschrift für Herbert Schneider (Hildesheim: Olms, 2007), 228–43 (letter quoted on 233).

Recreating Rameau 151 Parma’s Castor et Pollux (1759) represented the work’s most modern version, one containing musical revisions that stemmed from Rameau himself.30 Mangot’s contact with singers in Lyon seems to have infuenced Castor et Pollux directly: Jacques Le Noble, who had sung seven leading roles in Lyon, was later added to the Parma troupe and sang the demanding role of Castor, perhaps on Mangot’s recommendation. The revisions of Castor’s ariette in the fnal scene, the most important of those made to the music, seem calculated to show off a strong and fexible voice. The ariette’s musical content matches the piece in a manuscript full score and a printed libretto, both dating from 1757, which were apparently prepared for a French revival of the work that was never executed.31 I Tindaridi (1760), Traetta’s Italian reworking of Castor et Pollux, seems designed to capitalize on the success of the Parma production of the French original.

Anacreonte (1759) in Parma With these productions Mangot and his collaborators presented Parma audiences with an array of French operatic genres, creatively adjusted but not signifcantly changed from their original forms. By contrast, the next adaptation, Anacreonte (Balletto; see Figure 9.1), represented a true generic transformation. It is a ballet based on the entrée ‘Anacréon’ added by Rameau and his librettist Pierre-Joseph Bernard to Les Surprises de l’Amour in 1757. In the story, the ageing Greek poet loves both his wine and his nymph Licoris. The Priestess of Bacchus, angry at Anacréon’s divided loyalty, causes a storm during which Licoris is spirited away, and the poet is forced to choose: he cannot serve both Bacchus and Amour. But Amour intervenes and restores Licoris to Anacréon, announcing that ‘Love is the god of peace: reign with him, Bacchus, share his conquests’.32 The work’s theme of reconciliation derives from its genesis: the original prologue had celebrated the peace of Aix-la-Chapelle, concluded after the War of the Austrian Succession in 1748. This had removed Parma from Habsburg control and given it to the Bourbons. ‘Anacréon’ likewise deals with struggle between two opposing forces yet focuses on reconciliation rather than confict. This work would have carried a special signifcance for Parma. It represented not only the peace that had established Bourbon rule but also the future union, a year after its performance, of two powerful dynasties with the wedding of 30 Castor et Pollux enjoyed a long tradition in Parma; it was given at least 17 times between 1756 and 1759. Information on productions prior to 1759 beyond dates of performance is not extant. The comments here pertain to that of 1759. 31 The 1757 score is at F-Po, A-139 (c). The score’s cover page carries the date of 1753. A note added to the fnal page by the copyist (Regrate or Regrafe) clarifes the date as 1757. The 1757 libretto, printed in Paris and lacking singers’ names, is at F-Po, LIV 18 [1485. The libretto and score correspond in content but for a few, minor changes in certain lines of text. 32 ‘L’Amour est le Dieu de la paix: | Régne avec lui Bacchus, partage ses conquêtes’. PierreJoseph Bernard, Les Surprises de l’Amour (Paris: V. Delormel & Fils, 1757), ‘Anacréon’, scene 6.

152  Margaret R. Butler

Figure 9.1  Libretto title page, Anacreonte (Parma, 1759), New York Public Library for the Performing Arts, Cia Fornaroli Coll., No. 24, MGTY-Res. Photograph: author

Princess Isabella of Bourbon and Archduke Joseph of Austria. (In another of the Parma operas, Castor et Pollux, it is tempting to read the fraternal devotion of the eponymous twins as a symbol of this cultural rapprochement – hence, perhaps, the frequent staging of this work in different guises at Parma and Colorno.)

Recreating Rameau  153

Figure 9.2  Libretto, first page, Anacreonte (Parma, 1759), New York Public Library for the Performing Arts, Cia Fornaroli Coll., No. 24, MGTY-Res. Photograph: author

Figure 9.2 shows the beginning of the scenario at the head of the printed libretto of Anacreonte which guided the audience through the action. The following is my translation: Scene 1: Licori enters onto the stage dancing and leading several young girls holding flower garlands in their hands to ornament the bust of Anacreonte. Scene 2: Anacreonte appears, observes, and shows his surprise. Carried away by a jealous rage and no longer paying attention to anything, he interrupts the action, leaving no time for Licori to explain what is happening. To avenge himself he smashes the statue of Licori and, renouncing love, raises an altar to Bacchus. Devotions, libations and dances follow. Scene 3: We see Licori, grief-stricken, contemplating her destroyed image and the chaotic preparations. She expresses her desperation and tender feelings to her companions, who attend her, and writes above the altar a dedication explaining her heartfelt sadness. [The preface to this scenario indicates that this verse is: La fida Giovinetta al Veglio infido: ‘From the faithful young girl to the faithless old man.’] Scene 4: Anacreonte, lost in his thoughts, returns to his friends, who seek to distract him with happy strains of harmony and dance. Scene 5: Nightfall and a terrible storm have arrived. The horror of the storm mounts and for a few moments interrupts the pleasures that pursued the

154 Margaret R. Butler moody poet. In the middle of this stormy scene an unfortunate youth moans. He is dragged forward. Anacreonte picks him up and, seeing him so badly stricken, guides him to the altar and warms him. Meanwhile the sinfonia and dance continue, interrupted occasionally by lightning strikes. To attest to his recovery, the youth joins the dancers. Anacreonte caresses and gazes upon this graceful youth and joins him in the dance. Nevertheless, he [Anacreonte] suspects something. He follows him [the youth] and ably loosens the cords of his hat and a veil, which falls onto his back. He recognizes Amore by his blindfold and quiver. He falls at his feet and worships him. Scene 6: Amore, now recognized, presents Licori’s portrait, presenting eventually even Licori herself to Anacreonte. At the same moment, he leads them both to the altar, where they are united in a vow of eternal fdelity. Scene 7: The graces, merry-makers and followers of Anacreonte and Licori form couples and perform a very joyful contredanse, which concludes the ballet. Frugoni, Deslile and Mangot probably collaborated on this scenario, which contrasts markedly with the plot of Bernard’s libretto, especially in the character of Anacreonte. Whereas Bernard’s poet is introspective and lovelorn, Parma’s is a fery, jealous lover who smashes Licori’s statue in a ft of rage. The Priestess of Bacchus in the original is excised altogether. The thunderstorm substitutes for the scene in which she and her followers wreak havoc. Anacréon’s hallmark slumber is likewise cut. The complexity of Amour and Anacréon’s exchange in Bernard, diffcult to depict through gesture alone, is simplifed in Parma. In the original, Anacréon longs for Licori and only gets her back once he vows to renounce Bacchus and leave behind everything for her. Parma invented the stage action leading to Anacreonte’s recognition of Amore by removing his disguise (in the original, this recognition occurs through dialogue). This and other changes must have created visually enticing stage pictures and enhanced opportunities for descriptive pantomime: these include Anacréon’s jealous destruction of the statue, Licori’s expression of tenderness through the verse she writes above the altar, and the lightning-flled storm. It seems likely that the primary model for the music of Anacreonte was that of ‘Anacréon’, an entrée which, as noted, had a particular signifcance in Parma. Some support for this hypothesis comes from the presence in Rameau’s score of allusions to Vivaldi’s Le quattro stagioni (from Il cimento dell’armonia e dell’invenzione, op. 8, 1725), which Italian audiences would have known well. As the previous chapter has described, these allusions are found in the sommeil and the orage,33 both of which feature in the plot of Anacreonte. Assuming they caught the resemblances, Italian audiences might have delighted in hearing allusions to music by the renowned Italian master, especially as they watched French dancers perform to music. Given that the concertos of Le quattro stagioni were

33 See Examples 8.1, 8.5 and 8.6 in Graham Sadler’s chapter in this volume (Chapter 8), pp. 129–40.

Recreating Rameau 155 also well known in France, Parma’s French spectators might likewise have recognized the allusions.34 Even so, Rameau’s music could not have been used in Anacreonte without adaptation, in view of the various divergences between the two plots. The absence of a score of the Parma balletto leaves open many questions. Chief among these is whether Mangot used only music from ‘Anacréon’ or added other pieces.35 We can nevertheless speculate on how he might have worked with Rameau’s entrée, and Table 9.5 presents my hypothetical reconstruction of the outline of the Parmesan production. The characters and moods in the balletto align fairly well with those of Rameau’s danced episodes, which Mangot could easily have supplemented with vocal movements, the sung lines being taken by instruments. In my proposed reconstruction, the opening ritournelle and quick passepied accompany Licori’s entrance. Anacreonte enters in scene 2 and observes the action during the short, march-like passage to which the Ménades had entered in the original. The highly charged combat, the ballet fguré between Anacréon’s followers and the Ménades, with tremolos and disjunct rhythms, accompanies the destruction of Licori’s statue. The sommeil, in which Anacréon falls asleep exhausted after the battle, now accompanies Licori as she sadly writes the verse above the altar in scene 3; this movement could have been repeated to give Anacreonte’s friends time to try to cheer him up in scene 4. The dramatic tonnerre that awakened Anacréon (another passage that included some singing) could serve as the storm music accompanying Anacreonte’s rescue of Amore in scene 5. The sarabande accompanies Amore’s recovery, while the ‘Entrée de Jeux’ and passepied seem appropriate to Anacreonte’s recognition of Amore. Licori enters at the ‘Entrée des suivans de l’Amour’ in scene 6; the gigue expresses the lovers’ joy after they pledge eternal faithfulness. The contredanse in scene 7 concludes the action. Assembled in this way, the dances yield a unifed work with effective tonal groupings, dramatic contrasts and rich opportunities for spectacle. It was but a short step to the next variety of adaptation, Traetta’s reworking of Hippolyte et Aricie as Ippolito ed Aricia that same year.36

Mangot’s anthology Finally, a long-neglected musical source testifes further to Mangot’s championing of Rameau’s works and his intimate knowledge of their style. This is a volume which Mangot prepared at the request of Padre Giambattista Martini in Bologna and comprises 36 excerpts from 14 French operas, 25 of the excerpts 34 Michael Talbot, ‘“Le plus habile compositeur qui soit à Venise”: Vivaldi’s Reputation in Eighteenth-Century France’, in Marie-Alexis Colin (ed.), French Renaissance Music: Studies in Memory of Frank Dobbins (Turnhout: Brepols, 2018), 567–89. 35 I thank Rebecca Harris-Warrick for suggesting this possibility to me. 36 Figurative dance had also played an important role in the narrative of Duni’s Le Retour au village. See Charlton, ‘Duni’s Le Retour au village’, 144, 146–7.

3/8 to 3/4; F (9)

2; doux/fort; F (134)


[march-like; futes]

Sc. 2: Anacreonte enters, becomes jealous Anacreonte destroys Licori’s statue

0:39 1:11

0:32 2:59

1:40 1:01








a Rameau, Anacréon, ballet en un acte détaché des Surprises de l’Amour (Paris: Le Clerc, Bayard, Melle Castagnery, Daumont, [1757]. F-Pn; accessed through Gallica. b Rameau, Les Surprises de l’Amour, version 1757–1758, ed. Sylvie Bouissou, Opera Omnia Rameau, IV.27(2) (Paris: Gérard Billaudot, 2000). c Durations based on recording of Les Surprises de l’Amour by Les Nouveaux Caractères, director Sébastien d’Hérin (Glossa, GCD922701, 2013).

‘Passepied’ Sc. 6: ‘Entrée de les suivans de l’amour’ ‘Gigue’ ‘Contredanse’

Sc 5: ‘Sarabande’ ‘Entrée de Jeux’

‘Orage’ [tremolo]

Anacréon falls asleep after the battle; rain falls

Lycoris dances; prelude to Anacréon’s drinking song Entrance of the Ménades (Bacchantes) Battle between the followers of Amour and the Ménades

Sc. 1: Licori enters dancing, adorns bust of Anacreonte [continuation]

Scenes and action in Anacreonte

Sc. 3: Licori sadly writes the verse above the altar; Scene 4: Anacreonte is pensive 2; fort et vite; g (31–9) The noise from the storm awakens Sc. 5: Storm; Amore appears; Anacréon; Amour appears to him Anacreonte rescues him 3; d (54–5) Amour returns Lycoris to Anacréon Amore recovers and dances 2 to 3; doux; F (55–7) All enter Anacreonte recognizes Amore and adores him 3/8; F (57) [continuation] [continuation] 2; un peu gaï; Bb–g Ménades and followers of Amour Sc. 6: Amore presents Licori to (64–7) are reconciled Anacreonte; they approach the altar 2; G (68–9) [continuation] [continuation] 2; Vitte; G (87–93) [continuation] Sc. 7: joyful contredanse celebrating the union

Sc. 2: ‘Combat entre 2; vite/lent; G (23–8) les Bacchantes Licoris, et les Esclaves d’Anacréon’ Sc 3: ‘Someil’ [sic] 3; lent/doux, ‘Pluie’, pincé’; b (31)

3; C to G (1)

Sc. 1: ‘Ritournelle’

‘Anacréon’ scene nos and Metre, markings, key(s) Action in ‘Anacréon’ labels as in 1757 score)a (page nos from Bouissou)b

Table 9.5 Hypothetical reconstruction of the outline of Anacreonte (Parma, 1759). Based on the Parma printed scenario and excerpts from Rameau and Bernard’s ‘Anacréon’ (Les Surprises de l’Amour, 1757).

156 Margaret R. Butler

Recreating Rameau 157 being by Rameau. The volume, hereafter referred to as ‘Mangot’s anthology’, has long been cited, but never examined in detail.37 A list of its contents appears in Table 9.6, which groups the excerpts under Mangot’s generic categories and preserves the original orthography. With a few exceptions, the pieces match the printed scores that were issued closest to the time of the volume’s compilation in 1760 and 1761. Some of the works correspond to those that Mangot directed in Lyon, and others to those performed in Parma. He penned a covering letter declaring his choices as representing the best of French style (as indeed they do) and explaining the excerpts’ generic groupings. This document reveals not only his experience with both French and Italian styles, but his awareness of the contemporary polemic over the respective merits of each.38 Not surprisingly, he fnds French opera more interesting than Italian, citing its ensembles, choruses and dances linked to the subject, and various types of aria. In short, he claims, the French possess different genres of music that exhibit a greater variety. Such rhetoric echoes that of thinkers like Francesco Algarotti, whose Saggio sopra l’opera in musica (1755) famously advocates the mixture of French and Italian styles as a path to reform.39 Algarotti had sent a copy of the Saggio to Parma and has long been recognized as having been connected with the reform efforts in that city.40 Given the scarcity of extant musical materials related to Parma’s French operas, Mangot’s anthology and its introductory letter provide crucial evidence that help us understand Parma’s unusual musical culture more deeply. Together they offer us a rare glimpse of Mangot’s musical tastes, ones that infuenced the atmosphere in which he recreated some of Rameau’s most important works. * In seeking to understand a city’s musical life we traditionally turn to composers and, increasingly nowadays, to performers. By contrast, whether because of lack of evidence or evaluative assumptions about originality, we tend to focus less often on other musicians involved in the creative process, in particular those who reinvent works in new contexts. The array of sources documenting Jacques-Simon Mangot’s contributions to Parma’s musical theatre allows us to throw open a window on the French operas and ballets given there and the stylistic intermingling they portend – a window whose closure has long hindered our understanding of eighteenth-century operatic reform. In so doing, we can begin to recover the lost world of Parma’s long tradition of adaptation, in which Traetta’s experimental operas are but one colour in a broad palette of innovative Parmesan entertainments. 37 The source is located in the Museo internazionale e biblioteca della musica di Bologna, Bologna, Italy (I-Bc), Ms. II. 260. Cyr, ‘Rameau e Traetta’, 174 and Russo, ‘Musica a corte’, 164. 38 The letter, in I-Bc, is discussed in Erwin R. Jacobi and Piero Weiss, ‘Rameau and Padre Martini’, The Musical Quarterly 50 (1964), 452–75. 39 Francesco Algarotti, Saggio sopra l’opera in musica: Le edizioni di Venezia (1755) e di Livorno (1763), ed. Annalisa Bini (Pisa: LIM, 1989). 40 Heartz, ‘Traetta in Parma’, 277–90 and McClymonds, ‘Opera Reform in Italy’, 897–8.


Margaret R. Butler

Table 9.6 Contents of Mangot’s anthology (I-Bc, Ms. ii. 260) Composer


Text incipit and location

Hippolite Ismene Zoroastre Castor Hippolite Castor Dardanus

Aricie, Où suis je? [V, 3] Zephirs aimable feurs [sc. 1] Cruels tirans [IV, 1] Tristes apprets [II, 2] Aricie: Temple sacré [I, 1] Present des Dieux [III, 1] Lieux funestes [1744 version, IV, 1]

Castor Dardanus Le Carnaval du Parnasse Pigmalion Ismene Ismene Titon

Eclates, eclates [II, 5] Quand l’acquilon fougeux [Prologue, sc. 2] Amours les cieux [II, 5] Regne amour [sc. 6] Amours plaisirs et jeux [sc. 5] Vien vole amour parle toi-même [sc. 1] Du dieu des cœurs [III, 5]

Dardanus Castor Castor Hippolite Hippolite

L’amour le seul amour [Prologue, sc. 1] Voici des Dieux [III, 4] Que nos jeux [III, 4] Plaisirs, doux vanqueurs [Prologue, sc. 5] A l’Amour rendez/rendons les armes [Prologue, sc.5]

Ismene Ballet de la Paix Les fetes de Polymnie Castor

Vous qui voulez charmer [sc. 1] Enfans de la paix [Prologue, sc. 1] Au vain Plaisir [‘La Féerie’, sc. 7] Dans ce doux aziles [IV, 4]

Les Fetes de l’Hymen et de l’Amour

Ma Bergere [‘Aruéris’, sc. 3]

Duos contradictoires Mondonville

Les Fetes de Paphos

Rameau Rameau

Hippolite Hippolite

Psyche, Tisiphone, Juste Dieux [‘L’Amour et Psyché’, sc. 4] Ma fureur va tout | Gardes vous de rien [III, 3] C’est peu pour moy | Contente toy d’une victime [II, 1]

Monologue Rameau Francœur & Rebel Rameau Rameau Rameau Rameau Rameau Ariette Rameau Rameau Mondonville Rameau Francœur [et Rebel] Francœur [et Rebel] Mondonville Petit air gracieux Rameau Rameau Rameau Rameau Rameau Chants parodies Francœur [et Rebel] Francœur [et Rebel] Rameau Rameau Rondeau Rameau

Duos caracterisés Mondonville Titon Destouches Omphale Rameau Dardanus Chants melées avec chœur Rameau Castor Rameau Hippolite Rameau Francœur [et Rebel] Rameau Récitatif simple Rameau

L’Aurore & Titon: Regne amour [I, 2] Je sens triompher | Je sens s’elever [III, 6] Manes plaintifs [I, 2]

Castor Ballet de la Paix Zaïs

Tendre amour, qu’il est doux [V, 4] Dieux vangeurs lancez la tonnerre [including tonnerre] [I, 4] Esprits soutiens [IV, 1] L’implacable dieu de la guerre [Prologue, sc. 1] Aquilons rompez votre chaine (II, 4)


Je la vois, quels transports (II, 5)

10 An anonymous Messe des morts on themes by Rameau and Mondonville Thomas Leconte

A little-known collection in the Département de la musique at the Bibliothèque nationale de France includes an intriguing Messe des morts, an anonymous setting which I came across some 20 years ago while cataloguing the department’s manuscript music. The collection, assembled by Félix Raugel (1881–1975) and deposited in this library in 1987, comprises 84 catalogued items,1 mainly scores and separate part-books of eighteenth-century French sacred music.2 It includes several Masses with instrumental accompaniment, Christmastide pastorals, and motets. A number of pieces bear attributions, but many others remain anonymous.3 The present research, undertaken in collaboration with the musicologist Benoît Michel (1979–2014) and staff at the Bibliothèque Nationale de France,4 has not yet identifed with certainty the diverse origins of this collection.5 Nevertheless, numerous clues point towards the south-west of France and its great religious establishments. First, we may note the presence of such meridional composers as Jean Gilles, who came from the Provençal town of Tarascon and ended his career as maître de musique at the cathedral of Saint-Étienne in Toulouse; Aphrodise, maître de musique at the abbey church of Saint-Sernin in Toulouse from 1683 until 1703; Dupuy, who offciated at Saint-Bertrand-deComminges (1742–45), Cahors (1745) and Saint-Sernin in Toulouse (1745–88); Salomon, maître de musique at Cahors Cathedral around 1750; Chupin de La Guitonnière, in charge at the choir school (maîtrise) at Albi Cathedral from 1750 to 1762; Barrère, at the Perpignan maîtrise from 1765 until the Revolution; and

1 F-Pn, Rés. Vma ms. 1279–1362. 2 The collection also includes a miscellany of early nineteenth-century pieces. 3 See the Carnet de cotes ‘Rés. Vma ms.’ in F-Pn (Musique), available in the reading room on demand. 4 I wish particularly to thank Laurence Decobert, François-Pierre Goy and François Auzeil. This collection awaits a comprehensive examination. 5 Several sources bear heterogeneous class-marks deriving from different collections, doubtless including the libraries of various maîtrises.

DOI: 10.4324/9781315554990-14


Thomas Leconte

Levens, at the cathedral of Saint-André in Bordeaux from 1738 until his death in 1764.6 Other clues on the sources themselves confrm this geographical orientation. For example, the town of Pradinas, near Rodez, is mentioned on a motet by Aphrodise, who is identifed as ‘maître de musique de l’abbatiale Saint-Sernin de Toulouse’,7 while Albi is mentioned on an églogue by Chupin de La Guitonnière. Other musicians imply a slight detour further east, as in the case of Charles Desroziers, maître de musique at Saint-Trophime, Arles (1734–45 and 1750–51), author of a Mass in this collection. Finally, several factors suggest that the majority of items date from the third quarter of the eighteenth century – notably the dates 1756, written on the motet by Aphrodise (who died in around 1719) and 1760, at the start of a noël by Chupin de La Guitonnière, together with the presence of one of the two settings of Super fumina Babylonis by François Giroust composed for a competition at the Concert Spirituel in 1768. Moreover, the music paper, most of it manufactured in the south of France, dates from between 1745 and 1760 (see note 12).

The anonymous Messe des morts The present work, found at the heart of this corpus, is intriguing on account of its unique character. Of substantial proportions (at around 1,000 bars),8 it proves to be almost entirely made up of quotations from two contemporary operas: Les Fêtes de Paphos (1758) by Jean-Joseph Cassanéa de Mondonville and, especially, Jean-Philippe Rameau’s Castor et Pollux, which in its revised version of 1754 was one of his best-known works.9 Although such transference of material from the secular to the sacred domain was not uncommon in the eighteenth century, this Requiem is unique in the extent of its borrowings, which both inspire the work and underpin its structure. Despite its liberal quotations, the Mass remains an act of homage rather than a case of plagiarism. The selections made by the composer/arranger and the varied treatment of the

6 The majority of prosopographical details derive from François Lesure, Dictionnaire musical des villes de province [de France] (Paris: Klincksieck, 1999), supplemented or confrmed by other resources, notably the Catalogue thématique des sources du grand motet français (1663–1792), ed. Jean Mongrédien (Munich, New York, London, Paris: K. G. Saur, 1984). On the musical context in Toulouse and in the Southwest of France, see also Benoît Michel, Le Noël à grand chœur, une pratique musicale à Toulouse et en terres méridionales (XVIIe-XIXe siècles): Étude historique, institutionnelle, liturgique et esthétique (doctoral thesis, Paris, École Pratique des Hautes Études, 2013) and Jean-Christophe Maillard, François Lesure (eds), La Musique dans le midi de la France, vol. 1, XVIIe-XVIIIe siècles (Paris: Klincksieck, 1996), 179–200. 7 The title page bears the annotation: ‘chanté à Pradinas le ier dimanche | d’octobre à la première Messe de m.r l’abbé Peyrot’. 8 In certain sections, the sources propose alternative readings that modify the length of the work. 9 The original 1737 version enjoyed only modest success; see Sylvie Bouissou, Jean-Philippe Rameau, musicien des Lumières (Paris: Fayard, 2014), 405–51.

Rameau and Mondonville


borrowed material not only constitute indicators of the reception of music by the two most famous French composers of the day but may also shed light on the manner in which their works were performed and perceived. With the exception of the Benedictus, this setting includes all the standard movements – Introït, Kyrie, Graduel, Offertoire,10 Sanctus, Agnus, Postcommunion (versions i and ii, discussed below)11 – and is written for fve solo voices (two dessus, one haute-contre and two basses-tailles – or basse-taille and basse) and a four-part chorus (dessus, haute-contre, haute-taille, basse-taille/basse) supported by an instrumental ensemble comprising three violins (with futes doubling the frst two) and continuo. Such forces, unconventional though they may now seem, were frequently used in French cathedrals, where the maîtres de musique often had to content themselves with only a few instruments to support the singers. The sources of this Messe des morts are copied on several papers.12 Most of the work can be reconstructed from nine parties séparées: – Four vocal parts, each of six folios and including both the solo sections (récits) and choruses: ‘Des[s]us’ (in G2 clef); ‘Haute contre’ (C3); ‘Haute taille’ (C4); ‘Basse tail[l]e’ (F4) – Three instrumental dessus parts (G2): ‘1er violon [et fûtes]’ (6 ff.); ‘2e violon [et fûtes]’ (5 ff.); ‘3e violon’ (4 ff.) – ‘Basse continue’ (4 ff.) – ‘Basson’ (1 f.), only in the frst chorus, ‘Requiem æternam’; the instrument is not employed as an obbligato instrument, as in Rameau and Mondonville, but merely doubles the choral bass. These part-books appear to have been copied by the same scribe but on two different papers, one for the instrumental parts, the other for the vocal (see Figure 10.1). The former, especially the 3e violon and basse continue, contain several deletions, collettes (paste-overs) and pinned-on tags that bear corrections and alterations. Despite such revisions, the parties séparées remain very faulty, to the point that we may wonder how they could have been used in performance. Even so, the very presence of such collettes and alternative sections would suggest that at least one performance was planned. 10 The Graduel (‘Requiem æternam’) and Offertoire (‘Hostias et preces’) follow the Roman rite, which may provide a clue to the region from which the work originated; in the second half of the eighteenth century, most French diocese observed the Gallican rite of Paris; see Xavier Bisaro, Une nation de fdèles: l’Église et la liturgie parisienne au XVIIIe siècle (Turnhout: Brepols, 2006). 11 Other eighteenth-century French Requiems, such as the one by André Campra, did not include the Benedictus. 12 One of these bears the watermark of François Court, a paper manufacturer active during the mid-eighteenth century in Montauban and Saint-Antonin (now Saint-Antonin-NobleVal), in the provinces of Rouergue and Quercy: see Raymond Gaudriault, Filigranes et autres caractéristiques des papiers fabriqués en France aux XVIIe et XVIIIe siècles (Paris: CNRS Éditions, J. Telford, 1995), 192 (watermarks dated 1740, 1741 et 1752).

162  Thomas Leconte

Figure 10.1  Anon., Messe des morts, F-Pn, Rés. Vma ms. 1279, des[s]us part-book, f. 2. Image: BnF

These source materials are supplemented by two fragments of score. The first of these (score A) may be in the composer/arranger’s own hand, as is suggested by several deletions, cuts and corrections (see Figure 10.2), whereas the second fragment (score B) is in the same hand as the parties séparées. A comparison of

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Figure 10.2  Messe des morts, F-Pn, Rés. Vma ms. 1279, fragment of score A, f. 3v. Image: BnF

these sources reveals that at least two part-books are missing, namely, those for a second dessus and a basse (or a second basse-taille), creating the need for some editorial reconstruction.13 13 These matters will be discussed in an edition of this work currently in preparation at the Centre de Musique Baroque de Versailles.


Thomas Leconte

The borrowings Within the 20 sections that make up the main Requiem mass and the four sections of the Post-communion ii, 21 borrowings from Rameau’s Castor et Pollux may be identifed. An overview of the different borrowings in the context of the work’s structure is presented in the Appendix below. Even though certain of the borrowed passages are present in the original 1737 version (RCT 32A),14 all are clearly derived from the second, thoroughly reworked version of 1754 (RCT 32B). The latter was engraved in Paris, probably in that same year, as a partition réduite (reduced score) lacking the inner choral and viola parts.15 It was without doubt this source or one closely related to it that the present composer/arranger utilized. For the orchestral accompaniment in the Requiem, he contented himself with the textures found in the partition réduite – most often in trio – without inner string parts, even though he could have used his 3e violon in this role. Such restricted resources also caused him to simplify Rameau’s orchestration, with its abundant use of obbligato futes, oboes and bassoons, though he compensated for this by his occasional substitution of the 3e violon.16 The inner parts of choruses derived from Castor, lacking in Rameau’s partition réduite, are occasionally rather weak and, despite some similarities, are far removed from those in authoritative full scores of this opera.17 Furthermore, the borrowings are generally less precise than their models in the use of ornament signs, phrasing and articulation. While Castor et Pollux constitutes the main source of borrowings in this Requiem, we also fnd three quotations from Mondonville’s Les Fêtes de Paphos, one of them used twice (see Appendix). This work was premiered at the Académie Royale de Musique in 1758,18 four years after the revised version of Castor, thus providing a terminus ante quem for the composition of the present work.

14 RCT numbers derive from Sylvie Bouissou, Denis Herlin and Pascal Denécheau, Jean-Philippe Rameau: Catalogue thématique des œuvres musicales, vol. 3, ‘Musique dramatique (1re partie)’ (Paris: CNRS Éditions; Bibliothèque nationale de France, 2012), 193–245 (RCT 32B). 15 Castor et Pollux, tragédie mise en musique […] Refondu, et remis au théâtre au mois de décembre 1754 (Paris: author, [1754]) [RCT 32B/ E 1]. This score forms the basis of all discussion of the music of Castor in the present chapter. 16 With a few exceptions, where it completes the harmony or plays a countermelody, the 3e violon is generally limited to doubling the 2e violon in instrumental movements and choruses. 17 See, for example, the manuscript full scores in F-Pn, X 640 and Vm2. 233, or F-Po, A 139c and A 139d. I have not had the opportunity to compare the recently discovered score in the Gesellschaft der Musikfreunde, Vienna, the major importance of which is revealed in Denis Herlin, ‘Une source méconnue de Castor et Pollux’, in Sylvie Bouissou, Graham Sadler and Solveig Serre (eds), Rameau, entre art et science (Paris: École des Chartes, 2016), 255–70. 18 Two of the three entrées of this ballet had already been performed separately at Madame de Pompadour’s Théâtre des Petits Cabinets, the second entrée, ‘Bacchus et Érigone’, in 1747, and the frst entrée, ‘Vénus et Adonis’, in 1752. (These are, in fact, the two entrées quoted in the present Messe des morts.) Nevertheless, Les Fêtes de Paphos only entered the public domain when the score was published in 1758. I am most grateful to Patrick Florentin for drawing my attention to the reuse of this work in the Requiem.

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In devising this Messe des morts, the composer/arranger gave special importance to the most celebrated and widely appreciated passages from Castor et Pollux.19 While individual movements are generally based on a single borrowing, several sections are conceived as a combination of two distinct themes.20 The citations themselves are of variable lengths but usually quite short, the composer/arranger often making use of only one idea, modifed to a greater or lesser extent, and adapting the original to the prosodic requirements of the Latin text. The same person was also responsible for the modifcations and transitions between the different borrowings, and presumably for composing those sections for which no source has yet been identifed. The result is a patchwork of borrowings spread across the whole work.

The quotation process The borrowings are effected on several levels. The simplest and most obvious are the quotations from Rameau with only minimal modifcation, these mainly having to do with the simplifcation of the orchestration already mentioned. This type of borrowing is principally associated with passages for soloists, in which the original tessituras are preserved. The most faithful and extensive are the two solos in the Offertoire: the basse-taille solo ‘Domine Jesu Christe’ is an almost literal borrowing of the Grand Prêtre’s impressive air ‘Le souverain des dieux’, while ‘Hostias et preces’, for haute-contre (Example 10.1), reuses Castor’s air ‘Séjour de l’éternelle paix’ (Figure 10.3).21 These two extended examples apart, the composer/arranger limits himself in the solo passages to the frst section of the original air. Thus the Kyrie i, for basse-taille, uses the opening section of Pollux’s air ‘Présent des dieux, doux charme des humains’. The initial dessus solo in the Graduel, ‘Requiem aeternam’, is based on the start of Télaïre’s lament ‘Tristes apprêts, pâles fambeaux’. Such relatively brief sequences were favoured, perhaps, in order to allow an immediate identifcation by the listener, or to emphasize the affects established in the frst section of the model; it may have been felt that the second section, in being sometimes more dramatic in nature and thus having too many connotations, might lead the listener into terrain that was too secular and operatic. The composer/arranger also incorporates the material of one solo air into a chorus: the beginning of the choral ‘Requiem aeternam’ of the Post-communion i is inspired by Télaïre’s air ‘Éclatez mes tristes regrets’, although in this instance the borrowing is limited to the instrumental introduction, the ensuing chorus having no identifable link with Rameau’s opera. 19 See, for example, the review of the 1754 revival in the Mercure de France, February 1754, 173–92. 20 Notably ‘Et lux perpetua’ (Introït and Graduel); ‘Sed signifer sanctus Michael’ (Offertoire); and ‘Et lux perpetua’ (Post-communion i and ‘Lux æterna’ in version ii). 21 The borrowing does not include the frst couplet (‘L’Amour jusqu’en ces lieux me poursuit de ses traits’) or the ensuing rondeau refrain.

166  Thomas Leconte

Example 10.1  Anon., Messe des morts, start of ‘Hostias et preces’

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Figure 10.3  Rameau, Castor et Pollux (Paris, 1754), iv, 5.  Image: The Eda Kuhn Loeb Music Library of the Harvard University Library

In places the composer/arranger combines several distinct themes which are more or less unconnected in the opera. In the Post-communion i, the duo ‘Et lux perpetua’ is based on the outer sections of the chorus ‘Que le ciel, que la terre et l’onde’,22 introduced by a symphonie inspired by the ‘2e Air des Démons’. In the Graduel, the chorus ‘Et lux perpetua’ (Example 10.2) is derived from two choruses in Castor: ‘Triomphe, vengeance’ (Figure 10.4a) and ‘Que l’enfer applaudisse’ (Figure 10.4b). The Requiem sometimes uses both an instrumental movement and the ­vocal one based on it. The duo ‘Sed signifer sanctus Michael’ (Example 10.3) ­borrows the whole of the petit chœur ‘Qu’Hébé de fleurs toujours nouvelles’ ­(Figure 10.5b),23 after a truncated quotation from the ‘2e Air pour Hébé et ses as the instrumental introduction (Figure 10.5a), these thematically related excerpts appearing in reverse order compared with the opera. 22 The composer uses only the treble and bass lines of the chorus, thereby creating a duo – ­further proof that he was working from a score lacking inner parts. 23 Oddly enough, in the Messe des morts the lower voice is notated in F4 clef, with the result that it remains beneath the basse continue throughout. This problem may be resolved by allotting the voices in the duo to two dessus, as in the model. In the Post-communion ii, which likewise uses this extract from Castor, this disposition is respected.

168  Thomas Leconte

Example 10.2  Messe des morts, start of chorus ‘Et lux perpetua’

Figure 10.4  (a) Castor et Pollux, ii, 5, chorus ‘Triomphe, vengeance’. Image: The Eda Kuhn Loeb Music Library of the Harvard University Library. (b) Castor et Pollux, ii, 3, end of chorus ‘Que l’enfer applaudisse’. Image: The Eda Kuhn Loeb Music Library of the Harvard University Library

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Example 10.3  Messe des morts, start of duet ‘Sed signifer sanctus Michael’

Figure 10.5  (a) Castor et Pollux, iii, 4, ‘2e Air pour Hébé et ses Suivantes’. Image: The Eda Kuhn Loeb Music Library of the Harvard University Library. (b) Castor et Pollux, iii, 4, ‘Qu’Hébé de fleurs toujours nouvelles’. Image: The Eda Kuhn Loeb Music Library of the Harvard University Library


Thomas Leconte

One of the most complex and surprising combinations occurs in the ‘Et lux perpetua’ in the Introït. This chorus is conceived in triple time and associated with three models, two from Castor et Pollux and one from Les Fêtes de Paphos. From the former is derived the whole of the ensemble formed by the ‘Air pour les Ombres’ and the Chœur des Ombres ‘Qu’il soit heureux comme nous’, into which is interpolated a section based on the chorus ‘La Victoire vole à ta voix’ from Les Fêtes de Paphos, very different in style and character. Equally surprising is the use of dances or character pieces as the basis of vocal solos, ensembles or choruses. Three sections of the Requiem are derived from the musical material of gavottes from Castor: in the Introït, the whole of the duo ‘Te decet hymnus’ is based on the 2e Gavotte, while in the Offertoire the chorus ‘Quam olim Abrahæ promisisti’ (Example 10.4) is inspired by the ‘Première Gavotte’, its metre changed from 2 to 3 (Figure 10.6). In the Post-communion i, the frst section of the chorus ‘Et lux perpetua’ is borrowed from the ‘1re Gavotte vive’ that opens the concluding ballet in the opera; meanwhile, the second section is based on a chorus from Les Fêtes de Paphos.24 Two very short, modifed quotations may also be identifed from the Chaconne in Castor (Figures 10.7a and b), these being combined to form the melodic basis of the introduction to the basse-taille solo ‘Et tibi reddetur’ in the Introït (Example 10.5); once again, the time signature has been changed, in this case from 3 to 2. Several themes from Castor et Pollux are used in newly composed introductions, specifcally for choruses. The above-mentioned ‘Première Gavotte’ and ‘1re Gavotte vive’ fall into this category, as does the prelude from Télaïre’s air ‘Éclatez mes tristes regrets’, which is used in the opening symphonie to the chorus ‘Requiem æternam’ in the Post-communion i. The composer/arranger scrupulously respects the original vocal tessituras, registers and nomenclature of his models, being sometimes obliged to adapt these to his own performing forces. This is the case in the trio

Example 10.4 Messe des morts, start of ‘Quam olim Abrahæ promisisti’ 24 ‘Célébrons de l’Amour la brillante victoire’, Les Fêtes de Paphos, ‘Vénus et Adonis’, fnal scene.

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Figure 10.6  Castor et Pollux, i, 4, Première Gavotte. Image: The Eda Kuhn Loeb Music Library of the Harvard University Library

Figure 10.7  (a) Castor et Pollux, v, 4, Chaconne. Image: The Eda Kuhn Loeb Music Library of the Harvard University Library. (b) Castor et Pollux, Chaconne. Image: The Eda Kuhn Loeb Music Library of the Harvard University Library

‘Ren­trez dans l’esclavage’ for dessus, haute-contre and basse, which is used in the Agnus Dei ii but adapted to suit the four-part choral disposition, thereby necessitating many octave or unison doublings. The same is true in certain passages in the chorus ‘Et lux perpetua’ in the Graduel, built on material from two choruses for male-voice trio, ‘Triomphe, vengeance’ and ‘Que ­l’enfer applaudisse’.

172  Thomas Leconte

Example 10.5  Messe des morts, start of ‘Et tibi reddetur’ (versions i and ii)

The choice of models: tonal structure and affect In 16 out of the 24 identified borrowings, the material maintains the tonality of the originals (see Appendix). Among the exceptions are the Kyrie i, based on Pollux’s air ‘Présent des dieux’, originally in C minor but transposed in the Requiem to D minor; the Graduel, derived from Télaïre’s air ‘Tristes apprêts’, transposed from E flat to F major; and the Sanctus, from Érigone’s air ‘De la gloire terrible’ in Les Fêtes de Paphos, transposed down from E to C major. The resultant tonal architecture of the Mass is summarized in Table 10.1. From one section to another, the music moves to related keys, most often to the tonic or relative major/minor, either in open progression or a closed one for the final section of the Post-communion i. The Offertoire, at the midpoint of this plan, is distinguished by a more complex tonal scheme (see Table 10.2). The composer/arranger has chosen to emphasize this central section of the liturgy – the moment of the Eucharistic prayer – by creating two overlapping structures. Each part includes an extensive solo, the first (‘Domine Jesu Christe’) in B flat major, a fifth lower than the F major which ends the repeat of the Introït (that is, a neighbouring tonality but not, as in the rest of the work, a tonic or relative major/minor), the second ­(‘Hostias et preces’) in the relative minor. These frame a kind of symmetrical triptych comprising chorus–duo–chorus (‘Libera de pœnis inferni’ – ‘Sed

Table 10.1  Tonal structure of the anonymous Messe des morts Introït Kyrie Introït (repeat) Offertoire Graduel Sanctus Agnus Dei Post-communion i

F minor D minor F minor B flat major F major C major A minor A major

F major

→ → →

F major G major C major

→ →

A major A minor

A majora

a The Post-communion ii, which refers to musical elements used in previous sections of the work, has a different tonal progression: D minor–F major–C major–G major

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Table 10.2 Structure of the Offertoire ‘Domine Jesu Christe’ ‘Libera de pœnis inferni’ ‘Sed signifer sanctus Michael’ ‘Quam olim Abrahæ promisisti’ ‘Hostias et preces’ ‘Quam olim Abrahæ promisisti (repeat)

Solo Chorus duo Chorus Solo Chorus

B fat major → G minor G major E minor G major G minor G major

signifer sanctus Michael’ – ‘Quam olim Abrahæ promisisti’) in G major–G minor–G major. At the same time, the ‘Hostias et preces’ for haute-contre gains emphasis, since not only does it form a counterpart to the basse-taille solo ‘Domine Jesu Christe’ just described, but it also fnds itself framed by the G major chorus ‘Quam olim Abrahæ promisisti’ and its repeat, thus constituting the axis of another, equally symmetrical triptych. In numerous sections, the composer/arranger reveals a genuine desire to retain the character, atmosphere and vocabulary of his models, thereby preserving a clear identity of meaning between model and borrowing. Table 10.3 sets out some of the most signifcant examples. In addition to such passages derived from Castor, the Sanctus is based on the air ‘De la gloire terrible suspendez les travaux’ from Les Fêtes de Paphos. This choice may be explained by comparing the two texts (Table 10.4), since the composer/arranger has exploited the warlike and triumphant character of the original, associating the sacred and glorious image of the ‘Lord, God of Hosts [armies]’ with the secular but more pacifc image of Victorious Love. Such connections are also apparent in many identical or near-identical indications of character between the sacred work and its secular models. That said, in his musical choices the composer/arranger occasionally distances himself, sometimes surprisingly, from this semantic correlation. Thus the duo ‘Te decet hymnus’ (Introït) is marked ‘Lent’, even though it is based on a lively and joyous gavotte. By contrast, the preceding chorus ‘Et lux perpetua’ – built on two passages from Castor that are characterized by fuid and sustained lines labelled ‘doux et gracieux’ – is marked ‘animé et détaché’.25 We recall that this section also uses a chorus from Les Fêtes de Paphos, ‘La Victoire vole à ta voix’, its agitated and virtuosic writing contrasting sharply with the Castor borrowings. Hence it was probably this model, marked ‘très léger’ by Mondonville that dictated the character, not the Rameau material. Should we regard such usages as clumsy misappropriations, or do these contradictions result from a particular strategy on the composer/arranger’s part? We could of course believe that he was conforming to precise criteria, 25 This marking occurs only in the 2e violon part-book.


Thomas Leconte

Table 10.3 Texts of the Messe des morts compared with those of borrowings from Rameau, Castor et Pollux Castor et Pollux

Messe des morts

Que tout gémisse… Préparons, élevons d’éternels monuments Tristes apprêts, pâles fambeaux, / Jour plus affreux que les ténèbres Le souverain des dieux / Va paraître en ces lieux Esprits, soutiens de mon pouvoir… Descendez aux rivages sombres/ Des monstres des enfers combattez la fureur Qu’Hébé de feurs toujours nouvelles/ Forme vos chaînes immortelles Éclatez mes justes regrets… la douceur de me plaindre

Requiem æternam… et Mourning, lamentation, hope of lux perpetua luceat immortality eis Requiem æternam dona Mourning, lamentation, eis, Domine resignation Domine Jesu Christe, rex gloriæ Libera de pœnis inferni… Et de profundo lacu libera animas, Ne cadant in obscurum Sed signifer sanctus Michael representet eas in lucem sanctam Requiem æternam dona eis, Domine

Affective character and vocabulary

Jupiter / Jesus Christ Torments of Hell, subterranean and baleful abode

Joy, immortality guaranteed by a divinity (Hébé) or a saint (Michael) Mourning, lamentation, hope of fnding peace

Table 10.4 Text of the Sanctus of the Messe de morts compared with borrowing from Mondonville, Les Fêtes de Paphos Messe des morts

Les Fêtes de Paphos

Sanctus, Sanctus, Sanctus, Dominus, Deus Sabaoth. Pleni sunt cæli et terra gloria tua.

De la gloire terrible suspendez les travaux, Je chante un vainqueur plus paisible; Le plaisir porte ses drapeaux. Il ne faut qu’un cœur sensible Pour être au rang de ses héros. Comme vous il est invincible, Mais ses triomphes sont plus beaux. (Desist from the works of terrible glory: I sing of a more peaceful conqueror. Pleasure carries his banners. To enter the ranks of his heroes, only a sensitive heart is required. Like you, he is invincible, but his triumphs are more beautiful.)

especially on the liturgical plane, in order to conform to the decorum demanded in this spiritual context. We may nevertheless ask what these borrowings and their different adaptations teach us about the manner in which the music of Rameau and Mondonville was perceived or interpreted. Given that a

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Figure 10.8  Castor et Pollux, ii, 1, start of chorus ‘Que tout gémisse’. Image: The Eda Kuhn Loeb Music Library of the Harvard University Library

quotation makes little sense if it is not recognized, we may suppose that, in order to allow this recognition to make its full effect, the composer had to rely on the collective memory. We may be sure, in any event, that contemporary congregations readily identified the famous ‘Que tout gémisse’, the chorus in which the Spartans mourn Castor’s death (Figure 10.8), when they heard its reuse in the opening ‘Requiem æternam’, a funereal lament as striking as its model (Example 10.6).

From the opera house to the church Such borrowings of secular material for sacred use were not rare in the eighteenth century, especially in the provincial cathedral repertoire. Among the composers most frequently quoted, Rameau and Mondonville share the honour of seeing their music borrowed or alluded to in a more or less explicit manner. Composers who resorted to such procedures included Louis Grénon (c. 1734–69), who was in turn maître de musique at the cathedrals of Puy-en-Velay, Clermont en Auvergne and Saintes, and whose Masses borrow various themes from Rameau’s operas, notably Hippolyte et Aricie, Les Indes galantes and Castor et Pollux.26 Similarly, the Mass ‘à grand 26 See Louis Grénon, Les Messes, ed. Jean Duron in collaboration de Bernard Dompnier (Versailles: Éditions du Centre de Musique Baroque de Versailles, 2008), xviii–xix, xxiv– xxxii, xlviii–xlix and liv–lxii.

176  Thomas Leconte

Example 10.6  Messe des morts, start of ‘Requiem æternam’ (Introït)

Rameau and Mondonville


chœur et symphonie’ by the Strasbourg composer Jacques-Antoine Denoyé (d. 1759), discovered by the musicologist Jean-Luc Gester, is peppered with references to Rameau’s operas.27 The present Requiem is nevertheless unique in the extent and systematism of its borrowings, which suffuse the work and contribute to its architecture. Given the complexity of the musical revamping, we should not regard such appropriations as merely an easy way of composing. What, then, was the intention or signifcance of such quotations? Should we interpret them as a series of homages on the part of Grénon, Denoyé and others to their peers or teachers? Did they originate from a pedagogical approach, designed to inculcate the best habits into choristers who were learning to compose? In using both Rameau and Mondonville in this Messe des morts, the composer/arranger was borrowing from the two most famous musicians of the day who shared the approbation of Parisian audiences in the two great musical centres – the Opéra in the former case, the Concert Spirituel in the latter. Several questions remain: for whom was this Requiem intended? In what context was it composed? Did it result from the personal initiative of a maître de chapelle? Or was it commissioned by an ecclesiastical establishment, a religious brotherhood, a concert society? Given that the Rameau borrowings far outnumber those from Mondonville, could the work be a homage to the music of a composer recognized as one of the greatest of French masters? When Rameau died in 1764, the whole kingdom unanimously celebrated his memory in numerous tributes. In Paris, two memorial services organized by the Opéra directors were given in the Église de l’Oratoire in September and December by members of the Académie Royale de Musique and the Musique du roi.28 A reworked version of the celebrated Messe des morts by Jean Gilles was performed, enriched for the occasion by two extracts from Castor et Pollux: the Spartans’ chorus ‘Que tout gémisse’, adapted as the Kyrie ii, and Castor’s air ‘Séjour de l’éternelle paix’ as the Graduel, ‘Quemadmodum desiderat cervus’.29 Numerous memorial services were organized in the provinces, notably at Avignon, Dijon, Rouen, Orléans and Marseille. It is possible that the present Messe des morts constitutes a musical testimony of the many tributes rendered by all the musicians of the realm, who recognized Rameau as one of their greatest masters. Certain of these ceremonies were reported in the Mercure de France, as in the case of the one

27 See Denoyé, Corrette (d’après/after Vivaldi): Hommages, Le Parlement de Musique, La Maîtrise de Bretagne, conductor Martin Gester (CD: Ambronay Éditions, 2007). 28 Mercure de France, October 1764, i, 213–15. Mercure de France, January 1765, ii, 191–2. For further details, see John Hammond, The Music for Rameau’s Memorial Services: A Study and Critical Edition of the ‘Messe de morts’ by Jean Gilles as Performed in 1764 (doctoral thesis, University of Hull, 2010). 29 The score and part-books of this version of Gilles’s Requiem survive in F-Pn, D 11135 (score), L 17986 (A-B) and H 494 (A-B) (part-books).

178 Thomas Leconte organised by the Concert de Marseille on 15 November 1764,30 under the direction of its maître, M. Rey,31 which strongly evokes the procedures on display in our Messe des morts: Everything the choir sang in this Mass consisted entirely of different pieces of music taken from well-known works by Rameau that have particularly contributed to his fame. The uniting, ordering and distribution of these different fragments formed a whole that may be regarded as a masterpiece. The Latin texts were so well adapted, and the music seems so well suited to the words, that one could believe the whole to have been composed expressly for this purpose. It would be desirable that the resourceful person who has devoted his attention and intellect to this task should make it public. It would without doubt be suitable for the most noble and magnifcent funeral services. The writer adds, It has been deemed necessary to omit from this letter the details of all the pieces adapted to the words of the Mass; frst, because it is not possible that such details would always match the secular texts with the sacred ones; second, because although this detail is of interest to professional musicians and music lovers who know these works suffciently well to recall them from their texts, it would be of no use to the majority of readers. The description, which mentions that this Mass was made entirely of extracts from various works only by Rameau, makes it very unlikely that it was the present Messe des morts. But these interesting comments express the reservations aroused by such borrowing and transposition from the secular to the sacred sphere, even the admission of which would be improper.

30 Mercure de France, February 1765, 197–9, ‘Cérémonie publique. Lettre écrite de Marseille, contenant la relation d’une pompe funèbre à la mémoire de feu M. Rameau’ (15 November 1764). On the Concert de Marseille, see Jeanne Cheilan-Cambolin, ‘L’Académie de Musique ou le Concert de Marseille (1719–1793)’, in François Lesure (ed.), La Musique dans le midi de la France (Paris: Klincksieck, 1996), 57–70. 31 This was probably Jean-Baptiste Rey, cellist, composer and conductor, born in 1734 at Lauzerte (Quercy), educated at the maîtrise of Saint-Sernin, Toulouse. At the age of 17 he was appointed maître de musique at Auch Cathedral (1751–4) and was subsequently attached to theatres in Toulouse (1754), Bordeaux, Marseille, Nantes. He fnally settled permanently in Paris at the end of the 1770s. A cellist at the Académie Royale de Musique (1776), of which he took direction in 1781 in succession to Louis-Joseph Francoeur, he was also a cellist and conductor at the Concert Spirituel (1779–82), maître de la musique de la Chambre du roi (1780–92), professor at the Conservatoire (1799–1802). Appointed music master of the Imperial Chapel in 1804, he died in 1810. See Sylvie Bouissou, France Marchal-Ninosque, and Pascal Denécheau (eds), Dictionnaire de l’Opéra de Paris sous l’Ancien Régime, 1669–1791, vol. 4 (Paris: Classiques Garnier, 2020), 423–5.

Rameau and Mondonville


Although the present Messe des morts adds nothing to Rameau’s music itself, and although we cannot identify its composer/arranger, its provenance or date, the work nevertheless constitutes a great homage to the ‘grand old man’ and his music. And while it is, like the revised version of Gilles’s Messe des morts already mentioned, a testimony to the numerous musical tributes offered to Rameau by the musicians of the realm, it is equally – and especially – a unique example of a work borrowing from two works, each by a different composer, and also a testimony, beyond the musical tour de force, to its reception, itself the fascinating object of study. We may also ask why the choice of Castor et Pollux. Both the music of this tragédie, by turns lugubrious and radiant, and its subject matter (death, resurrection and apotheosis of Castor, thanks to the abnegation of his brother) accord particularly well with the Requiem message (mercy, absolution, resurrection) and, more broadly, with the values and ideals of fraternity.32 Yet we should perhaps also look for other, more contingent reasons. Had this most popular of Rameau’s works been recently performed locally, prompting the present composer-arranger to recycle its music in a sacred context? Patient research in departmental and diocesan archives may one day provide answers to these questions.33 Even so, the presence of music by Mondonville appears to rule out the idea of an ‘academic’ homage to Rameau, as the procedure of citing and borrowing from the music of these two musicians is meaningful, sincere and touching. In the end, perhaps, it concerns a Requiem Mass composed in memory of a devotee of the music of these two great men, reconciling their respective partisans by means of their most famous operas.34 Translation: Graham Sadler

32 This last was a theme particularly espoused by contemporary freemasonry, to which both Rameau and Mondonville were sympathetic. On masonic themes detectable in Castor et Pollux, see Bouissou, Jean-Philippe Rameau, 418–22. Such themes may, indeed, have motivated the composition of this Requiem. 33 Among the most recent studies, see Aurélien Gras, Les faiseurs de notes: Pratiques professionnelles, identité sociale et mobilités des musiciens dans la Provence et les États pontifcaux rhodaniens du e XVIII siècle (thèse d’Histoire, Université d’Avignon, 2018). The author (pp. 256 and 294) mentions several musical homages to Rameau in the south of France in November 1764: the one in Marseille (November 15) and another in Aix-en-Provence (November 4). In both cases, these events were organised by local concert academies, with the participation of the singers from the cathedral. On the Académie de Musique in Aix-en-Provence, see also Christiane Jeanselme, ‘L’Académie d’Aix-en-Provence sous l’Ancien Régime’, in François Lesure (ed.), La Musique dans le midi de la France (Paris: Klincksieck, 1996), 71–105. 34 For a discussion of the public perception of Rameau and Mondonville as rivals, see Thierry Favier’s chapter in this book, pp. 46–60.


Structure of the anonymous Messe des morts and its borrowings from Rameau, Castor et Pollux (1754 version), and Mondonville, Les Fêtes de Paphos (1758)


– –


Castor, iii, 1, ‘Présent des dieux doux charme des d humains’ (Pollux) Unidentifed

Solo: frst section as version i; second section unidentifed


Solo: unidentifed; the instrumental transition in bb. 254–8 repeats the fnal section of the opening ritournelle of Castor, i, 1 Symphonie: as version i




Très léger



Doux et gracieux


Tempo/ affect




Symphonie: Castor, v, 4, Chaconne

Lent et Castor, ii, 1, ‘Que tout gémisse’ (chorus) fort Animé et Sections A and C: Castor, iv, 6, ‘Air pour les détachéa Ombres’ and ‘Qu’il soit heureux comme nous’ (chorus) – Section B: Paphos, ‘Bacchus et Érigone’, sc. 3, ‘La Victoire vole à ta voix’ (chorus) Lent Castor, v, 5, ‘2e Gavotte’



Requiem æternam chorus (repeat) Kyrie 1/Christe solo: Bt2 (269–97) Kyrie 2 (298–326) chorus



solo: Bt1

duet: D1, D2 F

solo: Bt1

Et tibi reddetur (version ii)c (202a–302a)

Te decet hymnus (144–201) Et tibi reddetur (version i)b (202–68)



Requiem æternam chorus (1–47) Et lux perpetua chorus (48–143)


Tempo/ affect



Section and bar numbers



Source of borrowing

Messe des morts

Rameau and Mondonville 181




g G


solo: Hc


Quam olim Abrahæ promisisti (596–621)

Hostias et preces (622–86) Quam olim Abrahæ promisisti (repeat)


Sed signifer duet: D1, sanctus Michael Bt1 (560–95)


solo: Bt1


Key Tempo/ affect

Duet: ibid, ‘Qu’Hébé de feurs toujours nouvelles’ (petit chœur) Symphonie: Castor, i, 4, ‘Première Gavotte’

Chorus: ibid., ‘Des monstres des enfers’ (chorus) Symphonie: Castor, iii, 4, Sarabande ‘2e Air pour Hébé et ses suivantes’)

Chorus: unidentifed Lent et Castor, iv, 5, ‘Séjour de l’éternelle paix’ (Castor) gracieux

− (in 3)





Gai (in 2)


Lent (in C) Castor, ii, 2, ‘Tristes apprêts, pâles fambeaux’ Eb Très lent (Télaïre) (in 2) C Animéd Castor, ii, 3, ‘Triomphe, vengeance’ (off-stage C – chorus) and ‘Que l’enfer applaudisse’ (chorus) Bb/g Lent Castor, iii, 2, ‘Le Souverain des dieux’ (Le Grand Bb/g Majestueux, prêtre) sans lenteur G Grave Symphonie: Castor, iv, 1, prelude to ‘Esprits, G Fièrement soutiens de mon pouvoir’ (Phébé)

Requiem æternam (327–61) Et lux perpetua (362–439) Domine Jesu Christe (440–95) Libera de pœnis inferni (496–559)


solo: D1


Key Tempo/ affect

Section and bar numbers



Source of borrowing

Messe des morts

182 Thomas Leconte



Et lux perpetua (916–64)


duet: D1, Bt2 A



Requiem æternam chorus (880–915)



Hosanna (711–57) chorus

solo: D1


Sanctus (687–710) solo: D2

Agnus Dei i (758–80) Agnus Dei ii (781–835) Post-communion Lux æterna (836–79) (version i)e

Agnus Dei



Duet: Castor, v, 4, ‘Que le ciel, que la terre et l’onde’ (chorus) Symphonie: Castor, v, 2, ‘Éclatez mes justes C regrets’, prélude (Télaïre) Chorus: unidentifed First section (‘Et lux perpetua luceat eis’): Castor, A v, 5, ‘1re Gavotte vive’ Second section (‘cum sanctis tuis in æternum’): Paphos, ‘Vénus & Adonis’, fnal scene, ‘Célébrons de l’Amour la brillante victoire’ (chorus)






Très léger





Castor, iv, 3: trio ‘Rentrez dans l’esclavage’ (Phébé, Mercure, Pollux) Symphonie: Castor, iv, 3, ‘2e Air des Démons’

Paphos, ‘Bacchus et Érigone’, sc. 5, ‘De la gloire terrible’ (Érigone) Paphos, ‘Bacchus et Érigone’, sc. 3, ‘La Victoire vole à ta voix’ (chorus) Unidentifed

Un peu animé –




Rameau and Mondonville 183

Symphonie: Castor, iii, 4, ‘2e Gavotte’ (second section) Chorus: unidentifedg

Symphonie: Castor, iv, 5, ‘Séjour de l’éternelle paix’ prélude (Castor) – Duet: Castor, iii, 4, ‘Qu’Hébé de feurs toujours nouvelles’ (petit chœur) Lent (in 2) Castor, ii, 2, ‘Tristes apprêts, pâles fambeaux’ (Télaïre) – Unidentifed


D – dessus; Hc – haute-contre; Bt – basse-taille. a In the 2e violon part-book only. b Original version in the fragmentary score A only. c Revised version copied on a leaf pinned to the fragmentary score A and in the part-books. d ‘Un peu vif’ in 2e violon part-book. e In the part-books. f In the fragmentary score B only. g The opening might have been by the ‘1re Gavotte vive’ (Castor, v, 5), transposed from A to G major.




duet: [D, Bt] d

Requiem æternam solo: [D] (892a–926a) Et lux perpetua trio: D, Hc, (927a–1025a) Bt Cum sanctis tuis chorus (1026a–95a)

Post-communion Lux æterna (version ii)f (836a–91a)

Key Tempo/ affect




Section and bar numbers

Source of borrowing

Messe des morts




Très lent (in 2) –


Key Tempo/ affect

184 Thomas Leconte

11 ‘Objet d’étude et de curiosité’ Candeille’s Castor et Pollux and its audiences, 1791–1817 R. J. Arnold

Adolphe Adam (1803–56) was best known as an outstandingly prolifc composer of more than 80 operas and ballets, but he was also highly active in unearthing and restoring the music of others. During the 1840s and 1850s, he produced cosmetic reworkings of the operas of André-Ernest-Modeste Grétry, Pierre-Alexandre Monsigny, Nicolas Dalayrac and other leading composers of the eighteenth century, and arranged Rameau’s ‘Dans ces doux asiles’ from Castor et Pollux into a choral piece that became a concert favourite in midnineteenth-century Paris. This activity attracted a certain amount of opprobrium, both from those who had no interest in older music and from those who regarded the works of past masters as sacrosanct.1 In his memoirs, therefore, he was at pains to defend this practice, arguing that he brought new levels of scholarship, scrupulousness and sensitivity to bear, which distinguished his reworkings from the clumsier efforts of previous generations. Adam was particularly severe in this regard in his judgement on PierreJoseph Candeille (1744–1827), who half a century before had produced a new version of Castor et Pollux, incorporating some fragments of Rameau’s original music. Set within the fabric of Candeille’s score, Adam wrote, these jewels were likely to appear dowdy, even ridiculous – ‘reduced to the state of library ornaments and an object of study and curiosity’.2 Adam’s assessment was not, it should be emphasised, that Rameau’s music was weak by comparison with the more modern, or in any other way superior contribution of Candeille: on the contrary, the few pieces of the original appropriated by Candeille ‘were the only ones that produced any effect and made this revival worth staging a few times’.3 Instead, Adam took issue with Candeille’s apparently careless jumbling together of the old and the new, a technique that in his opinion created something more akin to an incongruous museum than a meaningful work of art, 1 On Adam’s restorations of older music, see Arthur Pougin, Adolphe Adam: sa vie, sa carrière, ses mémoires artistiques (Paris: G. Charpentier, 1877), 163–9. 2 Adolphe Adam, Derniers souvenirs d’un musicien (Paris: Michel Lévy Frères, 1859), 71: ‘réduit à l’état d’ornement de bibliothèque et d’objet d’étude et de curiosité’. 3 Ibid.: ‘Ce furent les seuls qui produisirent de l’effet et valurent quelques représentations à cette reprise’.

DOI: 10.4324/9781315554990-15


R. J. Arnold

bewildering its audiences without either contributing to the progress of musical theatre or paying suffcient respect to the masterworks of the past. Candeille’s work, which was the frst substantial attempt to ‘rehabilitate’ Rameau on the French stage after the rapid posthumous decline in his public profle, is the subject of this chapter. An examination of Candeille’s methods shows that he understood the dangers of temporal juxtaposition later identifed by Adam, and went to considerable, if not invariably convincing, lengths to work with the spirit of Rameau, rather than force his material into fashy new garb. By setting an investigation into Candeille’s little-known score within the context of the ways his efforts were apprehended and interpreted, by contemporary audiences and reviewers as well as more historically minded critics such as Adam, it is possible to gain an insight into a distinct phase in the French relationship with Rameau – at the nadir of his neglect, yet arguably in certain ways anticipating his tentative rediscovery in the mid-nineteenth century. In his foreword to the libretto of Castor, Candeille presented his acceptance of the project as a personal act of temerity, an ‘onerous and hazardous’ task that he undertook only after the solicitations of music-lovers.4 In fact, although no documentation about the genesis of the work exists, the assumption of contemporary commentators was that the work had been specifcally commissioned by the Académie Royale de Musique. Candeille, a baritone (basse-taille) in the opera chorus and at the Concert Spirituel from the late 1760s, was perennially eager to make a career as a composer, having produced a series of vocal and stage works, among them original compositions and revisions to existing pieces, since 1777.5 The Opéra management had repeatedly attempted strategies for injecting new life into Castor since Rameau’s death, beginning as early as 1764 with a series of revisions to the score, and encompassing an expanded instrumentation and other amendments overseen by François-Joseph Gossec in 1772– 73.6 After Rameau’s opera passed from the repertoire in 1784–85, there was a scheme, launched apparently by Étienne Morel de Chédeville, then temporarily in charge of the Opéra, to commission fve composers to produce a wholly

4 Castor et Pollux (Paris, 1791), vii–viii. (Candeille’s avertissement appeared only in this frst printing, and not in later editions.) 5 Sylvie Bouissou, Pascal Denécheau and France Marchal-Ninosque (eds.), Dictionnaire de l’Opéra de Paris sous l’Ancien Régime (1669–1791), vol. 1 (Paris: Classiques Garnier, 2019), 639–40. See also the article by Julian Rushton in The New Grove Dictionary of Music and Musicians, iv, 929–30; and the much more extensive article by Elena Tonolo, including a detailed work-list, in Die Musik in Geschichte und Gegenwart, Personenteil iv, 71–6. 6 On this programme of revision, providing much wider context, see Jean-Claire Vançon, Le Temple de la Gloire: visages et usages de Jean-Philippe Rameau en France entre 1764 et 1895 (doctoral diss., Université Paris Sorbonne – Paris iv, 2009), ii, 63–104. The specifc amendments introduced in this period are detailed in Elena Tonolo, ‘Castor et Pollux’ da Rameau a Candeille: analisa di une lunga durata (1737–1817) nel repertorio della ‘tragédie lyrique’ (doctoral diss., Università degli Studi di Venezia, 1994), 199–227.

Candeille’s Castor et Pollux



new version built around borrowings from Rameau’s score. By the end of the decade, Antonio Salieri was reported to be working on a setting for Paris  – something cited by Candeille as an incentive to proceed.8 This effort needs to be seen within the context of the institutional preoccupations of the Académie Royale. As Mark Darlow has argued, as late as 1791–92 the opera house was not yet persuaded of the value of the new, overtly revolutionary works taking hold elsewhere, and remained motivated by commercial concerns: as such, an incremental strategy of rejuvenating hallowed elements of its core repertoire would seem prudent and prestigious.9 Reviewing the premiere of Candeille’s Castor in June 1791, the Chronique de Paris expressed the hope that its appearance would convince the world that ‘the arts continue to live in this superb city’.10 As the satirist Louis-Abel Beffroy de Reigny noted, a new Castor et Pollux seemed to come along at least every fve years.11 Aside from the attempts already mentioned, settings of some version of Pierre-Joseph Bernard’s text included I Tindaridi by Tommaso Traetta in 1760,12 Castor operas in Italian by Francesco Bianchi in 1779, Georg Joseph Vogler in 1784, Giuseppe Sarti in 1786 and Vincenzo Federici in 1803, and a French setting in 1806 by Peter von Winter. The legend appears to have held a particular fascination for the late eighteenthcentury imagination. A growing fondness for supernatural themes, and for explorations of classical and mythological conceptions of death in particular, was refected in, and given fresh stimulus by, the success of Christoph Willibald Gluck’s Orfeo ed Euridice and Alceste.13 The ethical framework of Bernard’s plot has been read as moving away from the absolutist model of the early eighteenth century, and towards Kantian notions of individual self-determination.14 The 1754 version of Rameau’s opera, on which Candeille and others based their work, inhabited, as David Charlton has argued, ‘a quite different moral climate’ from its predecessor, shifting away from the sombre, fatalistic premises of 1737 towards more hopeful human themes, and providing a greater variety of 7 On this abortive project, which was envisaged to have an act each written by Langlé, Gossec, Piccinni, Sacchini and Grétry, see Henri de Curzon, ‘Un Projet de vandalisme musical au xviiie siècle’, Le Ménéstrel, 12 July 1891, 219–20. 8 Candeille, Avertissement, vii; Mark Darlow, Staging the French Revolution: Cultural Politics and the Paris Opéra, 1789–1794 (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2012), 222. Salieri’s involvement was not publicly avowed but was widely rumoured: see Le Petit Almanach des grands spectacles (Paris, 1792), 55–6. 9 Darlow, Staging the French Revolution, 215. Darlow discusses the genesis and reception of Candeille’s Castor on pp. 221–31. 10 Chronique de Paris, 16 June 1791, 666: ‘Ils verront que les arts vivent encore dans cette superbe cité’. 11 Louis-Abel Beffroy de Reigny, Dictionnaire néologique des hommes et des choses, 3 vols (Paris: Montardier, 1799), iii, 88. 12 See the chapter by Margaret R. Butler in this volume (Chapter 9), pp. 141–58. 13 David Buch, Magic Flutes and Enchanted Forests: The Supernatural in Eighteenth-Century Musical Theater (Chicago: Chicago University Press, 2008) and Giorgio Pestelli, The Age of Mozart and Beethoven, trans. Eric Cross (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1984), 71–86. 14 Charles Dill, ‘Rameau avec Lacan’, Acta musicologica 80/1 (2008), 33–58.


R. J. Arnold

sentiment and spectacle – and therefore more congenial to the Rousseauesque tastes of the latter part of the century.15 Castor et Pollux, with its struggles between love and duty, its benefcent deities, and its loyal masses of subjects and warriors, had been associated with themes of monarchy: Pollux’s instruction to his brother in Act iv, ‘Règne sur un peuple fdèle’, was a traditional opportunity for some sort of royalist application. In the excitable atmosphere of 1791, where hopes still ran high for a constitutional settlement between the crown and popular authority, reactions to Candeille’s opera were coloured by political considerations.16 When the light from torches brandished during the Act iv chorus of demons ‘Brisons tous nos fers’ illuminated the royal box, spectators broke into loyal imprecations.17 The Mercure de France was particularly touched by this moment, arguing that the words would have particular resonance for Frenchmen who had so recently broken their own chains, and that the acclamation of free citizens was worth more than that of slaves, if only the king had the wit to recognise it.18 The equivocal sentiment of this episode was later echoed by Germaine de Staël, the prominent émigrée critic of the excesses of Revolutionary France, in her recollection of the evening from the perspective of 1817: she had, she claimed, experienced ‘melancholy forebodings’ at the sight of the torchlight fickering across royal faces.19 Castor was performed 50 times by the end of 1792, remaining ever more ftfully in the repertoire even through 1793 and 1794.20 There is little evidence of the circumstances of what must have been fascinating Terror-era performances, although a letter published shortly before the fall of Robespierre took issue with radical proposed changes to Bernard’s text.21 After Robespierre’s death in July 1794, it was staged more frequently, totalling 130 performances by the end of the decade. Castor was thus an opera that pointed towards themes of monarchy but which was not automatically to be regarded as embodying a reactionary ideology, or at least was to be excused by the antiquity and poetry of its libretto – even in periods when the political content of stage works was notionally scrutinised and regulated. A more unshakeable association between the work and the particular interests of the crown would emerge only later, when it was revived in specifc celebration of the restored Bourbons.

15 David Charlton, Opera in the Age of Rousseau: Music, Confrontation, Realism (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2012), 83–5. 16 The positive review in the Chronique and negative reports in the Révolutions de Paris (17–24 September 1791, 524, and 1–8 October 1791, 29–32) were informed by their opposing views on the practicality of a constitutional monarchy. 17 Journal de Paris, 21 September 1791, 1077. 18 Mercure de France, 1 October 1791, 37–8. 19 Germaine de Staël, Considerations on the Principal Events of the French Revolution, trans. Aurelian Craiutu (Indianapolis: Liberty Fund, 2008), 192. De Staël incorrectly identifed the production as the ballet Psyché. 20 Detailed statistics on performances are available on the Chronopera database, [accessed September 25, 2019]. 21 Moniteur, 25 July 1794, 1255.

Candeille’s Castor et Pollux


Renovation and reconciliation While the politically engaged would inevitably have seen Castor through the lens of contemporary events, the majority of its audiences experienced it as raising questions of tradition and reform in more abstract terms. In his foreword, Candeille wrote that his aim had not been ‘to struggle against [Rameau], but to follow his tracks at a distance’.22 Instead of starkly juxtaposing Rameau’s music with his own, he was concerned to recontextualise and reappropriate it, setting up a more subtle dialogue between old and new. Candeille’s self-presentation as a servant of Rameau’s reputation was belied by the fact that almost all the material in his Castor was freshly composed.23 Broadly, Candeille’s music falls into two discrete categories. First, at moments of high drama, it adopts a convincing Gluckian aesthetic, marked by stark severity, clean, declamatory vocal lines, tense, bustling orchestral textures, and frequent use of extreme dynamic contrast. The lengthy overture, for example, after a chromatic introduction, launches into an extensive passage of rushing string semiquavers reminiscent of the storm music from the beginning of Iphigénie en Tauride; when this dies down, a general pause supervenes, followed by a quotation from Rameau’s chorus ‘Que tout gémisse’. Fantasia-like in structure, the overture gives a taste of the eclecticism to come. Second, and most marked in the ballet sections (which, as in Rameau’s original, are substantial), is a tendency towards simple, song-like forms and styles – a sound-world that borrows more from the opéra comique stage than the severity of operatic tragedy. The Journal de Paris noted a ‘demi Françoise’ tone to all Candeille’s music: yet while Candeille employed traditional dance-forms – passepied, gavotte, tambourin and the like – in such passages, his music contains no hint of Baroque pastiche, preferring an unadorned, folksong-like melodiousness.24 Candeille retained only six pieces of Rameau’s music: in Act ii, ‘Que tout gémisse’ and Télaïre’s subsequent aria ‘Tristes apprêts’, the march and an air (marked ‘très gai’ in Rameau’s score); in Act iv, the above-mentioned demons’ chorus and a gavotte (from scene 7).25 This neat selection of three vocal and 22 Candeille, Avertissement, vii: ‘non pas de lutter contre lui, mais de suivre de loin ses traces’. 23 The following remarks refer to the manuscript full score in F-Po, A 340 (i–v). Although complete, this document contains numerous amendments and crossings-out in various hands, and it is not clear in what precise form the work was performed. 24 Journal de Paris, 19 June 1791, 683. Late-century pastiches of the Baroque tended much more towards angular lines, ornamental affectation and a melancholy mood: see, for example, Grétry’s essays in this direction in his Les Trois Âges de l’Opéra and (for comic effect) Le Jugement de Midas, both of 1778. Candeille adapted at least one popular tune in Castor: his Act iii aria ‘Présent des dieux’ was modelled on the brunette ‘De mon berger volage’. 25 Elena Tonolo has argued that Pollux’s aria ‘Ah! laisse-moi percer’ from Act iii was also borrowed from Rameau: Tonolo, ‘Castor et Pollux’ da Rameau a Candeille, 271–5. But Candeille did not acknowledge this in his score, as he did quite plainly in relation to his other borrowings; it seems plausible that the undeniable resemblance in this case, which was not remarked by contemporary observers, was no more than coincidental. It should be noted that many commentators displayed a less than perfect knowledge of Rameau’s music: the Journal de Paris, 19 June 1791, 683, asserted that all the dances had been lifted wholesale from Rameau, whereas in fact almost none had.


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three instrumental extracts, which one might speculate as having been dictated to Candeille by the Opéra authorities, could be read as an indication of what was held to be the canonical remnants of Rameau’s work: notably, the selection was not queried by any commentator. As the Chronique de Paris noted, Candeille took the trouble to provide this inherited music with a setting more in tune with contemporary expectations.26 He admitted that tastes had changed with unusual rapidity in the preceding 15 years.27 His technique did not amount, as some observers worried it might, to dressing Rameau up in garish new colours, but rather manifested itself in sensitive stylistic tinkering that drew out continuities between the Ramellian and the prevailing Gluckian aesthetics. The notion that Gluck had effected a wholesale operatic revolution was so pervasive in this period, Jean-Claire Vançon has argued, as to cast particular obloquy on music of the pre-reform era; Candeille’s work proposed a corrective to this disjointed view of musical progress.28 In terms of instrumentation, Candeille’s point of departure was not Rameau’s 1754 score, but Gossec’s revision of the 1770s, which had enriched the texture with clarinets and horns. To this, Candeille added more percussion – a gong, cymbals (both used once) and a thunder machine (used three times) – and a serpent, brought in to reinforce the bass line of Rameau’s Act ii march, for example.29 Candeille’s colouration worked with the grain of Rameau’s original: in ‘Tristes apprêts’, for example, he retains the characteristic obbligato bassoon, changing only the detail of its upward-straining fgurations. A more salient reform was his deployment of far more active accompaniments throughout, favouring ostinatos, tremolos or other energetic patterns, built up in horizontal layers. In ‘Brisons tous nos fers’, the sparse voice-doubling of Rameau’s accompaniment is replaced by timpani rolls and thunder, a jerky, athletic violin line, and overlapping chordal textures in the woodwind and brass. The piling-up of orchestral effects was evidence of the greater efforts required to stir audiences by the 1790s: less than 20 years earlier, Rameau’s original had still been described as having a hair-raising impact on spectators.30 A by-product of Candeille’s new accompaniment, as Elena Tonolo has noted, was to emphasise the three-in-a-bar rhythm of the chorus, and therefore to hammer into shape the unsettling hemiolas that might otherwise arise from the metrical patterns of the text, despite employing essentially the same shape and rhythm in his vocal lines as Rameau had.31 For composers of Candeille’s generation, regularity and proportion of

26 Chronique de Paris, 16 June 1791, 666. 27 Candeille, Avertissement, vii; Journal général de France, 24 June 1791, 706. 28 Vançon, Le Temple de la Gloire, ii, 21–62. The notion of wholesale change in taste and repertoire is further explored in William Weber, ‘La Musique Ancienne in the Waning of the Ancien Régime’, Journal of Modern History 56/1 (1984), 58–88. 29 This would therefore have been the frst known use of the gong on the Parisian stage: see David Charlton, ‘New Sounds for Old: Tam-Tam, Tuba Curva, Buccin’, Soundings 3 (1973), 43. 30 Mercure de France, April 1772, 173. 31 Tonolo, ‘Castor et Pollux’ da Rameau a Candeille, 269–71.

Candeille’s Castor et Pollux


melody took precedence over accuracy of word-setting, and he tended to iron out any fexibilities in Rameau’s metre – excising, for example, the couple of bars in ‘Tristes apprêts’ where Rameau had wandered into triple time. The same regularising impulse was displayed in his shaping of the vocal line in which, without doing violence to Rameau’s original, he sought to replace awkward leaps with stepwise motion. In the frst soprano phrase of ‘Que tout gémisse’, Rameau’s contour of an upward third and a downward fourth is fattened into a descending step of a tone. And he annotated Rameau’s melodies with the same dramatic performance indications that he used in the rest of his score, characterised by heavy emphasis and ferce, abrupt dynamics. As a contemporary critic observed, the musicians delivered the music straight, without the ‘antiquated curlicues’ [‘tournures gothiques’] of Baroque tradition, leaving the melodies intentionally bald.32 Rameau, the implication was, could be played like Gluck and would survive the experience. Candeille’s Castor was on a larger scale than Rameau’s. He deployed the chorus 23 times, compared with 18 in the original. And he was reluctant to let a successful effect go for less than it was worth. In the sections borrowed from Rameau, Candeille allowed himself to augment passages or repeat phrases to stretch out the moment: the middle section of ‘Que tout gémisse’, which had been just fve bars long, is extended to 14 and reworked from the solemn, chordal original into an active passage of counterpoint. This augmentation might involve new material: Candeille’s ‘Brisons tous nos fers’ is 12 bars longer than the original because of fresh linking passages for the orchestra; and Rameau’s air ‘très gai’ in Act ii is given a newly composed major-key section. In those parts entirely by Candeille, his tendency towards prolixity was given freer rein. His battle music at the end of Act i (from the call to arms to the end of the act) is 159 bars, compared with 91 in Rameau. Although he incorporated only 25 independent orchestral numbers and dances, compared with 38 in Rameau, the size of each of these is substantial: a gavotte in Act iv, for example, is 172 bars, plus marked repeats. Candeille was constrained neither by the scale nor the structure of Rameau’s opera. In Act i, he took the text of Castor’s ariette ‘Quel bonheur règne dans mon âme!’, moved it earlier in the act (just before Pollux’s announcement ‘Ces apprêts m’étoient destinés’), and made it into a duet for Castor and Télaïre.33 In a borrowing from the 1737 text of Castor, the only signifcant such reversion, Candeille had Act iv end with a theatrically satisfying chorus, ‘Revenez, revenez, sur les rivages sombres’, rather than the fraternal leave-taking of 1754. In his approach to recitative, he displayed the typical late-century impatience with long stretches of dialogue. These would be relieved by selecting phrases for expansion into arias, ensembles or at least passages of arioso: this happens fve times during the frst three scenes of Act i, rarely making room for more

32 Gazette nationale, ou le Moniteur universel, 17 June 1791, 695. 33 This alteration was not refected in the printed libretto of 1791.


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than a dozen bars of straight recitative at a time. As such, Candeille clearly saw recitative serving more as an interlude between signifcant musical numbers than as bearing the burden of the drama, in the classic French tradition. At the most celebrated passage, ‘Règne sur un peuple fdèle’ in Act iv, Candeille resisted what must have been a strong temptation to underline the application with some orchestral outburst or vocal display; indeed, his own setting seems to echo at least the contour of Rameau’s original, but emphasises its signifcance by leading directly into a fraternal duet, rather than remaining marooned in a longer stretch of dialogue. Most striking are those moments when Candeille set his own music into apparent confrontation with that of Rameau. In Act ii, to mark the arrival of Pollux and his victorious troops, Candeille replaced Rameau’s instrumental march with a grandiose chorus, reinforced by gong and cymbal, to a new text, apparently not written by Bernard: Que pour les vrais héros la victoire a de charmes ! Qu’avec plaisir au sein de ses foyers On suspend ses armes, Et l’on dépose ses lauriers !34 [Let the true heroes take pleasure in their victories! Let us with pleasure hang up our weapons in the heart of our home and lay him wreaths!] With its uneasy combination of triumph and mourning, dynastic fealty and popular acclamation, this text had the favour of a pièce de circonstance – a ceremonial favour doubtless underscored by the enriched instrumentation. Festal, processional music was a salient feature of Parisian life at this precise time: the lavish pantheonizations of Mirabeau and Voltaire, for example, took place just before and after Candeille’s premiere. This interpolated text was, then, perhaps intended to resonate with a cultural moment; it was printed in the 1791 libretto but omitted from later editions. Candeille’s musical trick was to use Rameau’s march later in the act, where it is performed twice in the divertissement along with the expanded air ‘très gai’; a reprise of Candeille’s chorus then brings the act to a close. Thus, at the point where audiences might have expected to hear Rameau’s familiar march, they were confronted with Candeille’s highly assertive music. The later appearance of the march served to draw attention back to its own displacement, before Candeille’s chorus returned to complete the structure. A similar strategy was employed in Act iv, with the reworking of Rameau’s gavotte. This piece had enjoyed a peripatetic history, having originated in the prologue to the 1737 score, where it was followed by a vocal version, ‘Renais plus brillante’, before being redeployed in 1754 in the entr’acte after Act iv. By 1764, the popularity of the melody had persuaded Bernard to 34 Castor et Pollux, 15.

Candeille’s Castor et Pollux


write another canevas, ‘Pour toujours ce rivage’, to be sung by a blessed spirit, and it was in this form that the piece was performed into the 1780s. It was this number that, as a journalist noted in 1772, ‘all the songsmiths in the parterre repeated to the echo’35 – a different, more participatory form of reaction than was produced by the grandiloquent emotional displays of ‘Que tout gémisse’ or ‘Tristes apprêts’. This time, Candeille moved the gavotte forward in the act, to accompany the lengthy ballet of the spirits, which he followed with his own vocal setting of ‘Pour toujours ce rivage’, a lilting sicilienne for soprano and choir. Such strategies might be seen as evidence of Candeille seeking to measure himself against Rameau and relegating the older composer to the role of balletic decoration. But taken along with the incremental nature of his revisions more generally, it could be argued that Candeille was motivated constantly by the spirit of accommodation. Inevitably, compromise had to be more on the side of Rameau than of Candeille, but the effect was to nudge together the two notionally disparate styles. Rameau’s music was being grafted into the living tissue of a modern opera, rather than being allowed to wither in isolation.

Musicians, museums and memory Candeille’s intention of presenting Rameau’s music and his own as a continuum was only partly achieved: rather than seizing the work as a whole, reviewers engaged with it selectively, to make points for or against Rameau. A profession of easy familiarity with and fondness for the music of Rameau became a critical commonplace. The Mercure universel began its review with the lofty assertion that ‘everyone’ knew Rameau’s opera, something that, at least in any detailed sense, was far from true by 1791.36 The conservative critic Julien-Louis Geoffroy later wrote that ‘in correcting Rameau, [Candeille] put himself in Rameau’s shade’.37 Geoffroy did not mean to disparage Candeille’s efforts, he insisted, but after so assiduously polishing Rameau’s gems, he was always likely to be outshone by them. In the partisan atmosphere of the theatrical crowd, an avowal of admiration for Rameau’s music was a way of situating oneself as resistant to the urgings of fashion. Geoffroy recalled that one parterre wag, fnding himself next to Candeille during the premiere, amused himself by excessively applauding the sections written by Rameau, crying out ‘what talent this M. Candeille has! That is divine!’38 The critic of the Moniteur, conversely, was intent on depicting such attitudes as reactionary provocation: these latter-day admirers of Rameau,

35 Affches, Annonces, et Avis Divers, 12 February 1772, 28: ‘L’air que tous les Chansonneurs du parterre répétent en écho’. 36 Mercure universel, 15 June 1791, 239. 37 Journal de l’empire, 1 September 1806, 1: ‘Candeille, en corrigeant Rameau, se mit à l’abri de Rameau’. Geoffroy was writing in hostile reaction to the new Castor et Pollux by Winter, who had used Bernard’s libretto but none of Rameau’s music. 38 Ibid., 2: ‘Que ce M. Candeille a de talent ! Cela est divin !’


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he insisted, would be shaken out of their ‘gothic attachment’ if they had to listen to his music three times in a row.39 A more fully worked-out review, unique in taking exception to the form of the project as a whole, was published in the Mercure de France, probably written by Nicolas-Étienne Framery.40 It had taken a revolution, the Mercure began, to free the French from their enslavement to received ideas and their deference to lofty reputations. Music, more than the other arts, should be a refection of the styles and forms of the moment. Why, then, should free Frenchmen be expected to accord a ‘religious esteem’ to superannuated music that was clearly so very dull? The Mercure did not blame the spectators of the past for having applauded Rameau: they knew no better. But modern, free-thinking audiences had no such excuse. The journal conceded that ‘Que tout gémisse’ worked well enough: Rameau could not write a tune, but this was a piece of expressive harmony in which melodic imagination was not required. ‘Tristes apprêts’, however, was condemned as the monotonous style of the bygone Opéra at its worst. Rameau’s vocal numbers, the Mercure argued, made sense only within an outdated literary tradition: considered purely as music, they had almost no expressive qualities at all, since it was only melody, with its liaison with a text, that gave operatic music meaning. His dance numbers, however, drew on physiological forces that were of all times and of all nations, and therefore retained their impact. This was not a genuinely musical effect, since it worked without words or thought, but rather ‘a certain purely physical commotion that electrifes you despite yourself, and independently of all refection’.41 It was for this reason, the Mercure concluded, that Candeille was forced to make considerable changes to the vocal pieces he inherited from Rameau, while retaining the instrumental numbers in a form much closer to the original. This tendency to praise Rameau exclusively as a composer of dance music, widespread towards the end of the century, was a way of sidelining his importance. The Mercure review revisited an old argument with a new sense of purpose and loaded language supplied by the Revolution. This was a period in which questions around the historical narrative of French national culture – already present in the last decades of the ancien régime – took concrete form in the creation or reorganisation of institutions.42 The Louvre museum opened in 1793, and the Conservatoire National des Arts et Métiers in the following year. Schools and colleges were founded and reformed, including the École Polytechnique in 1794, and the Paris Conservatoire de Musique in 1795; in

39 Gazette nationale, ou le Moniteur universel, 17 June 1791, 695. 40 Mercure de France, 25 June 1791, 142–9. 41 Ibid., 146: ‘Une certaine commotion purement physique qui vous électrise malgré vous et indépendamment de toute réfexion’. 42 The pre-Revolutionary roots of the French museum are discussed, with particular reference to the royal collection, in Andrew McClellan, Inventing the Louvre: Art, Politics, and the Origin of the Modern Museum in Eighteenth-Century Paris (Berkeley: University of California Press, 1999), 13–90.

Candeille’s Castor et Pollux


the same year the Institut National was created to replace the learned academies.43 These and the many related projects all necessitated, to varying extents, a re-engagement with the materials of the past for the beneft of the present: the Conservatoire, for example, was founded with the intention of reviving interest in lost masterpieces – not out of scholarship or curiosity, but in order to provide teaching examples to new generations of musicians.44 The spirit that underpinned Candeille’s Castor was paralleled in one of the most distinctive such initiatives. The Musée des Monuments Français, founded in 1791 and opened in 1795, displayed a collection of French statuary and other architectural artefacts from the Middle Ages to the present. It was intended, as Andrew McClellan has argued, to provide a home for objects regarded with lesser veneration by the public, and make the case for artistic worth residing not in transcendent, objective aesthetic assessments but in ‘historical importance and local memory’.45 In contrast to the Louvre, which gathered works of genius from various times and places in order to create a symbol of French cultural confdence, the Musée des Monuments imposed a meaningful historical narrative onto its wealth of fragments: its raison d’être, Alexandra Stara has written, ‘was the physical and semantic decontextualisation of its artefacts.’46 Removed, sometimes violently, from their original settings, these items were held together by the individual vision of the museum’s creator, Alexandre Lenoir: incomplete, personal, contested, this was ‘a vast work of art’.47 After falling out of the repertoire under Napoleon, Candeille’s Castor was revived in December 1814, as one of a number of theatrical events to celebrate the restoration of the monarchy. The opera’s associations with Louis xvi, the new king’s martyred brother, and through Rameau into the golden age of Bourbon self-confdence, made it an appropriate symbol for a restoration based in fraternal

43 There is an extensive literature on these and related reforms. For education in the period in general, see R. R. Palmer, The Improvement of Humanity: Education and the French Revolution (Princeton: Princeton University Press, 1985). On the Conservatoire, see Rebecca Dowd Geoffroy-Schwinden, ‘The Revolution of Jommelli’s objets d’art: Bernard Sarrette’s Requests for the Bibliothèque du Conservatoire’, in Pierre-Yves Beaurepaire, Philippe Bourdin and Charlotta Wolff (eds.), Moving Scenes: The Circulation of Music and Theatre in Europe, 1700–1815 (Oxford: Voltaire Foundation, 2018), 61–76; Cynthia Gessele, ‘The Conservatoire de Musique and National Musical Education in France, 1795–1801’, in Malcolm Boyd (ed.), Music and the French Revolution (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1992), 191–201. The arts and trades conservatoire, more of a museum than a college, is covered in Michel Le Moël (ed.), Le Conservatoire national des arts et métiers au cœur de Paris, 1794–1994 (Paris: Délégation à l’action artistique de la ville de Paris, 1994). 44 Henri Vanhulst, ‘La Musique du passé et la création du Conservatoire de Paris: sa présence dans les premières méthodes’, Revue belge de musicologie 26/7 (1972/73), 50–8. 45 McClellan, Inventing the Louvre, 156. 46 Alexandra Stara, The Museum of French Monuments 1795–1816: ‘Killing Art to Make History’ (Farnham: Ashgate, 2013), 157. 47 Ibid., 117.

196 R. J. Arnold relations and intending to ‘reforge the chain of time’.48 Crowds at the early performances – and especially when the royal family attended in January – waited impatiently for an opportunity to make a royalist application, rising to their feet at ‘Règne sur un peuple fdèle’.49 In a servile account of the royal gala given by the Journal des débats, it was noted that the familiar line ‘tout l’univers demande ton retour’ had been greeted with unprecedented fervour. It had previously been ridiculous, the journal asserted, to imagine ‘the whole universe’ being interested in the return of a petty Spartan monarch; but in the case of Louis xviii, bringer of peace after a truly global war, the application had never been more appropriate.50 The king personally congratulated Candeille, who wept openly.51 The offcial embrace of Castor was no guarantee of public or critical success. While in 1791 reviewers had tried to unpick the older music out of Candeille’s structure, now they often displayed no apparent awareness that the work was a portmanteau of Candeille and Rameau – a composer who, in the opinion of the Journal des débats, was in need of a thorough introduction.52 Now, Candeille’s creation as a whole was treated as a historical relic: Bernard’s libretto was absurd and uninteresting, conferring on the work the tedium of a long concert; the dances and decorations were professional, but insuffcient to hold the attention, and the once-famous infernal hordes were now wholly inappropriate, reminding one critic of the violence and excesses of the politicised theatre of 1794: ‘an era most favourable for works where demons played a role’.53 The music had fallen foul of the decline in Gluck’s reputation over the preceding 15 years. Napoleon had been aware of the propaganda value of Gluck’s best-known operas, but his tastes, and by extension those of prominent sections of the public, were more for Italian works: Gluck’s protagonists were too sombre and tortured to speak for a rejuvenated and triumphant nation, his music too unmelodious and austere.54 Le Nain jaune, a satirical journal to which Louis xviii was a subscriber (and, reputedly, a contributor), mocked the gulf between dutiful impulses and actual boredom with a quip that pointed knowledgeable readers back to the Querelle des Bouffons, 60 years earlier: It is not possible to be bored in a more edifying manner than the public was at Castor et Pollux tonight. One hears only one exclamation. On the 48 The phrase ‘renouer la chaîne des temps’ is from the preamble to Louis xviii’s Charte constitutionelle of 1814. 49 La Quotidienne, 11 January 1815, 3. 50 Journal des débats, 12 January 1815, 1–2. 51 Le Conservateur impartial, 26 January 1815, 39. 52 Journal des débats, 30 December 1814, 1–3. 53 L’Indépendant, 30 December 1814, 3. 54 The emperor made a point of attending Gluck’s operas more often than those of other composers and used a specially rewritten performance of Alceste in 1810 to announce the imminent birth of an heir: Journal de Paris, 2 December 1810, 2385. For Napoleon’s personal preferences, and the effects of that on repertoire and public taste more generally, see David Chaillou, L’Opéra sous Napoléon: la politique sur la scène (Paris: Fayard, 2004), 129–49; James Johnson, Listening in Paris: A Cultural History (Berkeley: University of California Press, 1995), 165–82, 251–82; Jean Mongrédien, French Music from the Enlightenment to Romanticism, 1789–1830, trans. Sylvain Frémaux (Portland: Amadeus, 1996), 55–64, 72–89.

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staircases, in the corridors, in the foyer, and right into the carriages, everyone was yawning and saying: Ah! … Ah! … Ah! … how lovely it is!55 After 19 performances from December 1814 into 1815, including fve during the Hundred Days, Castor was staged only once in 1816, and just once more in 1817, before vanishing entirely. The Musée des Monuments disappeared at the same time, shutting its doors at the end of 1816. Specifc circumstances attended its closure: the restoration of the monarchy had stimulated restitution claims from the families and institutions that had originally owned the museum’s artefacts; although Lenoir’s intention had been to preserve, his project was too closely associated with Revolutionary despoliation to fourish under the Bourbons. More broadly, the museum’s many critics argued that its eclectic curatorial methods failed to respect the aesthetic integrity or original meaning of the objects on display.56 Both the museum and Candeille’s Castor represented an early, arguably clumsy, stage in the impulse to gather together and make sense of the bits and pieces of the old world scattered by their respective revolutions, political and cultural. In musical terms, the prejudice against ‘musique française’, originating before the Revolution and hammered home by a generation of opinion-formers around 1800, was too strong to allow Castor a lasting place in the repertoire, and in general was suffcient to prevent all but a few, primarily religious, works from any attempt at revival.57 Candeille’s work showed the beginnings of a new, post-Gluckian mode of listening to Rameau: a fragmentary appreciation, under which even knowledgeable enthusiasts such as Adolphe Adam and Hector Berlioz were selective in their praise, and the operas were mined for sublime extracts that might be remodelled for concert or domestic performance, while being ignored in their totality.58

55 Le Nain jaune, 6 January 1815, 18: On ne saurait s’ennuyer d’une manière plus édifante que le public ne l’a fait ce soir à la représentation de Castor et Pollux. On n’entendait en sortant qu’une seule exclamation. Sur l’escalier, dans les corridors, au foyer, et jusque dans les voitures, chacun disait en bâillant : Ah ! … Ah ! … Ah ! … que c’est beau. The joke was lifted from a pamphlet by the Baron d’Holbach, Lettre à une dame d’un certain âge sur l’état présent de l’Opéra ([Paris], 1752), 5, which satirised French music-lovers who respected, but could not enjoy, traditional lyric tragedy. 56 On the opposition to the museum, see McClellan, Inventing the Louvre, 194–7; Stara, The Museum, 123–45. The subtitle of Stara’s book (‘Killing Art to Make History’) is a quotation from Antoine-Chrysostome Quatremère de Quincy, the museum’s most consistent critic. 57 This prejudice is explored in Katharine Ellis, Interpreting the Musical Past: Early Music in Nineteenth-Century France (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2005), 16–21. 58 See, for example, the many caveats that surrounded Berlioz’s generally positive assessment of Castor et Pollux in 1842: Hector Berlioz: Critique Musicale 1823–1863, 7 vols (Paris: Société française de musicologie, 1996–2014), v, 225–9.

Part IV

Production, performance, and criticism

12 The impact of human and material contingencies on artistic creation The case of Rameau’s Les Indes galantes1 Laura Naudeix Why did the premiere of Jean-Philippe Rameau’s ballet Les Indes galantes on 23 August 1735 not include ‘Les Sauvages’, an entrée that had to wait more than six months for its frst performance? In attempting to answer this question, the present chapter measures the impact on the creative process of the kind of contingencies inherent in all opera production. By stressing the importance of the context and by taking account of the wide range of people involved in the preparation of a dramatic spectacle, it pays special attention to ways in which that process was affected by fnancial or strategic constraints. In this particular case, as we shall see, the modifcations made to Les Indes galantes after its premiere represent an intelligent response to the conditions within which Rameau and his librettist Louis Fuzelier had to work at the Académie Royale de Musique: the Paris Opéra. At this early stage of his operatic career, the composer remained in a precarious position: his reputation rested solely on the succès de scandale of Hippolyte et Aricie (1733), and his music, perceived specifcally as ‘extraordinary’,2 proved highly controversial. As a result, the Opéra was not yet prepared to grant him unconditional support, but rather to ration it as seemed appropriate. This can help us understand why the interaction between this institution and the artisans and performers involved in the production played such a crucial role in the completion of Les Indes galantes as we now know it.

1 I am most grateful to Rebecca Harris-Warrick, whose advice and support have profoundly infuenced this text. 2 Voltaire, for example, refers to Rameau’s music as extraordinary on several occasions; see letter to Thiériot, 13 October 1735, in Œuvres, ed. M. Beuchot (Paris: F. Didot, Werdet and Lequien fls, 1830, Correspondance, lii, 100; and Le Pour et contre, vii (24 August 1735), 22, quoted in Charles Malherbe, ‘Commentaire bibliographique’, Jean-Philippe Rameau, Œuvres complètes, vii, Les Indes galantes (Paris: A. Durand et fls, 1902), lvi. On the controversy created by Rameau’s operas, see Sylvie Bouissou, Jean-Philippe Rameau (Paris: Fayard, 2014), in particular chapter ix: ‘Le choc esthétique d’Hippolyte et Aricie’, 303–44. See also the chapter by Francesca Pagani (Chapter 1, pp. 11–24).

DOI: 10.4324/9781315554990-17

202 Laura Naudeix

The context: the fragility of success Since the start of the 1730s, the Opéra administration had been in crisis. In particular, it had to deal with protests from its employees, led by the star dancer Louis Dupré,3 and it faced repeated disciplinary problems with singers and dancers.4 Furthermore, the absence of several of the public’s favourite performers, including the dancer Mlle Camargo, who was about to leave the public stage for seven years, generated lampoons and gossip.5 At the same time, the failure of a number of operas led to a crisis of identity within the institution. In the spring of 1735, the diffculty in planning the summer season bears witness to this uncertainty: The Académie Royale de Musique will shortly present a ballet héroïque by MM. Roy and Mouret entitled Les Grâces, which will doubtless compensate the public for the extremely poor operas that have been seen for some time. The ardour of authors has not, however, been cooled by such failures, for six ballets have been submitted to the prince de Carignan for performance there this summer.6 [Of these] the only one still mentioned is Les Grâces. It is not known whether any of the others will get the Opéra directors’ approval, given the fear that a succession of so many new works causes them.7

3 Émile Dacier, Une Danseuse de l’Opéra sous Louis XV, Mlle Sallé (1707–1756) (Paris: Plon, 1909), 97. In 1731 the dancers had protested against a decision to stop the pensions of former dancers. 4 Disciplinary problems posed by star performers were common: the singer Mlle Pélissier was dismissed on 15 February 1734 for having refused to return to her roles (Sylvie Bouissou, Pascal Denécheau and France Marchal-Ninosque (eds), Dictionnaire de l’Opéra de Paris sous l’Ancien Régime (1669–1791) (Paris: Classiques Garnier, 2020), iv, 65); another singer, Mlle Petitpas, creator of the role of Une Bergère in Hippolyte, fed regularly to London without permission to join her lover (Dictionnaire, iv, 130). On 10 March 1735, Mlle Le Maure left the stage during a performance of Monteclair’s Jephté, after which she was imprisoned in For-l’Evêque, which led to her almost defnitive resignation at the height of her career (Dictionnaire, iii, 519). 5 Dictionnaire de l’Opéra de Paris, i, 615. She left Paris in July 1735, after the creation of Campra’s Achille et Déidamie in February. 6 The prince de Carignan was then intendant of the Menus-Plaisirs and inspecteur général at the Académie Royale de Musique; see David Charlton, Opera in the Age of Rousseau: Music, Confrontation, Realism (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2013), 59–60. He was also Rameau’s patron at this time: see Graham Sadler, ‘Patrons and Pasquinades: Rameau in the 1730s’, Journal of the Royal Musical Association 113/2 (1988), 314–37 and Bouissou, Jean-Philippe Rameau, 275–80. 7 Bibliothèque française, ou histoire littéraire de la France (Amsterdam: H. du Sauzet, 1735), xxii, 153: On donnera incessamment sur le Théâtre de l’Académie Royale de Musique, un Ballet Héroïque de MM. Roy, et Mouret, intitulé Les Grâces, qui dédommagera, sans doute, le Public, de bien mauvaises Pièces qu’on a vu paraître depuis quelques temps. L’ardeur des Auteurs ne se refroidit pourtant point par les mauvais succès, car on a présenté au Prince de Carignan six Ballets, pour y être représentés cet été. On ne parle encor que de celui des Grâces. On ne sait s’il y en a quelqu’autre, qui ait pu faire passer les Directeurs sur la crainte où la suite de tant de nouveautés les expose.

Rameau’s Les Indes galantes 203 Yet the truth was more nuanced: Louis Armand Eugène de Thuret, who had assumed the directorship of the Opéra in April 1733, had included revivals of two sure-fre hits during his frst two seasons: the ballet Les Fêtes grecques et romaines (1723) by Louis Fuzelier and François Collin de Blamont, and the tragédie Jephté (1732) by Simon Joseph Pellegrin and Michel Pignolet de Montéclair. In fact, while ballets had gained ground in the previous two decades, the tragédie en musique maintained its aesthetic dominance. Accordingly, two new works in this genre were planned for 1735: Achille et Déidamie and Scanderberg, both by famous librettists (respectively Antoine Danchet and Houdar de La Motte) and established composers (André Campra and François Rebel and François Francœur). The former was nevertheless a complete fop,8 while the latter met with less than the expected success. Nor was Les Grâces,9 the third production that summer, a popular hit, despite being the work of experienced artists. In such an uncertain context, Les Indes galantes, one of the six ballets considered by the Académie Royale de Musique for the quiet summer season, was not viewed with confdence.

A frst version? The Mercure notes that Les Indes went into rehearsal in June, with the frst performance expected at the end of July: ‘At the Opéra a new ballet is being prepared, to be given next month under the title Les Victoires galantes’.10 Nevertheless, the offcial Approbation in the libretto is dated 18 August, while the opera was not premiered until 23 August. At this stage, it comprised a prologue and three entrées, ‘Le Turc généreux’, ‘Les Incas du Pérou’ and ‘Les Fleurs’. Substantial alterations were set in train at the third performance: the libretto was reduced by several lines, the character of Cupid (L’Amour) was removed from the prologue and the order of the frst two entrées reversed.11 That the success of Les Indes was far from assured is made clear by the commissaire Dubuisson: although this work has already been performed four times, its fate cannot yet be decided. […] Of the three operas that [Rameau] has composed, the

8 Benjamin Pintiaux, ‘Achille & Déidamie (1735): Campra “dans l’âge où on radote”?’, Itinéraires d’André Campra (1660–1744), d’Aix à Versailles, de l’Église à l’Opéra, ed. Catherine Cessac (Wavre: Mardaga, Centre de Musique Baroque de Versailles, 2012), 215–26. 9 First staged on 5 May 1735. 10 Mercure, June 1735, 141 (see Malherbe, ‘Commentaire bibliographique’, xlii): ‘On prépare un nouveau Ballet à l’Opéra, pour le donner le mois prochain, sous le titre des Victoires Galantes’. The statutes of the Académie Royale de Musique specify a two-week period for full rehearsals. See Caroline Wood and Graham Sadler, French Baroque Opera: a Reader (revised expanded edn, Abingdon: Routledge, 2017), 10–13. 11 Les Indes galantes (Paris: J.-B.-C. Ballard, 1735): ‘Changements, Faits le dimanche 28 Août’; see also Malherbe, ‘Commentaire bibliographique’, xlv–xlvii.

204 Laura Naudeix frst [Hippolyte et Aricie] almost failed because of the weakness of its libretto, the second [Samson] could not be performed because the censors would not allow it, and the third [Les Indes galantes] may come a cropper because the libretto is wretched.12 At the start of September, after only eight performances, the libretto was subjected to further, more substantial revisions, mostly to ‘Les Fleurs’.13 The original plot of this entrée, having been judged too weak, was completely rewritten, the severity of the revision doubtless accentuated by the fact that this ‘Persian entrée’ now concluded the whole ballet, which had perhaps not been the original intention. Like the other entrées, ‘Les Fleurs’ fulflled its librettist’s plan to diversify the sources from which French opera was derived. While Fuzelier’s most celebrated ballet to date, Les Fêtes grecques et romaines, drew its characters from history, ‘Les Fleurs’ (subtitled ‘fête persane’) returns to the same inspiration as La Reine des Péris, his ‘Persian comedy’ inspired by middle-eastern féerie. But whereas Fuzelier specifes his sources for La Reine14 and, indeed, for the other entrées of Les Indes,15 he does not do so for ‘Les Fleurs’. Voluble and light-hearted, this entrée contrasts with the other two. After the creation of ‘Les Fleurs’, the order of the preceding two entrées remained uncertain, and our hypothesis is that ‘Les Incas’ could have been initially intended as a dramatic and spectacular fnale. At all events, ‘Les Incas’ was considered the most satisfactory from a literary point of view. An anonymous commentator in the Mercure saw it as a response to the ideas introduced in the prologue, which the writer reads as an allegory of the triumph of European diplomacy.16 As Fuzelier asks in the Avertissement to Les Indes galantes, in which he details at length the narrative scheme for this entrée, ‘is an author, occupied with the task of pleasing the Public, wrong to believe that he can sometimes try to entertain without recourse to gods and 12 Letter from Dubuisson to the marquis de Caumont, September 1735, quoted in Malherbe, ibid., lii: quoique cet ouvrage eût déjà eu quatre représentations, on ne devine pas encore quel sera son sort. […] de trois opéras qu’il [Rameau] a faits, le premier [Hippolyte et Aricie] a pensé échouer par la faiblesse du poème, le second [Samson] n’a pu être exécuté parce que la police n’a pas voulu le permettre, et le troisième [Les Indes galantes] va peut-être faire la culbute parce que les paroles sont misérables. 13 Mercure de France, September 1735, 2046. See also père B. D., ‘Réfexions sur l’Opéra des Indes galantes, adressées à M. le Comte P… Staroste de Rohaczewski’, ibid., November 1735, 2370–1. 14 The Avertissement quotes Barthélémy d’Herbelot, Bibliothèque orientale (1697). See also Mercure de France, March 1725, 568–70. 15 The Preface explains that the ‘generous Turk’ was modelled on a real-life hero Topal Osman, mentioned in the Mercure de France of January 1734, while the plot of ‘Les Incas’ was inspired by the works of Garcilasso de la Vega, Antoine de Solis and Augustin de Zarate. On the former, see also Roger Savage’s chapter in this volume (Chapter 6), pp. 94–112, specifcally p. 106. 16 B. D., ‘Réfexions sur l’Opéra des Indes galantes’, 2370.

Rameau’s Les Indes galantes 205 17

magicians?’ This constant preoccupation on Fuzelier’s part, already asserted in his previous works, was also a sign of a more general evolution of supernatural themes in opera18 and the representation of the religious authorities on stage in general.19 Now this is exactly the theme of ‘Les Incas’, in which Carlos, the Western hero, seems to be the librettist’s mouthpiece in demystifying the machinations of Huascar, the Incan priest of the Sun. So the entrée ends, like an inverted Armide, with the spectacle of the volcano engulfng the villain, making use of all the resources of stage machinery and orchestral music to overcome his deceptive power.20 Unfortunately, no account or drawing survives to inform us about the set design for ‘Les Incas’.21 The production was perhaps less brilliant than anticipated. On a purely musical plane, Rameau says that he was ‘so poorly received, so poorly served’ by his performers in the spectacular concluding earthquake, written in what he terms chromatique enharmonique, that he was ‘obliged to change it into ordinary Music’22 – a disappointment later confrmed by Noverre.23 All of which suggests that the Paris Opéra had not invested in ‘Les Incas’ as much as its creators hoped and all the more so as this entrée was now moved to the start of the ballet, a position which presented fewer theatrical challenges: the Académie Royale de Musique usually reserved its best performers and its investments in new decoration for the last act of an opera.

The return of Marie Sallé Fuzelier and Rameau may well have been led to revise their plans because of the return to Paris of one of its greatest star dancers, Marie Sallé, in the summer of 1735. She had resigned from the Académie Royale de Musique at the end of 1732 and had left for London the following year.24 There she had met with dazzling success, before becoming enmeshed in the ferocious competition of the 17 Louis Fuzelier, Les Indes galantes (1735), Avertissement, iii: ‘Un Auteur occupé du soin de plaire au Public a-t-il tort de penser qu’il faut quelquefois essayer de le divertir sans le secours des Dieux et des Enchanteurs’. 18 Jean-Noël Laurenti, Valeurs morales et religieuses sur la scène de l’Académie Royale de Musique (1669–1737) (Genève: Droz, 2002), 348–60. 19 See, for example, Renaud Bret-Vitoz, ‘L’Égypte pharaonique dans la tragédie du xviiie siècle: le renouvellement progressif et contrasté d’un imaginaire’, Littératures 62 (2010), 73–87. 20 Charles Dill, Monstrous Opera, Rameau and the Tragic Tradition (2nd edn, Princeton: Princeton University Press, 2014), reads ‘Les Incas’ as a tragedy; see 3–30. 21 For details of a simple painted canvas, prepared for a later revival and entitled ‘la montaigne des Indes galantes’, see Jérôme de La Gorce, ‘Décors et machines à l’Opéra de Paris au temps de Rameau: inventaire (1748)’, Recherches sur la musique française classique 21 (1983), 153. 22 Jean-Philippe Rameau, Démonstration du principe de l’harmonie, servant de base à tout l’Art musical théorique et pratique (Paris: Durand, Pissot, 1750), 95: ‘si mal reçu, et si mal servi [dans l’exécution du tremblement de terre écrit en Chromatique Enharmonique qu’il lui] fallut le changer en une Musique commune’. 23 Jean-Georges Noverre, Lettres sur la danse (Lyon: Aimé de La Roche, 1760), 155. 24 Dacier, Une Danseuse de l’Opéra, 114.

206 Laura Naudeix London stage.25 She therefore returned to Paris at the beginning of July 1735, albeit without a new contract.26 Although negotiations had already begun, the dancer’s return to the Opéra was not announced until the start of August: Next week a ballet by Rameau will be given which Mlle Sallé will honour with her presence. You know that she has returned: this reconciliation has been transacted with as much diffculty and intrigue as the Treaty of Utrecht. The contact has fnally been signed, and all her wishes have been granted, on account of the dearth of good dancers and the defnitive retirement of Camargo.27 The bitterly disputed negotiation of Sallé’s contract seems to coincide with the postponement of the premiere of Les Indes galantes until the end of August.28 Her return to the company seems to have been connected with the opportunity to perform what would later be termed a ballet fguré – the kind of mimed dance that had become her trademark.29 The ‘Ballet des feurs’ at the end of the third entrée seems tailor-made for such a project. The theme of this divertissement does not impose a precise framework but allows a wide range of virtuosity: the ballet, comprising nine movements, depicts the poetical struggle of fowers tormented by the winds. Fuzelier describes the choreographic deployment in Les Indes as a concession to the audience’s taste: ‘In all these entrées we have not forgotten the preference the public shows at present for “ballets dansants”, in which a reasoned and picturesque programme may be discerned’.30 As this comment reveals, Fuzelier was very attentive to the choreographic quality of the dances, as evidenced by

25 Sarah McCleave, ‘Dancing at the English Opera: Marie Sallé’s Letter to the Duchess of Richmond’, Dance Research: The Journal of the Society for Dance Research 17/1 (Summer, 1999), 22–46. 26 Nouvelles à la main, 2 July 1735, quoted in Dacier, Une Danseuse de l'Opéra, 171. 27 Nouvelles de la cour et de la ville, 11 August 1735, p. 52, quoted by Dacier, ibid., 177–8: L’on va donner la semaine prochaine un ballet de Rameau que Mlle Sallé honorera de sa présence. Vous savez qu’elle s’est rendue : on a traité cette réconciliation avec autant de peine et d’intrigue que la paix d’Utrecht. Les articles ont été enfn signés, et on lui a passé toutes ses prétentions en faveur de la disette de bons sujets et de la retraite absolue de la Camargo. 28 According to Dacier, ibid., 177, Sallé received from Thuret a fxed annual payment of 2,000 livres plus bonuses of at least 500 livres. Mlle Camargo earned 2,200 livres; see Graham Sadler, ‘The Paris Opera Dancers in Rameau’s Day: A Little-known Inventory of 1738’, in Jérôme de La Gorce (ed.), Jean-Philippe Rameau, Colloque international (Paris-Geneva: Champion-Slatkine, 1987), 521–2. 29 Edward Nye, ‘L’Allégorie dans le ballet d’action: Marie Sallé à travers l’écho des parodies’, Revue d'histoire littéraire de la France 108/2 (2008), 289–309. 30 Fuzelier, Les Indes galantes, Avertissement, vi: ‘On n’a pas oublié dans toutes ces Entrées le goût que le Public montre à présent pour les Ballets dansants, où il découvre un Dessein raisonné et Pittoresque’.

Rameau’s Les Indes galantes 207 31

his reviews in the Mercure de France, and especially by the care he gave to the ballets in his own librettos. But for the Opéra management, the promotion of dance was mainly a means of achieving fnancial security, as is suggested by the following conservative opinion: ‘I found the dance charming, but Paris found the opera very ugly, being composed by Rameau in an unpleasing Italian style and by Fuzelier in one better suited to the Fair Theatres’.32 Fuzelier himself seemed to admit that the divertissement in ‘Les Fleurs’ had been ‘adapted’ to ft the context of this entrée,33 about which he says little, in contrast to his long explanation of the subject matter of ‘Le Turc généreux’ and ‘Les Incas’. His choice of the word ‘adapted’ emphasises the somewhat arbitrary connection between the plot and a greatly expanded divertissement. Indeed, he reuses the principle of a theatre within a theatre already used in La Reine des Péris, where the characters were called to attend a small entertainment (III, 4). The perceived weakness of this link was occasionally deplored by commentators: how can this fête compete with the amours of Tacmas or even Ali [the male protagonists]? If we must celebrate the Flower Festival, could it not be graced by a more related and more elevated plot?34 The quality of the ‘Ballet des Fleurs’ was in fact not so much dramatic as choreographic and spectacular. Whereas in La Reine des Péris, the ballet that had offered the famous dancer Françoise Prévost the opportunity to characterize the different forms of universal inconstancy is an allegory useful to the protagonists of the plot, the ‘Ballet des Fleurs’ seems closed in on itself and offers itself only to the delight of the audience present at the Opéra. Furthermore, in addition to Marie Sallé, this entrée entailed the collaboration of a second star at the Opéra, the painter and stage designer Jean-Nicolas Servandoni, recently engaged by this institution.35 The Mercure’s review of the 31 For a discussion of Fuzelier’s roles as editor of and reviewer for the Mercure de France, see the chapter by Thomas Green in this volume (Chapter 16), pp. 264–77. See also Françoise Rubellin, ‘Écrire pour tous les théâtres. Le cas singulier de Louis Fuzelier’, L’Opéra de Paris, la Comédie-Française et l’Opéra-Comique: Approches comparées (1669–2010) (Paris: Publications de l’École nationale des chartes, 2012), 267–79. 32 Letter from Mathieu Marais to président Bouhier, 25 August 1735, F-Pn (Département des manuscrits), ms. fr. 24,414, f. 457, quoted in Dacier, Une Danseuse de l’Opéra, 178: ‘J’ai trouvé la danse charmante, mais Paris a trouvé l’opéra fort laid, composé par Rameau dans un goût italien qui ne plaît point, et par Fuzelier, plus propre au comique de la Foire’. In reality, however, the audience of the Fair Theatres and the Opéra was more or less the same. 33 Fuzelier, Les Indes galantes, Avertissement, vi. 34 B. D., ‘Réfexions sur l’Opéra des Indes galantes’, 2371: ‘par où paroît-il que cette Fête puisse concourir aux amours de Tachmas, ou même d’Aly ? Si l’on avoit à célébrer la fête des feurs ne pouvoit-on pas la décorer d’une Histoire plus connexe et plus relevée’. 35 See Jérôme de La Gorce, ‘Un grand décorateur à l’Opéra au temps de Rameau: JeanNicolas Servandoni’, in Jérôme de La Gorce (ed.), Jean-Philippe Rameau, Colloque international (Paris-Geneva: Champion-Slatkine, 1987), 580–94.


Laura Naudeix

production devotes considerable space to a description of his decor, attributing a large share of the work’s success to the tableau he devised.36 Servandoni’s set, embedded within the scenery for ‘Les Fleurs’,37 had the effect of separating still further the divertissement from the rest of the entrée. Conceived as a fête within a fête, Sallé’s ballet fguré seemed to recall her performances at private entertainments for wealthy individuals in Paris, for which Servandoni had been engaged to provide decor specifcally for her.38 Whether or not Sallé had suggested that the Académie Royale de Musique adopt the practice, this institution nevertheless took advantage of it, by exploiting the complicity between performers and their protectors and by offering opera-goers a glimpse of an elitist entertainment. Nevertheless, transforming the whole stage into a setting for a star dancer must surely have created an imbalance with the rest of the work, and we may consider that, by adding ‘Les Sauvages’ as fnal entrée, Fuzelier and Rameau intended to remedy this perceived defect.

The equilibrium of the ballet and ‘le grand Dupré’ There are indeed several plausible hypotheses concerning the addition of the entrée ‘Les Sauvages’ and the delay until March 1736 in presenting it to the public. Although the librettist cites no source, it is known that the subject matter derives from Rameau’s little harpsichord piece of the same name.39 Yet by evoking the ‘nouvelles Indes’ – North American, this time – the new entrée 36 B. D., ‘Réfexions sur l’Opéra des Indes galantes’, 2368: ‘the precision of Servandoni’s art, which has to a great extent been responsible for the fnancial success of this opera’ [‘la justesse de l’art de Servandoni, qui a fait en bonne partie la petite fortune de cet Opéra’]. 37 The decor ‘représente les Jardins du Palais d’Ali’, scene 8: ‘The Flower Festival. The ferme opens; then the whole theatre represents bowers illuminated and decorated with garlands and pots of fowers’ [‘La Fête des Fleurs. La ferme s’ouvre ; alors tout le Théâtre représente des Berceaux illuminés et décorés de Guirlandes, et de Pots de Fleurs’]. For a defnition of the term ferme in this context, see Rémy-Michel Trotier’s chapter in this volume (Chapter 14), p. 000. 38 Nouvelles à la main, F-Pn (Département des manuscrits), ms. fr. 25,000, 18 December 1732: Mlle Sallé has left. We do not lose all hope of seeing her again, since she has said that she would dance when some prince or princess did her the honour of asking for her […]. She is to dance in a pas de trois which the comte de Clermont will present to the younger Mme la duchesse [de Bourbon], which is postponed until the 27th. [Mlle Sallé a quitté. Nous ne perdons pas tout à fait l’espérance de la revoir, ayant dit qu’elle danserait quand quelque prince ou princesse lui ferait l’honneur de la demander et de la faire avertir. Elle dansera un pas de trois dans la fête que doit donner à Mme la duchesse [de Bourbon] la jeune, M. le comte de Clermont, qui est différée jusqu’au vingt-sept.] She did indeed dance in this entertainment, at the Petit Luxembourg, and received a fee of 2,000 livres. The décor was by Servandoni, as in September 1733, when Sallé performed at the marriage of president Molé and the daughter of the banker Samuel Bernard (Dacier, ibid., 115–17 and Christel Heybrock, Jean Nicolas Servandoni (1695–1766). Eine Untersuchung seiner Pariser Bühnenwerke (Köln: published dissertation of Universität zu Köln, 1970), 27 and 299). 39 Jean-Philippe Rameau, Nouvelles suites de pièces de clavecin (1729 or 1730), 25. See Bouissou, Jean-Philippe Rameau, 180 and 378–9.

Rameau’s Les Indes galantes 209 enhanced the series of scenes from exotic lands.40 The ballet, whose original title Les Victoires galantes may have been modifed only when the decision to add ‘Les Fleurs’ was taken,41 opens with an allegorical prologue devoted to the War of the Polish Succession. But by the autumn of 1735 peace negotiations had been launched, the ‘preliminaries’ being signed on 3 October.42 In such circumstances, the divertissement in honour of peace at the end of ‘Les Sauvages’ chimes with such recent political developments. Still, the addition of this entrée cannot be attributed solely to the Opéra management’s desire to refect current events as closely as possible. From a structural point of view, the fact that the ‘frst version’ of Les Indes galantes culminated with the tumult surrounding Huascar’s defeat at the end of ‘Les Incas’ gave it dramatic and musical coherence. However, the addition of an extensive ballet as a vehicle for Marie Sallé’s dancing shifted the work’s centre of gravity, and spurred Fuzelier and Rameau into using dance as an organising principle, encouraging them to devise a structure founded on the relationship between different aesthetics at the heart of ballet. Les Indes galantes is in fact situated at the meeting point of two dance cultures. Sallé’s narrative ‘Ballet des feurs’, articulated as a ‘danse composée’,43 was quite unlike the danse simple of ‘Les Sauvages’, with its classic succession of non-narrative dances culminating with the famous chaconne. From a thematic as much as from a performance perspective, this entrée provided a far more coherent ending for the work as a whole, not least in creating a clear parallel with the prologue, since the fnal divertissement praises the union of the New World ‘savages’ and their French conquerors. In starting with a dispute on love and in setting archetypal characters in confict that allows little space for a real plot, this entrée is as stylised as a prologue. Further, the ‘Ballet des Nations’ in the prologue appears to be mirrored by the ‘grand ballet’ danced to the chaconne of ‘Les Sauvages’: in the former, the European countries are facing war; in the latter, the conficts are

40 See Nathalie Lecomte, ‘Les Divertissements exotiques dans les opéras de Rameau’, in Jérôme de La Gorce (ed.), Jean-Philippe Rameau, Colloque international (Paris-Geneva: ChampionSlatkine, 1987), 556–7. For internal evidence in the libretto that Fuzelier had borrowed material from Jean-Frédéric Bernard, Cerémonies et coutumes religieuses de tous les peuples du monde (Amsterdam: J.-F. Bernard, 1723) and Louis Armand de Lom d’Arce, Baron de La Hontan, Dialogues curieux entre l’auteur et un sauvage de bons sens (The Hague: Frères l’Honoré, 1703), including the protagonist’s name (Adario), see Roger Savage, ‘Rameau’s American dancers’, Early Music 11 (1983), 441–53. 41 The original title, deleted, still appears on the production score, F-Po, A.132.1. The new title alludes to the hugely successful ballet L’Europe galante (1697) by La Motte and Campra. 42 Mémoires historiques, December 1735, 701. See also Antoine-Augustin Bruzen de La Martinière, Anecdotes ou lettres secrètes sur divers sujets de littérature et de politique, [n.p., n.d.], December 1735, 295. 43 See Louis de Cahusac, La Danse ancienne et moderne, traité historique de la danse (1754), ed. Jean-Noël Laurenti, Nathalie Lecomte and Laura Naudeix (Paris: CND-Desjonquères, 2004), part ii, book iv, chapter ii, ‘Division de la danse théâtrale’, 222–4.

210 Laura Naudeix resolved.44 The new ending of Les Indes thus turns the danse simple into one of the constituents of a harmonious allegory of reconciliation. The ‘grand chaconne’ was for many years associated with the name of Louis Dupré. According to La Dixmerie, the performance of this dance ‘much embarrassed the famous Dupré; Rameau himself was obliged to sketch the outline of how to perform it for him’, an anecdote which, though unverifable, emphasises the complex connections linking composers and performers at the Académie Royale de Musique.45 The addition of a new entrée was not only a means of increasing the amount of dance, much loved by the public, but also of dividing the material between members of the company. To provide a major role for Dupré, the principal dancer in the style noble and the best paid of the whole troupe,46 was a preoccupation within the institution. The hierarchisation of the performers suggests the existence of precedence clauses that were forced on works, a situation that Cahusac deplores when he rages against the entrenched customs associated with ballet: Each Dancer believes himself to be a unique and privileged being. He desires the right to appear solo twice, in whichever opera is being staged. He would consider that he had not danced unless he had his two entrées to himself. He always adapts these to his own way, with no direct or indirect links to the general plan, which he ignores and hardly burdens himself with knowing.47 Indeed, the distribution of Les Indes galantes shows that the enhancement of the style of the soloists was a central preoccupation. Yet it also indicates that the balance between men and women was observed.48 The ‘Ballet des Fleurs’, 44 Rebecca Harris-Warrick, ‘Comment terminer un opéra’, Jean-Philippe Rameau, entre art et science, ed. Sylvie Bouissou, Graham Sadler and Solveig Serre (Paris: École des Chartes, 2016), 87–101; and Damien Gérard Mahiet, The Concert of Nations: Music, Political Thought and Diplomacy in Europe, 1600–1800 (PhD diss., Cornell University, 2011), 124–5. 45 Nicolas Bricaire de la Dixmerie, Les Deux âges du goût et du génie français (The Hague and Paris: Lacombe, 1769), 523: ‘On affrme que la belle Chaconne des Sauvages embarrassa beaucoup le célèbre Dupré  ; il fallut que Rameau, lui-même, lui traçât l’esquisse de son exécution’. 46 In 1738 his remuneration was 3,000 livres per year, as much as that of the maître de ballet Michel Blondy: see Sadler, ‘The Paris Opera Dancers in Rameau’s Day’, 521 and Dictionnaire de l’Opéra de Paris, ii, 401. 47 Cahusac, La Danse ancienne et moderne, part ii, book iv, chapter iii: ‘Obstacles au Progrès de la Danse’, 224, 226: Chacun des Danseurs se croit un être à part et privilégié. Il veut avoir le droit de paraître seul deux fois, dans quelque Opéra qu’on mette au théâtre. Il penserait n’avoir pas dansé, s’il n’avait ses deux Entrées particulières. Il les ajuste toujours à sa mode, et sans aucune relation directe ou indirecte au plan général qu’il ignore, et qu’il ne s’embarrasse guère de connaître. 48 Nathalie Lecomte, ‘Danseuses and danseurs at the Opéra de Paris (1700–25) according to the Cast Lists in the Libretto-programs’, in Susanne Franco and Marina Nordera (eds), Dance Discourses (London and New York: Routledge, 2007), 131–52.

Rameau’s Les Indes galantes 211 though intended for a trio comprising Marie Sallé, her favourite partner David Dumoulin, and René-Claude Javillier, was accompanied by six female dancers. But when ‘Les Sauvages’ was added, with its additional opportunities for Dupré to shine, the ‘Marche pour les Bostangis’ which he and eight men had originally danced immediately before the ‘Ballet des Fleurs’ was cut. Marie Sallé’s ballet was no longer the grand fnale of the work, and henceforth Dupré would be enthroned in majesty at the end of the performance, a place that Sallé was to challenge as soon as she could. But the suppression of the Bostangis can also be linked to Dupré’s situation within the troupe during this same period, and contributes to our investigation into the creation of the ballet.

‘Les Sauvages’ for capitation performances? One last question arises concerning the timetable for the creation of ‘Les Sauvages’. Even though the new entrée would not be performed until 10 March 1736, plans to publish it along with the rest of Les Indes were announced as early as the previous September: the vocal and instrumental Airs of the ballet Les Indes galantes are presently being engraved, arranged as pieces for harpsichord so that they may be sung and played on all kinds of Instruments.49 Entitled ‘Les Indes galantes, Balet [sic] réduit à quatre grands concerts’, this is a transcription of most of the airs from the prologue and frst three entrées but, untypically, excluding the recitative. In all, some 80 pieces are grouped into four ‘concerts’, in an order apparently governed solely by musical principles.50 But Rameau draws attention to the fact that these ‘quatre grands concerts’ are followed by the whole of ‘Les Sauvages’, even though this had not yet been performed.51 Sylvie Bouissou has suggested that the score of the ‘quatre grands concerts’, in being aimed at the widest range of amateur performers, was conceived with a commercial aim.52 But it is possible that by also including the new entrée before it was added to the ballet, the intended effect was that of an advertisement. Still, the exact month and year of publication are unknown, so we cannot estimate the date by which Rameau had fnished the entire work. As early as October, Fuzelier announced in the Mercure that a revival, complete with the new entrée, was scheduled for the winter season: 49 Mercure, September 1735, 2025, quoted in Bouissou, Jean-Philippe Rameau, 532: ‘On avertit qu’on grave actuellement les Airs chantants et dansants du ballet des Indes galantes, en Pièces de Clavecin, en sorte qu’on pourra les chanter et jouer sur toutes sortes d’Instruments’. 50 See Graham Sadler, ‘Rameau’s Harpsichord Transcriptions from Les Indes galantes’, Early Music 7/1 (January 1979), 18–24. 51 Rameau, Les Indes galantes, preface, n.p. 52 Bouissou, Jean-Philippe Rameau (‘L’édition des Indes galantes: un objet polymorphe’), 529–38.


Laura Naudeix Performances of the ballet Les Indes galantes have ceased, in order to present the opera Scanderberg, which has been much applauded, on the 18th of this month. […] We assure you that Les Indes galantes will be resumed this winter, with a fourth new entrée, which will make it a complete spectacle. We will then give with the extrait of this entrée, that of the third new act.53

Yet, as we have noted, the promised revival did not immediately take place. The Opéra director, Thuret, had decided to launch his major project for the winter season, the above-mentioned Scanderberg by Rebel and Francœur, in early October, the traditional period for creating new tragédies.54 The Turkish theme of this work, like that of the frst entrée of Les Indes galantes, was doubtless fashionable because of political events,55 and Houdar de La Motte’s posthumous libretto, completed by La Serre,56 became the pretext for Servandoni’s sumptuous set featuring an Oriental mosque. From 17 November, this opera was revived in alternation with Les Fêtes de Thalie.57 But Scanderberg did not altogether fulfl expectations,58 and in January 1736 it was replaced by a safer asset in the repertory, Fontenelle and Collasse’s Thétis et Pélée (1689), now in its seventh revival. The period of six months that separates the premiere of Les Indes in August from its frst reprise the following March, when it was augmented by the new entrée ‘Les Sauvages’, thus represents an unexplained postponement. We need not attribute this to the Opéra management, which was capable of effecting revisions very rapidly: those to ‘Les Fleurs’ had been carried out in only a few days.59 Indeed, the addition of entrées during the course of a season was commonplace and did not present insurmountable obstacles for the Opéra

53 Mercure, October 1735, 2287: On a cessé les Représentations du Ballet des Indes Galantes, pour donner le 18 de ce mois l’Opéra de Scanderberg, qui a été fort aplaudi. […] On assure qu’on reprendra le Ballet les Indes Galantes cet Hiver, avec une quatrième Entrée nouvelle, qui en fera un Spectacle complet. Nous donnerons alors avec l’Extrait de cette Entrée, celui du troisième Acte nouveau. 54 A ballet was premiered in August and a tragedy in October. See the Règlement of 1713, quoted by Charlton, Opera in the age of Rousseau, 61. 55 A new Russo-Turkish war was then in the offng. 56 Mercure, November 1735, 2487. 57 This was the fourth revival of La Font and Mouret’s ballet, created in 1714. 58 See Laura Naudeix, ‘Scanderberg on the French operatic stage: the Turkish subject as a mediation for fction’, in The Turkish Subject in Ballet and Dance from the Sixteenth Century to the Time of Christoph W. Gluck (1714–1787) (Vienna: Don Juan Archiv, 2019), 179–98. 59 Among other recent examples, Les Fêtes grecques et romaines, revived in June 1733, was augmented by ‘La Fête de Diane’ in February of the following year. Les Romans by Niel and Bonneval, premiered on 23 August 1736, was completed by a fourth entrée exactly one month later.

Rameau’s Les Indes galantes 213 personnel. So perhaps it is actually within the dance troupe that we can fnd an explanation for this delay. In fact, Louis Dupré, the great dancer for whom the fnal chaconne of ‘Les Sauvages’ was to represent such an achievement, seems to have danced very little that winter. We have noted that the third edition of the libretto of Les Indes galantes (printed for 11 September 1735) no longer mentions the entrée of the Bostangis (‘Les Fleurs’) in which he had danced as soloist.60 He seems not to have performed in Scanderberg in October either, nor does his name appear in the January revival of Thétis et Pélée.61 We have no explanation of this absence. Correspondingly, however, we should emphasise the constant presence of Marie Sallé at this time, usually paired with David Dumoulin, including as an American in Thétis,62 and additionally featuring as a soloist in Scanderberg.63 Be that as it may, the presence of Dupré in the creation of the fnal entrée of Les Indes galantes (on 10 March 1736) was a signifcant event, and all the more so, given that the premiere of the now-complete work was given at a performance for the ‘capitation des acteurs’ – i.e., a beneft performance whose takings were shared between the members of the Académie Royale de Musique.64 Naturally, for these events the performers chose the most popular works in the repertoire. Les Indes galantes is, remarkably, a unique example of a production that was created for such an occasion, if we agree that the ballet is completed by the new ‘entrée’. But it was also essential to assemble the most brilliant cast, as Dupré himself had already stressed in 1732 when, at the time of a previous confict with the Opéra management, he claimed to have accepted an engagement merely to satisfy the audience at the capitation.65 We may thus conclude that the anticipation of a tailor-made role for the long-awaited audience’s favourite male dancer had been turned to advantage. Indeed, on the evening of 10 March 1736, Rameau’s ballet was given ‘before a prodigious gathering’.66

60 F-Pn, RES-YF-2191, available on Gallica. See Sylvie Bouissou, Denis Herlin and Pascal Denécheau, Jean-Philippe Rameau. Catalogue thématique des œuvres musicales, ii, Livrets (Paris: CNRS, Bibliothèque nationale de France, 2003), RCT 44, 3. 61 The Dictionnaire de l’Opéra de Paris (ii, 406) gives the name of another ‘Dupré’ in these different performances, as in the prologue of Les Indes galantes, where a ‘Dupré’ is cast alongside Mlle Rabon, a dancer of the second rank (see Sadler, ‘The Paris Opera Dancers in Rameau’s Day’, 522). This was his young brother Jean-Denis Dupré, also a dancer but with a lesser reputation (my thanks to Nathalie Lecomte for this clarifcation). 62 See Dacier, Une Danseuse de l’Opéra, 183–5. 63 Ibid., 182. 64 See Pascal Denécheau and Solveig Serre, ‘Sauts, gambades et monnaie de singe: les représentations pour la capitation du personnel de l’Opéra sous l’Ancien Régime’, Revue de musicologie 97/1 (2011), 35–60. 65 Archives nationales, Y, 11,662, document dated 24 mars 1732, quoted in Émile Campardon, L’Académie Royale de Musique au XVIIIe siècle (Paris: Berger-Levrault, 1884), i, 291–2. 66 Mercure, March 1736, 534: ‘avec un concours prodigieux’. As in the two previous years, the same spectacle was performed before and after the Easter closure, and the new series of performances of the ballet (some 35 in all) began on Tuesday 10 April.

214  Laura Naudeix We will nevertheless see that Dupré still does not steal Marie Sallé’s lime­ light: at the second capitation performance of Les Indes galantes, on 17 March 1736, after which the theatre closed for the Easter break, she danced a solo afterpiece entitled Les Caprices de l’Amour;67 and at a subsequent capitation, on 2 July, for which Rameau’s ballet was revived, the entrée ‘La Provençale’ from Les Fêtes de Thalie was added for Sallé, who had danced it the previous winter.68 * Even though ‘Les Sauvages’ seems not to have been planned when the first version of Les Indes was given in August 1735, as early as October the work was being presented as ‘incomplete’. While the ballet was doubtless conceived as a coherent whole, its coherence was later fundamentally transformed as a result of the participation of other artists – Marie Sallé and Servandoni. It is my hypothesis that the belated addition of ‘Les Sauvages’ was a way of rebalanc­ ing a work that had become unstable. Thus the final structure, in organising spaces for dance as a contrast (between danse simple and danse composée) and as an echo (between the prologue and the final divertissement), gives the work a new identity. Rameau, with the assistance of Fuzelier and taking into account the ability and customs of the Académie Royale de Musique’s dancers, abandoned a dramaturgical scheme akin to that of a tragédie en musique in favour of one more closely based on the language of choreography. And if the incursion of others into the creative process seems initially to have been a hindrance to Rameau and Fuzelier, their attention to the needs of the troupe may explain the long delay of nine months between the start of rehearsals in June 1735 and the first performance of the ‘complete’ ballet in March 1736. At the beginning of his career at the Academie Royale de Musique, Rameau discovered not only the limits but also the resources of this important institu­ tion. If, as in the case of Hippolyte and Aricie, he still endeavoured to publish his music as he had first imagined it, I hope to have shown how much his adap­ tability encouraged him to measure the fruitful nature of his relations with his performers, particularly in the field of dance, so that he could no longer see contingencies as obstacles but as opportunities for creation. Translation: Jenifer Ball and Graham Sadler

67 Ibid., doubtless referring to Jean-Féry Rebel’s Les Caractères de la danse, danced by Sallé in London in 1734; see Émile Dacier, ‘“Les Caractères de la danse”: histoire d’un divertissement pendant la première moitié du xviiie siècle’, Revue musicale 12 (June 1905), 324–34. 68 Mercure, July 1736, 1698, and Malherbe, ‘Commentaire bibliographique’, lix.

13 Staging time and space in Rameau’s tragédies en musique Lois Rosow

In 2012 the Opéra National de Paris staged Rameau’s Hippolyte et Aricie, as envisioned by stage director Ivan Alexandre.1 In many ways his staging evoked the eighteenth century – costumes, gestures, frontal symmetry, dance, painted scenery – and yet it was an eighteenth century seen playfully through a distorted lens. Alexandre’s approach invites us to think about the theatrical traditions he distorts: what did they originally mean, and how has he reinterpreted them? Among these is the musical entr’acte. In the entr’acte that linked Acts i and ii, the principals exited upstage, the sparse framework of a fanciful modern set shifted in a way that evoked side fats and ceiling machinery, and the backdrop changed, revealing the mouth of Hell – all during a full minute of absolute silence. That ironic silence raises a question: in Rameau’s day what purpose was a musical entr’acte expected to perform, and does this tongue-in-cheek interpretation still manage to fulfl that purpose? The discussion that follows will use selected case studies to consider modern interpretations of two structural elements in the tragédie en musique, the entr’acte and the relationship of spectacle to tragic dialogue, from the point of view of eighteenth-century sensibilities as well as our own. It will focus on the representation of time and space.

Entr’actes The logic of time and space in early French opera is well known: acts normally occur in a single setting, except in cases of explicit supernatural intervention, and in real time; entr’actes most often accompany a change of setting and represent the passage of time.2 Changes of scenery on the Baroque stage took only a 1 Jean-Philippe Rameau, Hippolyte et Aricie, Opéra National de Paris, Le Concert d’Astrée, conducted by Emmanuelle Haïm, directed by Ivan Alexandre (Erato, 08256 462291 7 8, 2014). 2 See Blake Stevens, ‘Transpositions of Spectacle and Time: The Entr’acte in the Tragédie en Musique’, Eighteenth-Century Music 11 (2014), 11–29 and Lois Rosow, ‘Making Connections: Some Thoughts on Lully’s Entr’actes’, Early Music 21 (1993), 231–8. The slight temporal distortion implied by certain musical and poetic structures, such as monologues in refrain forms, will not be discussed here.

DOI: 10.4324/9781315554990-18


Lois Rosow

few seconds. Side fats moved quickly in and out of the wings, ceiling clouds could be deployed, and a new backdrop moved smoothly into place. Entr’actes were certainly not silent; they traditionally involved a reprise of a dance piece from earlier in the act (in Rameau’s operas perhaps transposed to suit a new tonal context), but they could also present music composed especially for the purpose. Apart from the scenic transformation, the stage remained empty of people and activity while the entr’acte music was heard. That empty stage, the principal defning feature of an entr’acte,3 was important; it allowed the audience to refect on the act just completed and to imagine implied action offstage. While the musical entr’acte necessarily occupies a fxed amount of real time, according to the length of the dance piece or other passage chosen for this purpose, the imaginary dramatic time it represents is only vaguely defned – just long enough for a battle, a trip to the Underworld, or whatever the plot might suggest. This temporal and spatial organization has two corollaries: on the one hand, the autonomy of the act, framed by ruptures in time and usually space; on the other, the continuity of implied action, connecting adjacent acts in the spectators’ imagination. The original staging artfully managed these contradictory impulses: the open curtain and entr’acte music emphasized continuity; the empty stage and shifting scenery marked dramatic rupture. Some contemporary productions simply modernize the progression from one act to another: a curtain closes (or the stage goes dark), and the entr’acte music is omitted.4 Cahusac makes clear what is lost in such productions, at least from an eighteenth-century point of view: the entr’acte’s ‘continuity of spectacle is favourable to illusion, and without illusion there is no further charm in musical theatre’.5 Yet this modern choice has some eighteenth-century support: Marmontel advocated closing a curtain between acts, thus (paradoxically) preserving illusion by suspending it until the next act began.6 He seems to 3 Dictionnaire de l’Académie française (1694), s.v. ‘Acte’, in Dictionnaires d’autrefois, University of Chicago: The ARTFL Project [accessed 25 September 2019]. 4 See, for instance, Jean-Philippe Rameau, Les Boréades, Opéra National de Paris, Les Arts Florissants, conducted by William Christie, directed by Robert Carsen (Opus Arte, OA 0899 D, 2004), with the exception of the ‘Suite des Vents’ between Acts iii and iv, which is played and danced; and Rameau, Hippolyte et Aricie, Orchestra of the Age of Enlightenment and Glyndebourne Chorus, conducted by William Christie, directed by Jonathan Kent (Opus Arte, OA 1143 D, 2014). 5 Louis de Cahusac, ‘Entr’acte’, in Denis Diderot and Jean le Rond d’Alembert (eds), Encyclopédie, ou dictionnaire raisonné des sciences, des arts et des métiers, etc. (Paris: Briasson, 1751–80); in University of Chicago: ARTFL Encyclopédie Project, ed. Robert Morrissey, spring 2013 edition

[accessed 25 September 2019]. On the capacity of theatrical illusion to draw the viewer into the world of the play, see Marian Hobson, The Object of Art: The Theory of Illusion in Eighteenth-Century France (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1982), 144. 6 Jean-François Marmontel, Œuvres complettes (Paris: Née de La Rochelle, 1787), vii: Elémens de littérature, 220–1 [accessed 25 September 2019].

Rameau’s tragédies en musique  217 have been thinking mainly of spoken plays. Still, maintenance activities during entr’actes – tending candles and the like – undoubtedly strained illusion at the Opéra just as much as at the Comédie-Française. Three productions of operas by Lully will exemplify another common manner of performing entr’actes, one involving a hybrid of Baroque and modern practice: closing a curtain, eventually reopening it to reveal new scenery, but also playing the entr’acte music. In Opera Atelier’s production of Lully’s Persée,7 greatly abbreviated entr’acte music begins instantly at the end of each act; the curtain starts its descent during that music, prompting audience applause; and once the curtain is down, the music ends at the first convenient cadence in the home key. After a brief pause for a set change, the curtain rises and the next act begins. In this production, then, the entr’acte music functions not as connective tissue but as cadential punctuation. In the production of Lully’s Cadmus et Hermione by Le Poème Harmonique,8 several entr’acte pieces are omitted, but the one connecting Acts i and ii is present. Immediately after the final vocal cadence in Act i, the entr’acte piece – a reprise of the chaconne – begins. During the first ten seconds of music, the characters exit, a pair of side flats evocative of Baroque scenery shift toward the wings, and the curtain descends. It is tempting to think that the audience (recorded on the video) resisted bursting into applause because they recognized the chaconne and anticipated its length. Whatever the case, as this hypnotic, reiterative music unfolds, the audience has three full minutes to listen and reflect. As the chaconne draws to a close, the curtain rises, revealing new scenery; it reaches its fully open position precisely at the cadence. The orchestra immediately launches into the entrance music for the first scene of Act ii. Despite the closed curtain, then, this entr’acte preserves the spirit of the genre. There is considerable variety among the entr’actes in the production of L­ ully’s Armide by Les Arts Florissants.9 For present purposes we might focus on the connection between Acts i and ii. Since the opening scene of Act ii begins with a conversation in progress and thus lacks an entrance prelude, Lully evidently meant for Renaud and his fellow knight to make their entrance to the echoes of entr’acte music associated with their enemy, Armide. In this production, after the rousing chorus of vengeance that ends Act i, the stage goes dark, prompting audience applause. The orchestra waits for the applause to die down before beginning the entr’acte piece – not the one indicated in Lully’s score, a reprise of the entrance march for the civic ceremony in Act i, scene 3, but instead a foreshadowing of the entrance prelude for Armide and Hidraot in ii, 2. The substitution means that a lively march celebrating Armide’s power to seduce 7 Jean-Baptiste Lully, Persée, Opera Atelier, Tafelmusik Baroque Orchestra, conducted by Hervé Niquet, directed by Marshall Pynkoski (EuroArts, 2054178, 2005). The divertissement at the end of Act iv is staged here as though it begins Act v. 8 Jean-Baptiste Lully, Cadmus et Hermione, Le Poème Harmonique, conducted by Vincent Dumestre, directed by Benjamin Lazar (Alpha, 701, 2008). 9 Jean-Baptiste Lully, Armide, Les Arts Florissants, conducted by William Christie, directed by Robert Carsen (Fra Musica, Fra 005, 2011).

218  Lois Rosow is replaced by an exalted march celebrating her power to avenge. The entr’acte piece having reached its final cadence, the harpsichord immediately makes ­Lully’s conventional modulatory gesture, a brief stepwise descent in the bass, during which the two knights enter, and straightaway the recitative begins. Only after they have begun singing is the partially back-lit scrim (or gauze) in front of them raised, revealing them in full light. Here the directors have made a calculated decision to emphasize rupture at the end of Act i and continuity at the beginning of Act ii, yet the entr’acte music perfectly sustains the mood established by the actions just completed. So what about the silent exit and entr’acte in Alexandre’s Hippolyte et Aricie, mentioned above? An eighteenth-century audience certainly expected all stage movement to be accompanied by music; the silent march upstage by Phèdre and Œnone belongs to our world, not theirs. As for the entr’acte as a genre, Jean-Jacques Rousseau wrote, although the stage may be empty, the heart of the spectators is not; a strong impression of that which they have seen and heard must remain with them. It is for the orchestra to nourish and sustain this impression during the entr’acte.10 Rameau’s choice for this particular entr’acte was a reprise of the lively second air, danced earlier by the priestesses of Diane – perhaps an unsettling change of mood for an audience that has just heard Phèdre, abetted by her confidant, make plans to seduce her stepson. Here the directors substitute the modern irony of silence for Rameau’s ironic reference to the temple of chastity where Phèdre has attempted to cloister her rival for her stepson’s affections. For a modern audience, the spirit of an entr’acte comes through: we experience the briefly empty stage that signals the act change, and also (oddly enough) the continuity inherent in the style: as Phèdre and her confidant receded upstage, the audience captured on the video evidently felt no invitation to close things off with applause. The silence is broken only by the ritournelle for the Fury who opens Act ii, in front of the mouth of Hell. In this style of opera, a close relative of the entr’acte is the reprise of the overture after the traditional allegorical prologue. The reprise has a dual effect: on the one hand, it serves as entr’acte, looking forward to the unfolding of the opera; on the other, it serves as a framing device, enclosing the prologue and setting it apart from the action to come. Rameau’s Zoroastre (1749) was the first French opera to dispense with a prologue altogether. Instead, the librettist, Louis de Cahusac, provided an explicit Masonic program for the overture: The overture serves as prologue. The first part is a strong and poignant picture of Abramane’s barbaric power, and the groans of the people he 10 Jean-Jacques Rousseau, Dictionnaire de musique (Paris, 1768), quoted and translated in Caroline Wood and Graham Sadler, French Baroque Opera: A Reader (Aldershot: Ashgate, 2000), 54; expanded 2nd edn (Abingdon: Routledge, 2017), 68.

Rameau’s tragédies en musique  219 oppresses. A sweet calm follows; hope is renewed. The second part is a lively and joyful image of the beneficial power of Zoroastre, and of the happiness of those he has delivered from oppression.11 Here a stormy section in D minor ends on a sweetly expressive half-cadence, divisi flutes arpeggiating a dominant seventh that rises slowly to a high G. This is followed by a brief minuet interlude and lively concluding section, both in D major. The overture returns as entr’acte after Act i. In this opera Act i is dominated by the forces of darkness and Act ii by the forces of light. The overture mirrors that contrast, first at the beginning of the opera and again between the first two acts. The production of Zoroastre directed by Pierre Audi, using the revised v­ ersion of 1756, took place in the Drottningholm Theatre in Stockholm, a ­perfectly preserved eighteenth-century theatre.12 Audi choreographed pantomime for the overture (a practice that audiences for mainstream opera have come to ­expect, though it deprives them of the imaginative listening experience touted by eighteenth-century aestheticians),13 but he limited that pantomime to the first section, representing the villain Abramane’s barbarity. In the first hearing of the overture, Audi presents the D minor section as a confrontation between Zoroastre and Abramane; in the second hearing Zoroastre observes his enemies with concern, and then curls up in an attitude of repose as the flutes make the expressive half-cadence. In both cases the curtain then closes for the D major portion, representing Zoroastre’s beneficial power. (In 1756 that portion was slightly abbreviated on the second hearing by the omission of the minuet interlude.) As the reprise of the overture ends, the curtain rises. We find Zoroastre curled up, exactly where we left him, ready to begin Act ii. The initial musical gesture, the beginning of a ritournelle, also echoes the earlier passage: once again expressive triadic harmony in the flutes rises to a high G, though this time the chord is the tonic in G major. In this production that ritournelle accompanies the transformation of the stage from obscurity to light; by peering into the obscurity, one sees the Drottningholm Theatre’s side flats shift. In addition to

11 Louis de Cahusac, Zoroastre, tragédie representée par l’Académie Royale de Musique, pour la première fois, le vendredy cinq décembre 1749 ([Paris]: aux dépens de l’Académie, 1749), 6 [accessed 25 September 2019]. Regarding the Masonic symbolism, see Jean-Philippe Rameau, Zoroastre, version 1749, ed. Graham Sadler, Opera Omnia Rameau, IV.19 (Paris: Billaudot, 1999), liv–lvi. 12 Jean-Philippe Rameau, Zoroastre, Les Talens Lyriques, The Drottningholm Theatre ­Orchestra and Chorus, conducted by Christophe Rousset, directed by Pierre Audi (Opus Arte, OA 0973 D, 2007). For the score, see F-Pn, MS VM2-376, 1–9, 39–41 [accessed 25 September 2019]. 13 Rousseau, for instance, declared that the music of an effective overture ‘prepares the hearts of the spectators so that they effortlessly open up to the desired concerns right from the start of the play’. Jean-Jacques Rousseau, Dictionnaire de musique (Paris: la veuve Duchesne, 1768), 358. [accessed 12 September 2020].

220  Lois Rosow giving his modern audience the familiarity of a pantomimed overture and, with the closed curtain, the visual signal of a structural demarcation between acts, Audi uses the silent figure of Zoroastre as a connecting link to Act ii; at the same time, the formal parallels between the two hearings – stage action during the opening section, a closed curtain for the remainder – supports the role of the overture as a frame enclosing the first act. In short, Audi’s interpretation ingeniously preserves the dual function of the reprise. Two years after that production, Audi staged a different Rameau opera, under quite different theatrical circumstances. The scenery for his Castor et Pollux (1754 version) consists of abstract geometrical patterns, which shift in shape and colour at strategic moments.14 To facilitate this, a scrim occasionally ­descends, but by echoing the pattern on the backdrop, the scrim is subtle in its effect, avoiding the visual closure of a contrasting curtain. For the entr’acte connecting Acts i and ii – bridging the death of Castor in battle at the end of one act and the resulting funerary scene at the start of the next – Audi moves through the plot at a hectic pace, obscuring the act structure in the process. Here a single sparse geometric set unites Acts i and ii; nothing visual indicates a shift from a palace interior to a sepulchre, where Act ii begins with the chorus of bereaved Spartans, ‘Que tout gémisse’, followed by Télaïre’s celebrated air ‘Tristes apprêts’. Nor does Rameau’s tonal plan offer a clear indication of the start of Act ii: it moves from C minor at the end of Act i, by way of various related keys for the entr’acte and chorus, to ‘Tristes apprêts’ in E flat major. Moreover, Rameau’s entr’acte music here is unusual: a brilliant passage of newly composed battle music, explicitly evoking the ongoing conflict, instead of a reprise of a dance piece. Still, the librettist represented the flow of time in the traditional manner, with two temporally and spatially separated events, to be marked by an empty stage. That ‘ongoing conflict’ was meant to take place only in the spectators’ imaginations. For those of us knowledgeable about the style, simply leaving the stage empty during the entr’acte would have signalled the end of one act and the beginning of the next. Yet here the entr’acte accompanies stage action: the transportation of Castor’s body. This creates an unsettling compression of time as well as space: formal mourning (in the chorus ‘Que tout gémisse’) follows without a break the retrieval of the body from the battlefield. Thus, without changing the notes in the score or the words in the poetry, Audi, as ‘auteur’, organizes visual images to create an altogether different ­structure from that supplied by librettist and composer. In his version a messenger interrupting the Act i divertissement to announce an enemy attack starts a non-stop chain of events that encompasses the entr’acte. Those events 14 Jean-Philippe Rameau, Castor et Pollux, Les Talens Lyriques, Chorus of De Nederlandse Opera, conducted by Christophe Rousset, directed by Pierre Audi (Opus Arte, OA 0999 D, 2008). An exemplar of the engraved score – Rameau, Castor et Pollux … refondu, et remis au theatre au mois de décembre 1754 (Paris: author, n.d.) – is available at ark:/12148/bpt6k3980122 [accessed 12 September 2020].

Rameau’s tragédies en musique  221 culminate in ‘Tristes apprêts’, which is marked not only by tonal stability but by a reintroduction of coloured lighting, absent since the interrupted divertissement. The transition from Act iii to Act iv in this production, while quite ­different from that intended by Rameau, does communicate a change of act. Here the entr’acte represents Pollux’s departure from Jupiter’s realm and ­descent into the Underworld to rescue his dead brother by taking his place. The composer intended a reprise of the two Act iii gavottes for this purpose. The danced gavottes had just been heard a moment earlier; only four lines of recitative separate them from the entr’acte. Bringing back this symmetrical paired-dance structure would make for slower action here than Audi apparently wanted, so it is perhaps understandable that he and musical ­director Christophe Rousset chose to eliminate this entr’acte music altogether, i­nstead allowing the ritournelle introducing the opening air in Act iv to serve as ­entr’acte as well as entrance music. Visually this passage is stunning: as the geometric patterns shift, the sumptuous purples and golds of Jupiter’s celestial realm give way to monochrome greys reflecting the Underworld. Much happens during that ritournelle: Pollux begins his exit and the dancers leave the stage; the transformation of shapes and colours takes place; and Phébé makes her entrance, immediately launching into her air (‘Esprits, soutiens de mon pouvoir’). Her entrance prevents Pollux from completing his exit; now in front of the mouth of Hell, he listens to her invocation of the spirits. The rules of classical French dramaturgy required that different characters populate the final scene of one act and the first scene of the next,15 and according to the libretto and score, Pollux re-enters only after Phébé completes her invocation, first alone and then with the chorus of Spartans. Here he is on stage throughout; nevertheless, though his journey is compressed, we understand it to have taken place. The Audi-Rousset version clearly projects the act change while maintaining continuity; yet what might Rameau have had in mind in choosing the pair of gavottes as entr’acte? The Act iii divertissement is a seduction: the followers of the goddess Hébé, at Jupiter’s request, entice Pollux with celestial pleasures, especially the pleasure of love. According to the libretto, they enchain him in garlands of flowers as they attempt to stop him from leaving; in frustration, he rips off the garlands and heads for the Underworld despite them. A moment later, in the entr’acte, the celestial troupe’s enticements r­ esounded in the reprise of the gavotte music, now performed to an empty stage. The eighteenth-century audience heard an echo of the troupe’s blandishments as they imagined Pollux journeying to Hades to rescue his beloved brother. For Rameau’s audience it must have been a powerful entr’acte indeed. Yet for a different audience, at a different time, Rousset and Audi made one equally powerful. 15 See Jacques Schérer, La Dramaturgie classique en France (Paris: Nizet, [1950]), 211–13.

222  Lois Rosow

‘Theatre’ and ‘Spectacle’ In Opera Atelier’s production of Lully’s Armide,16 directed by Marshall Pynkoski, several acts begin in front of a scrim, front-lit to appear opaque: characters engage in recitative dialogue on the unadorned apron of the stage, and then the scrim is raised, revealing an opulent set for the ensuing scenic spectacle. This directorial choice makes for good theatre, but it creates an impression of duality that is not borne out by the libretto, which gives a single setting for each act. In a style of opera that required each act to be unified in setting (except in cases of an explicit supernatural transformation), we might consider the dramaturgical implications of introducing new scenery during an act. Librettists and stage designers in Rameau’s time, at least, were certainly willing to expand the scenery in the course of an act. The third entrée of Rameau’s ballet héroïque Les Indes galantes, for instance, takes place in a Persian garden and culminates in a festival of flowers: ‘The shutters open [la ferme s’ouvre], and then the entire upstage area represents bowers, decorated with garlands of flowers and crystal chandeliers’.17 Theatrical shutters were a pair of flats that came together to make a secondary backdrop, just upstage of the wings.18 It should be noted that this expansion of the Persian garden introduces a change of effect, not a change of setting. Similarly, Act ii of Hippolyte et Aricie begins at the mouth of Hell, where the Fury Tisiphone detains Thésée. At the end of the first scene, the libretto for the 1742 Paris revival specifies, ‘The back of the stage opens [le fond du théâtre s’ouvre]: Pluton is seen there, on his throne; the three Fates are at his feet’.19 Whereas the shutters opened for a divertissement in Les Indes galantes, here they open for recitative dialogue between Thésée and Pluton. Still, there is a better analogy for Pynkoski’s use of the scrim in Armide. The starting point for understanding it is in the spoken theatre. By the late s­ eventeenth century, French spoken tragedy, unlike opera, was held to strict unity of place; there were no scenic transformations during the entr’actes, only an empty stage and music provided by a small ensemble of strings. The typical setting for a spoken tragedy was a palace courtyard – a central location where every encounter and every soliloquy could take place. Twentieth-century directors generally understood the theatrical palace courtyard to be a visually neutral space, where

16 Premiere in Toronto, 2005; revivals in 2011–12 and 2015, in Toronto, Glimmerglass, and Versailles. 17 Mercure de France (September 1735), 2044 [accessed 25 September 2019]. For an eighteenth-century theory of visual effects in opera as a ‘text’ that serves the music (and is in turn enlivened by it), see Marc-­ Antoine Laugier, Sentiment d’un harmoniphile sur différents ouvrages de musique (Amsterdam, 1756; reprint, Geneva: Minkoff, 1972), 54–5. 18 For further discussion of this and other staging techniques, see the chapter by Rémy-Michel Trotier in this volume (Chapter 14), pp. 228–42. 19 Simon-Joseph Pellegrin, Hippolyte et Aricie […] remise au théâtre le mardi 11 septembre 1742 (Paris: Ballard, 1742), 16 [accessed 25 September 2019].

Rameau’s tragédies en musique  223 purely psychological drama could unfold without reference to locale.20 That was the approach taken by Jean-Marie Villégier in 1991, when he staged Jean Racine’s tragedy Phèdre at the Théâtre d’Evreux: an unadorned wall broken only by a classical arch served as the set for the entire play. Villégier’s interpretation of Phèdre was on the boards at theatres throughout France from 1991 to 1993.21 In 1996–97 Villégier offered a staging of Rameau’s Hippolyte et Aricie that became an instant classic.22 He was particularly struck by the opera’s duality of modes of expression: tragic monologues and dialogues evocative of those in Phèdre (the principal source for the libretto), in alternation with the opulent ballet scenes of the operatic stage. The latter, he felt, dominated the opera: Music [i.e., musical spectacle] is sovereign here … Let us show it exercising its tyranny, summoning the main characters when it pleases, sending them away without fuss on a whim, in preference for this or that impression: sacred, tempestuous, maritime, hunting, sylvan or pastoral.23 Villégier costumed the tragic characters in black, and placed most of their scenes downstage in front of a wall, where the focal point was a classical arch modelled on the one he had used for Phèdre. For the divertissements and ­supernatural scenes, he raised the wall to reveal the full stage, with painted backdrop, machines for the gods, and colourful costumes. The wall was usually backed by another flat, giving the archway the appearance of the entry to a hallway. That additional flat could be raised separately, allowing the audience a glimpse into the larger décor, which would then be fully revealed when the main wall went up. This apparatus allowed for a range of staging possibilities, but the principal characters usually entered from the wings close to the proscenium before positioning themselves under or near the arch; and the dancers generally entered 20 Notes made by a contemporaneous stage manager reveal that the playwright Jean ­Racine actually cared about the details of his palaces. Phèdre, for example, was meant for ‘un palais vouté’: an indoor courtyard covered by a vaulted ceiling, where the principal figure could hide her shame in the shadows. See Roger Herzel, ‘Racine, Laurent, and the Palais à V ­ olonté’, PMLA 108 (1993), 1064–82. 21 A calendar of performances and photographs of the scenery may be found at [accessed 25 September 2019]. 22 A co-production of theatres in Paris, Nice, Caën, Montpellier and Brooklyn, in collaboration with Les Arts Florissants, conducted by William Christie. Full credits may be found at [accessed 25 September 2019]. No video was commercially produced. I wish to thank the Brooklyn Academy of Music for permitting me to consult the VHS tapes of the Brooklyn performance given on 10 May, 1997: New York Public Library, Brooklyn Academy of Music Collection, LVH 1032 [Video]. 23 ‘La musique est ici souveraine […]. Montrons-la dans l’exercice de sa tyrannie, imposant au drame le rhythme de son montage, convoquant les personnages quand il lui plaît, les ­congédiant sans façons pour leur préférer, suivant son caprice, telle ou telle impression sacrée, orageuse, marine, cynégétique, sylvestre ou pastorale’. Jean-Marie Villégier, ‘Hippolyte et Aricie: Musicien dans un paysage de ruines’, a pdf file that may be downloaded from [accessed 25 September 2019].

224  Lois Rosow from the same wings and then passed through the arch to the larger stage area before the wall was raised out of the way.24 Villégier’s intertextual statement in Hippolyte et Aricie was explicit and clever. Recently reminiscing, the director focused again on the opera’s profusion of ‘picturesque populations’ – priestesses, sailors, hunters, inhabitants of the forest – and especially on their ‘autonomy’: Caring little for tragedy, they calmly give themselves over to their favourite activities, rituals and games that from time to time interrupt the chosen excerpts from an ancient fable. […] Hippolyte et Aricie follows the principle of Neapolitan ice cream. Two temporalities touch without mixing: the temporality of the divertissement, the temporality of the drama; the collective temporality, that of happy people who have no history, the temporality of suffering heroes. About his own production he concludes, ‘It was deconstructing a work whose elements ask only to be divorced’.25 Villégier’s approach to this opera calls to mind a remark by Catherine Kintzler. Using the word ‘theatre’ to refer to the poetic system associated with the spoken stage, in particular French classical tragedy, she makes a distinction between ‘theatre’ and ‘spectacle’, each with its own priorities and poetics. Theatre, she says, is ‘an aesthetic of events, which works in the empty spaces and exploits absence’ – a reference not only to events that occur off-stage but also to the moral ambiguity in what is left unsaid – whereas spectacle is ‘an aesthetic of demonstration, engaged with presence and abundance’.26 In opera she finds a tension between these two aesthetics. Operatic spectacle, of course, does exploit absence, as we have seen in the discussion of entr’actes.27 More to the point here, I find the areas where ‘theatre’ 24 While the troupe in this genre includes the chorus as well as the dancers, Villégier did not emphasize the entrance of the choral singers. They were simply in place on stage as the wall went up. 25 Jean-Marie Villégier and Mathias Auclair, ‘Hippolyte et Aricie ou la tragédie démembrée’, in Mathias Auclair and Elizabeth Giuliani (eds), Rameau et la scène (Bibliothèque nationale de France/Opéra national de Paris, 2014), 76–81 (78–9): Peu soucieuses de tragédie, elles s’adonnent paisiblement à leurs occupations favorites, rites et jeux qui interrompent de temps à autre les morceaux choisis d’une antique fable. […] Hippolyte et Aricie obéit au principe de la tranche napolitaine. Deux temporalités s’y côtoient sans se mélanger  : temporalité du divertissement, temporalité du drame ; temporalité collective, celle des peuples heureux qui n’ont pas d’histoire, temporalité des héros souffrants. ‘C’était déconstruire un ouvrage dont les éléments ne demandent qu’à divorcer’. 26 Catherine Kintzler, Théâtre et opéra à l’âge classique: une familière étrangeté (Paris: Fayard, 2004), 147: ‘une esthétique de l’événement qui travaille dans les vides et se sert de l’absence, et une esthétique de la monstration qui s’attache à la présence et à la plenitude’. See also Buford Norman, ‘Remaking a Cultural Icon: Phèdre and the Operatic Stage’, Cambridge Opera Journal 10 (1998), 225–45. 27 See Stevens, especially 13–15 and 20–6. See also his companion piece: Blake Stevens, ‘The Production of Space in the Tragédie en musique: “Absence Effects” in Lully and Quinault’s Atys’, Music & Letters 96 (2015), 509–33.

Rameau’s tragédies en musique  225 and ‘spectacle’ are forced to interact to be as interesting as their separation.28 In his commentaries Villégier focuses only on the picturesque divertissements, but as Table 13.1 shows, he actually used the open stage a good deal more than that. For tragic dialogue involving choral interjections, the supernatural, or both, a ‘theatrical’ encounter takes place in the ‘spectacular’ world. For instance, Table 13.1  Villégier’s staging of Hippolyte et Aricie In front of arch On full stage


Prologue, all

Forest: Jupiter settles dispute between Diane and Amour. Temple of Diane: Aricie and Hippolyte express anguish over the royal order that she take a vow of chastity. Act i, scenes Priestesses dance and sing in Diane’s honour; Phèdre threatens 3–5 Aricie and Hippolyte; Diane descends and protects them. Act i, scenes Phèdre rages,b learns that Thésée has gone to the Underworld, 6–8 and discusses with Œnone her illicit love for Hippolyte. Act ii, all Underworld: Thésée, seeking the return of his friend, negotiates unsuccessfully with Pluton; he is menaced by infernal divinities, protected by Mercure, and warned by the Fates that he will find Hell at home. Act iii, scenes Thésée’s palace: a series of fateful misunderstandings occurs 1–6 involving Phèdre, Hippolyte and Thésée, who (abetted by Œnone) falsely believes his son was attacking his wife. Act iii, scene Sailors celebrate Thésée’s safe return; Thésée, alone, invokes 7–8 Neptune, asking that Hippolyte be punished.c Act iv, scenes Grove near shore: Hippolyte and Aricie agree to go into exile 1–2 together. Act iv, scenes A hunting party celebrates; a sea-monster appears, and 3–4 Hippolyte dies killing it; Phèdre confesses her guilt as hunters lament. Act v, scenes Same setting: Thésée laments; Neptune reveals that Hippolyte 1–2 lives but that Thésée will never see him again. Act v, scenes Garden in Forest of Aricia: Diane presides over the reunion of 3–7 Aricie and the revived Hippolyte; forest dwellers celebrate. Act i, scenes 1–2

a For a detailed summary, see Graham Sadler, ‘Hippolyte et Aricie’, in The New Grove Dictionary of Opera, ed. Stanley Sadie, 4 vols (London: Macmillan, 1992), ii, 724–6. For score and libretto, see Jean-Philippe Rameau, Hippolyte et Aricie, version 1733, ed. Sylvie Bouissou, Opera Omnia Rameau, iv.1 (Paris: Billaudot, 2002). b Act i, scene 6 is transitional: Phèdre is on the apron of the stage in front of a closed curtain; the wall and arch will reappear for scenes 7–8. c During the first run in 1733, the divertissement was moved to the end of the act, against the composer’s wishes. Villégier gives the original version: the troupe exits, leaving Thésée to invoke Neptune in the vacated space of the celebration. 28 As Villégier points out, Lully’s collective populations are more likely than Rameau’s to participate directly in the principal action; still, the ‘rituals and games’ in Hippolyte are meant to be observed by the principals, and Villégier is forthright about showing this. Thus, for instance, Hippolyte and Aricie, in their black garb, are front and centre for the Act i divertissement (scene 3), their backs to the audience as they watch the dancing and singing priestesses.

226  Lois Rosow Phèdre’s initial encounter with Aricie and Hippolyte (i, 4), with interjections by the queen’s trumpeters and Diane’s priestesses, takes place on the full stage, the black costumes of the principals contrasting violently with the colour all around them. All remain for the goddess Diane’s descent, announced by the grand priestess – supernatural spectacle paired (as it often is in opera) with words fit for the tragic stage: ‘You’, says the goddess to Phèdre, ‘tremble, sacrilegious queen’ (‘Toi, tremble, reine sacrilège’). Where the libretto calls for the priestesses to ‘enter the temple’, Villégier closes the curtain, leaving Phèdre alone on the apron of the stage to express her rage (scene 6). The curtain then goes up, revealing the wall, Phèdre’s confidant Œnone and the messenger Arcas sitting in front of the arch, and Act i continues. How ironic that Phèdre’s final monologue, after Hippolyte’s death (iv, 4) – her expression of tragic culpability, the chorus interjecting a plaintive refrain – occurs on the open stage, not in front of the arch (where we expect to find high tragedy), and how appropriate that the lighting at that point is practically black, the forest in the scenery all but invisible. The libretto calls for no change of setting at the beginning of Act v; Thésée’s monologue and encounter with Neptune are meant to occur on the same shore as Phèdre’s anguished soliloquy that ended the previous act. In Villégier’s interpretation, when the entr’acte music ends and the curtain rises,29 Thésée stands in front of the arch, Hippolyte’s lifeless body lying at his feet, just as it had lain at Phèdre’s feet before the entr’acte. In a moving soliloquy, Thésée then describes Phèdre’s confession to him and her suicide in his presence (unseen by the audience during the entr’acte); in despair, he invokes the gods and threatens to throw himself into the sea. According to the libretto, Neptune ‘rises from the middle of the ocean’ (‘sort du sein des mers’), stops Thésée, and explains what the gods have decreed will happen next. Yet Villégier forgoes the opportunity to have Neptune emerge from colourful Baroque ocean waves. Instead, the god (wearing a cape with a long train) simply enters from the wings and joins Thésée at the arch. An explicit conversation between a tragic figure and a god has no place in the poetics of spoken tragedy, yet Villégier’s strategy is clear. Placed at the arch, these scenes serve as a foil for the spectacular transformation that follows (v, 3): Thésée and Neptune exit, and then the wall rises out of view one final time, revealing a ‘delicious garden’ in the Forest of Aricia, where ­Diane supervises the happy conclusion, and all enjoy the final fête.30 29 For entr’acte here William Christie substitutes a poignant prelude for the dance piece called for in the score. 30 Regarding the eighteenth-century controversy over the change of setting at scene 3, see especially Geoffrey Burgess, ‘“Le théâtre ne change qu’à la troisième scène”: The Hand of the Author and Unity of Place, Act v of Hippolyte et Aricie’, Cambridge Opera Journal 10 (1998), 275–87. Since the transformation was clearly engineered by a goddess, its position in the middle of the act is justified. The problem, as Burgess points out, is the absence of a direct link to the preceding scene. Ivan Alexandre offers an interesting solution. He allows Thésée, before he exits, to see Aricie lying on the shore (she had fainted earlier); she awakens and starts singing before the scenic transformation takes place. In the original libretto, there is no such elision: the seashore is transformed into a ‘delicious garden’, where Aricie (awake and ready to sing) is revealed.

Rameau’s tragédies en musique  227 In Racine’s Phèdre, Villégier’s wall and arch represented the stereotypical palace courtyard. Thanks to the changes of setting in an operatic libretto, the arch in Hippolyte et Aricie has multiple connotations. Act i takes place at the Temple of Diane; Aricie gestures toward the interior of the arch as she sings ‘Temple sacré’. Act iii is set at ‘a part of Thésée’s palace, by the seashore’. Thésée, returning home from the Underworld, makes his entrance not from the wings in the normal fashion but from within the arch. He finds his son and wife in front of the arch in a compromising position. A few minutes later, however, sailors bow to Thésée on their way through the arch in the opposite direction, as they go to the site of the fête in his honour. A palace interior is hardly a place for a troupe of sailors. Does the arch here represent, say, a bower in a palace garden? Or is it an abstraction, the sailors passing ‘through the looking-glass’ as they move from Thésée’s ‘temporality’ to their own? Whatever the case, we are not asked to imagine the classical arch as the mouth of Hell: as Table 13.1 shows, the entire second act, set in the Underworld, belongs to the world of the spectacle. Villégier’s choice of the word ‘temporality’ is appropriate: ‘theatrical’ and ‘spectacular’ passages alternate as the story unfolds, one block of time following another. As for place, only in v, 3 does the replacement of the arch by the full stage represent a change of setting, engineered here by Diane’s supernatural agency. By contrast, within each of the other acts that use this device, the arch and stage represent alternate realities of the same location – in Act i, for instance, Aricie and Hippolyte in dialogue (arch), followed immediately by dancing and singing priestesses of Diane (full stage), both scenes understood to take place in the same physical and inspirational surroundings: just outside the Temple of Diane. Later, the unifying presence of Hippolyte’s lifeless body on the ground demonstrates that the stage at the end of Act iv and the arch at the beginning of Act v are indeed meant to represent the same seaside location. From this point of view, the dialogue on a bare stage in front of an opaque scrim that begins several acts in Pynkoski’s Armide, touched upon above, is analogous to dialogue in front of the arch in Acts i, iii and iv of Villégier’s Hippolyte et Aricie: it is an abstract ‘theatrical’ temporality that gives way to a concrete ‘spectacular’ temporality, with no implied change of setting. For Villégier, at least, this ploy is a clever commentary on the genre, yet let us keep in mind that it is entirely modern. In the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries, the ‘theatrical’ and ‘spectacular’ elements in the tragédie en musique did not (to borrow Villégier’s words) ‘ask to be divorced’. Rather, they asked to be united by scenery that demonstrated unity of place within the act. This study has ­focused on ways that modern scenographic techniques, in conjunction with ­musical direction, have been used to communicate time and space in this genre. Its underlying perspective is that of eighteenth-century theory and practice. It thus makes an argument for historically sensitive staging to complement historically inspired musical performance.

14 Stage sets and music in Rameau’s operas Rémy-Michel Trotier

With the emergence of opera in the seventeenth century, the status of stage sets and music which in earlier drama had been considered of only secondary signifcance grew steadily in importance.1 The operas of Rameau, composed and revised between 1733 and 1764, bear witness to this development. While the librettos were often disparaged, the composer’s remarkable musical inventiveness was rivalled only by that of his famous stage designers, Jean-Nicolas Servandoni, François Boucher, Pietro Algieri and the Slodtz brothers.2 By their nature, however, music and stage scenery are profoundly different; hence, any attempt to compare these two forms of artistic expression immediately encounters an obstacle. Yet they do have a point in common, namely, that in the eighteenth century both were considered as ‘languages’ in their own right.3 Deployed alongside the poetic text in the course of the performance, which creates temporal space, the music and scenery work by articulating a range of states from permanence to rupture; they form a vocabulary, a grammar, a syntax, and thereby generate meaning. This chapter focuses on the dynamic aspect of the relationship between these two arts, as revealed in the case of Rameau’s operas. Because music of various kinds was needed to accompany changes of scenery, these elements depended closely on one another during performance. In conducting the present investigation, therefore, it was frst necessary to devise separate analyses of the scenographic and musical features. By comparing the results of this analysis, I have been able to identify places where such features coincide and to look for correlations between them, in order to grasp the conditions within which they function alongside each other.

1 This development has been identifed and characterised in Catherine Kintzler, Poétique de l’opéra français de Corneille à Rousseau (Paris: Minerve, 2007); the present study is a specifc attempt to test Kintzler’s hypotheses on the evolution of redundancy in classical performance. 2 See Mathias Auclair and Elizabeth Giuliani, Rameau et la scène (Paris: Éditions de la Bibliothèque de France, 2014). 3 The eighteenth-century philosophers distinguished between these two languages, one of images and the other of sounds. See, for example, Diderot’s Lettre sur les aveugles (1749).

DOI: 10.4324/9781315554990-19

Stage sets and music 229 My observations, which are in turn analytical, serial and comparative, rest on the hypothesis of term-by-term correspondences between musical data and data from the analysis of dramatic action, all duly categorised. The experiment outlined here seeks to confrm or refute the existence of such relations, through a census of all the music that Rameau wrote to accompany scene changes. What might initially seem a Cartesian approach (the testing of a hypothesis) quickly becomes a Newtonian one: we are faced with a multiplicity of data within which we must try and discern patterns. As far as stage scenery is concerned, the census involved an analysis of the relevant descriptions of decor printed in the published librettos that were on sale at performances. Since these librettos were frequently revised during the fnal rehearsals, such descriptions provide an accurate guide to the stage sets employed in the actual productions. I have interpreted these descriptions in the light of our knowledge of the mechanisms available for the staging of Rameau’s operas:4 the stage machinery not only at the Académie Royale de Musique (in its Palais-Royal theatre and later the Salle des Machines) but also at Versailles (the Salle du Manège and other, less well-equipped locations), Fontainebleau and Choisy-le-Roi, whose facilities were even more limited.5 In the largest of these theatres, the layout and functioning of the stage apparatus were remarkably consistent over the course of history, maintaining the model established in the seventeenth century by Italian and subsequently French set designers and machinists. The placing of canvases painted in perspective and arranged in decreasing size on the periphery of the stage created a generic space where the action would take place. As these canvases were often mounted on movable frames (châssis), the set could be changed almost instantaneously, thanks to a single mechanism that allowed all the frames to be moved at once. In Rameau’s operas, the scenery

4 I have studied this question particularly with the stage director and theatre historian Gilbert Blin, who makes use of similar analyses in preparing his own performances. Since 2001, I have collaborated on most of his sets. For details of some of his experiments, see the section ‘Practice’ on the website of the Académie Desprez, [accessed 25 September 2019]. 5 The situation at Fontainebleau has been better documented since the publication of Vincent Droguet and Marc-Henri Jordan, Théâtre de Cour, les spectacles à Fontainebleau au XVIIIe siècle (Paris: Réunion des musées nationaux, 2005) and David Charlton, Opera in the Age of Rousseau (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2012), 25–9, 73–6. On Versailles, see Jean Feray, ‘Les Théâtres successifs du château de Versailles’, in Opéra de Versailles. Les Monuments historiques de la France, numéro spécial (Paris: Caisse nationale des monuments historiques, 1957), 3–18 and Alfred Marie, ‘Les Théâtres du château de Versailles’, Revue d’histoire du théâtre, troisième année 1951 (Paris: Société d’histoire du théâtre, 1951), iii, 133–52. As for the Palais-Royal theatre used by the Académie Royale de Musique, the stage mechanisms are illustrated in the engraved plates in the volume ‘Théâtres’, in the Encyclopédie, ou Dictionnaire raisonné des sciences, des arts et des métiers, ed. Jean Le Rond d’Alembert and Denis Diderot, x (Paris: Briasson, 1772), and a few vignettes show original stage sets in Rameau operas (Dardanus, Naïs and the entrée ‘Canope’ in Les Fêtes de l’Hymen et de l’Amour).


Rémy-Michel Trotier

was sometimes separated into two areas by an element known as a ferme,6 the more distant area being revealed only in the course of the action. Other more localised effects were also possible, emerging from the wings, from trap-doors or from the fies above the stage. Table 14.1 lists these elements and the typical effects they produced. How, then, does Rameau’s music accompany these various scenographic events? For each set-change and mechanical effect, the composer provided a corresponding symphonie – sometimes an independent instrumental movement such as those for fights across the stage or descents of divinities, and sometimes a prelude to an air or chorus when a new decor became visible at the start of an act.7 There are thus two distinct situations: those involving general changes of scenery, and those concerned with more limited effects involving stage machines. The frst normally took place at the beginning of an act. Such set-changes Table 14.1 Elements of decor and their uses in eighteenth-century French theatres Decor


Frames (châssis) at the sides of the stage, mounted on trolleys and arranged in perspective

Rapid scene-changes effected in full view of the audience

Painted backdrop (toile de fond) completing the main perspective

Changes in full view, to coincide with the movement of the chassis

Decor mounted on a frame (ferme)

Opening or closing of the ferme to reveal or conceal the perspective

Independent backstage and forestage châssis

Changes visible to the audience

Painted backdrop closing the distant perspective

Visible scene changes synchronised with movement of the chassis


Appearances and disappearances

Miscellaneous machines (stationary or mounted on Entrances and exits wheels) at the front or rear of the stage Large cloud machine (gloire)

Descent from or ascent to the fies

Smaller fying machines

Flights across the stage; ascents or descents to or from the fies

Wave machine

Illusion of wave movement at variable speeds

6 As its French name indicates, a ferme is a stage-wide painted frame pierced with doors which can open or close to reveal or hide the rearmost part of the stage. For further discussion of this and other elements of staging, see the chapter by Lois Rosow in this volume (Chapter 13), pp. 215–27. 7 Across the fve tragédies, pieces specially composed to accompany mechanical stage effects represent around 9% of the music. My doctoral thesis advances the idea that this instrumental music in Rameau’s operas represents a sub-form within the wider operatic form. See Rémy-Michel Trotier, L’Architecture harmonique des tragédies en musique de Jean-Philippe Rameau (doctoral thesis, Université Paris-Sorbonne, 2014).

Stage sets and music 231 were rapidly executed in full view of the audience. Moreover, they occurred after the actors in the previous act had all left the stage; there was thus always a brief moment when the stage was empty, before the next character entered and the audience had time to observe the new decor. In this sense, the set-changes themselves did not form part of the action and consequently did not call for newly composed music. Rather, it is the music heard immediately after a setchange that the spectator would associate with the new scenery, not that of the entr’acte. By contrast, the second, more limited machine effects did form an integral part of the plot. These were thus invariably accompanied by a piece of music, whether a short prelude or something more substantial. In such instances, the corresponding music is therefore the piece played during the change, the associated key being the one heard at the point when the effect begins. It is here that Rameau introduced his descriptive symphonies. He did not usually bother to write special music at the conclusion of a stage effect – as, for instance, when the cloud machine ascends to the fies, the monsters disappear or the sea ceases to rage. Rather, if an expressive tonal shift draws special attention to this event, it is heard right at the outset (see Figure 14.1). In seeking to enhance the dramatic effect of changes of scenery, Rameau often employs corresponding musical changes, whether of orchestral colour, metre, tempo, dynamics, melody or rhythm. But one of the most powerful tools at his disposal was the use of tonal shifts, sometimes quite abrupt, and it on this element and its connection to the drama that the present chapter focuses. Music for scene-changes is written in keys designed to be fxed in the listener’s memory by a double anchorage. On the one hand are those instances where key choice is determined by the conventional associations of a particular

Figure 14.1 Synchronisation of the music with the start of the scenic effects

232 Rémy-Michel Trotier instrumentation with a specifc key (storms in F or B fat,8 hunting horns in D or F, and so forth). On the other hand, key choice encourages memory retention during the unfolding of the plot, the keys contrasting perceptibly with one another even over a wide span. Let us take a particularly revealing example, Rameau’s frst opera Hippolyte et Aricie, whose decorative programme is especially rich, since, as the following summary description illustrates, it calls on all the available staging devices: –

– –

Different scenery is required for each act: the Forest of Erymanthus (prologue); the Temple of Diane (Act i); the Underworld (Act ii); Thésée’s Palace (Act iii); the Forest of Diane (Act iv and the start of Act v); the Gardens of Aricie (from Act v, scene 3). Two of these stage sets have a dual use: the Temple of Diane in Act i opens upstage on to the sanctuary into which the Priestesses retreat in scene 6; and the entrance to Hades in Act ii is depicted on a ferme, which later opens to reveal the throne on which sits Pluton, surrounded by the whole of his court.9 Several fights (vols) take place during the course of the action: Cupid’s descent in the Prologue and Diane’s in Act i, each character entering in a gloire, an aerial machine that would have been decorated with clouds; the arrival of Mercure in Act ii (perhaps a free fight); the re-appearance of Diane in Act v, where the goddess now appears in majesty on a large gloire; and fnally the descent of Hippolyte borne in by the Zephyrs. Two thrones had to be placed and removed at stage level: Diane’s in the Prologue and Pluton’s in Act ii, as well as an upstage altar in Act i. At the back of the stage, the mechanism representing the sea, comprising rollers spiralling irregularly to depict waves, is visible during Acts iii, iv and the start of Act v. Visually and symbolically, this machine links the scenes in Thésée’s Palace and in the Forest of Diane. It was designed to operate at variable speeds: faster, for example, at the moment when ‘the waves become agitated’, iii, 9. Finally, a number of sound-effects were also required to characterise the storms of Acts i and iv and the infernal scenes in Act ii; these were produced either by musical instruments or entrusted to the stage-hands.10

Table 14.2 shows the keys associated with each successive decor. The row labelled ‘Upstage’ indicates elements revealed during the course of the action or, in the case of the wave-machine, activated at various speeds as the act progresses. 8 For an explanation of this particular association, see Graham Sadler, The Rameau Compendium (Woodbridge: Boydell Press, 2014), 112. 9 At the end of Act ii, the ferme is closed again for Thésée’s short soliloquy, which takes place in front of the entrance to Hades. This device allowed time to remove Pluton’s throne before the start of the next act. 10 For a brief account of some of the sound effects used at the Académie Royale de Musique, see Sadler, The Rameau Compendium, 197–8.

Stage sets and music 233 Table 14.2 Rameau, Hippolyte et Aricie: distribution of decors in relation to the key in which each is frst revealed













D Sanctuary F Tempest

Bb Throne C

B Sea G


Garden (from sc. 3) E

Initial key D Upstage Key-change Effects

The musical form thus defned (taking solely the keys of the music linked to the change of scenery) shows many symmetries: D–D (F)–Bb (C)–B (G) a:D–E These keys seem to be arranged around a central axis of D major, a key associated with the two forest settings. This tonality then proceeds in mediant relations by conjunctions with neighbouring keys. In the frst part of the work, this same key of D (which is also associated with Diane, whose temple is featured here) seems to form part of a triad with F major (tempest) and B fat major (entrance to Hades), which rings out at the point where Pluton’s throne is revealed. In the latter part of the work, unifed by the key of G that recurs each time the sea is featured, a second triad, B fat–G–D, emerges. This one is more consonant, initially recalling the security of Diane’s forest, before veering unexpectedly towards E minor, a key which, though far from remote, sounds like a new territory. If such a clear correlation can be determined in Hippolyte et Aricie between the parallel organisation of tonality and scene-changes, can a comparable correlation be found in other operas by Rameau? Are the same keys associated with the same types of scenery? To fnd answers to these questions, I counted the scene descriptions in the librettos of 26 of Rameau’s works,11 discounting their revivals so as not to include the same sets several times, and then made a log of the corresponding keys. (From here on, I will speak of ‘sets’ as opposed to ‘scenery’, as the librettos describe the places where the action is set, but without giving details of the elements of scenery actually used to depict these locations.) It emerges that a clear chronological evolution is, indeed, observable in Rameau’s work. The results appear in Figure 14.2 below, with the columns in pale grey representing the decor at the start of the act, and those in dark 11 I included Les Boréades, which, though not performed in Rameau’s lifetime, was rehearsed in his presence in 1763. On the early history of this work, see Sylvie Bouissou, Jean-Philippe Rameau, ‘Les Boréades’, ou la tragédie oubliée (Paris: Méridiens Klincksieck, 1992). No libretto survives, but the changes of decor are specifed in the production score (F-Pn, Rés. Vmb. ms. 4).


Rémy-Michel Trotier

Figure 14.2 Evolution in the number of sets and mechanical effects required in Rameau’s operas

grey the scene changes subsequently visible to the audience. We can distinguish three broad groupings: (1) full-length works created in the 1730s at the Académie Royale de Musique, each comprising several acts or entrées; (2) works dating from the mid-1740s onwards, when Rameau’s association with the court of Louis xv led him to cultivate a greater diversity of operatic genres, variously requiring a larger or smaller amount of music for scene changes;12 and (3) works written in the 1750s, by which time the style had evolved and (particularly in the Fontainebleau operas) privileged the independent acte de ballet, a genre that called for a single stage set and few if any special effects. Across the whole corpus of Rameau operas, we fnd 98 different descriptions of place. It was not, of course, necessary to construct this many new stage sets, since existing decor could be recycled and customised: often the same trees or the same columns were reused from one opera to the next. Spectators would have the descriptions of decor in the published libretto to inform them about the identity of the particular garden, temple or palace depicted. At the 12 The 1740s were also characterised by Rameau’s extensive collaboration with Cahusac, which resulted in works that are particularly rich in stage effects, Les Fêtes de l’Hymen et de l’Amour (1747), Zaïs (1748) and Zoroastre (1749) representing the climax of this quest for scenic sophistication.

Stage sets and music 235 Académie Royale de Musique, such reuse of elements of decor was facilitated by inventories of the scenery stored in the Magasin de l’Opéra. This typology of stage sets has been the object of several studies.13 I have nevertheless divided the descriptions into ten types of space. Among these we fnd as many natural spaces as man-made ones, assuming that gardens are included among the former. (In representing domesticated nature, these actually fall halfway between the two categories.) Rural scenes abound in Rameau’s operas, and the descriptions of these in the librettos make a clear distinction between forests (wild) and groves (inhabited). As for interiors, alongside plentiful backdrops of temples and palaces, the librettos by Bernard, Voltaire and later Cahusac sometimes specify scenery that seeks to depict a precise historical period.14 Even if, in reality, the same scenic elements were recycled, they were adapted to suggest a particular ‘cultural’ origin. As for ‘supernatural’ scenery, sets representing the celestial or infernal regions could be used time and again, and there are few Rameau operas (until 1750, at least) that do not call for them. Can these categories of decor be associated with particular musical keys, in keeping with a Baroque concept of the énergie des modes?15 It becomes clear from Figure 14.4 (below) that this is not actually the case: there seems to have had been little if any connection between the choice of key and the type of scenery. Each scene-type is represented by a variety of keys, and each key accompanies many different kinds of scene. Even so, three keys stand out: D major, D minor and G minor. These, in fact, are the keys that Rameau made most use of in his operas and are imprinted on his musical language, irrespective of dramatic context.16 Their distribution in relation to scene-types appears haphazard. True, the palaces all appear in sharp keys, but the other types of scene seem to be located randomly on either side of the tonal axis. The only keys to tend in one direction are those associated with the heavens, which, contrary to what we might assume, incline towards the fat side and thus towards the lower end of the tonal spectrum. Indeed, while we might instinctively expect

13 See, for example, Gilbert Blin, Les Opéras de Rameau, pour un Théâtre des Enchantements (master’s thesis, Université de la Sorbonne Nouvelle–Paris iii, 1986) and Jérôme de La Gorce, ‘Décors et machines à l’Opéra de Paris au temps de Rameau: inventaire de 1748’, Recherches sur la musique française classique 21 (1983), 145–57. For a different perspective, see Laura Naudeix, Dramaturgie de la tragédie en musique (1673–1764) (Paris: Champion, 2004). For an analysis of 84 pastoral stage descriptions from the period 1742–52, see Charlton, Opera in the Age of Rousseau, 97–8 and Tables 4.4 and 4.5. 14 See, for instance, the Spartan tomb in Castor et Pollux (1737, libretto by Pierre-Joseph Bernard), the city of Atarxate in Le Temple de la Gloire (1745, Voltaire), the site of the Isthmian Games in Naïs (1749, Cahusac), the Bactrians’ traditional coronation site (Zoroastre, 1756 version, Cahusac). 15 For a study of this topic, see Rita Steblin, A History of Key Characteristics in the Eighteenth and Early Nineteenth Centuries (Ann Arbor, MI: UMI Research Press, 1983). 16 I have measured this in my doctoral dissertation (see note 7 above), in which the complete music of Rameau’s fve tragédies en musique is analysed.


Rémy-Michel Trotier

Figure 14.3 Distribution of scenery according to their generic category in operas by Rameau

Figure 14.4 Distribution of tonalities in relation to scene-types in Rameau’s operas

Stage sets and music 237 the Underworld to be associated with fat keys and the heavens with sharp keys, this is by no means necessarily so, as an example in Castor et Pollux (1737) illustrates: the scenes at the entrance to Hades (Act iii) are almost wholly in sharp keys, culminating in the demoniacal reprise of A major, while the ensuing scene in the Elysian Fields (Act iv) opens with a tender prelude in G minor. If we were expecting an aesthetic system governed by a principle whereby a given key corresponds to a specifc instrumental colour, ambiance and decor (e.g., forest = hunt = hunting horn = D major), we will be disappointed. This type of traditional association, though still perceptible in Hippolyte et Aricie, soon disappeared from the Rameau operas, since the composer clearly preferred to exploit a wider range of possibilities in presenting a given decor. The many forests scenes in his operas, for example, are set in a variety of keys. Perhaps Rameau did not object to seeing the same recycled elements of decor, as long as he could write music that would make these appear different, each time creating a new mental space for the action. This, indeed, represented a fresh approach towards sentiment, with the mood of the incoming characters having more impact on the music than the ambiance of the scene into which they enter. The differentiation of stock operatic scenery was henceforth determined not only by the libretto but also by the character of the music. Equally signifcant, however, is that Rameau did not think of musical language only in absolute terms (keys) but also in differential terms (key relationships): he practised the art of surprise, and the effect created by the appearance of a new scene much depends on the contrast it forms with the previous one. This is true of the types of decor which play an active part in the operatic plot: we are frightened or relieved to fnd ourselves in such and such a place. It is also the case for the music, in which key-changes seem to imply similar links with the narrative. Once again, then, how do these categories of scenic and musical meaning correspond? In seeking answers to this question, I noted the difference between the key used immediately before a scene-change and the one immediately afterwards (e.g., in the introduction to the new act). These differences are not modulations, but rather juxtapositions of keys, and for this reason I use the term ‘tonal shifts’. Such shifts can be described as tending towards the sharp or towards the fat side, and I counted the distance of each shift in ffths, in line with Rameau’s theoretical model.17 This calculation reveals that in some 28% of cases there is no change of tonic – either because the music shifts from a minor key to its tonic major or (less often) from major to tonic minor. Such instances do not appear in Figures 14.5 and 14.6, which focus on examples where the change of decor is accompanied by a tonal shift.

17 For an overview of this, see Thomas Christensen, Rameau and Musical Thought in the Enlightenment (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1993) and Raphaëlle Legrand, Rameau et le pouvoir de l’harmonie (Paris: Cité de la musique, 2007).

238 Rémy-Michel Trotier

Figure 14.5 Tonal shifts at the appearance of a new decor in relation to the type of mode in Rameau’s operas

Usually, however, Rameau moves to a new tonic when the decor changes, the most frequent intervals in these juxtapositions being a rising ffth (+1) to the dominant or a falling ffth (−1) to the subdominant. The next most frequent shift is of a minor third (+3 or −3), nicely illustrating how the composer sometimes plays with unexpected alternations between majors and minors. A descending minor third (as from C to A) usually involves a major key followed by its relative minor. In Hippolyte et Aricie (v, 3), for example, the appearance of E minor for the Gardens of Aricie seems natural after its relative major, G. But sometimes Rameau alters this ‘natural’ harmonic order: in Acante et Céphise (iii, 2) the music representing a ‘frightful desert’, which ends in C major, is followed not by A minor but by its tonic major, as a way of emphasising the radiance of Zérphile’s palace. In the 1744 version of Dardanus, this practice is pushed to the extreme, since the famous prison scene appears in F minor after D major, completely inverting the relative relations of these two tonalities, in order to accentuate the harrowing nature of this scene. What is especially interesting in these analyses is not so much the trends they reveal as the exceptions. It is worth drawing attention to three instances in which Rameau creates a particular structural gesture – three unique transitions at the appearance of a new scene where the tonal shift is so unusual as to shock the ear. The frst is found in Hippolyte et Aricie at the mid-point of the

Stage sets and music 239

Figure 14.6 Tonal shifts in relation to categories of decor in Rameau’s operas

work, where the scene shifts abruptly from the Underworld to Thésée’s palace. At the end of Act ii, Thésée contemplates the Fates’ ominous prediction that he will fnd Hell in his own home. There follows an entr’acte that recycles the second Air des Furies, which Rameau indicates to be played a tone higher than at its original appearance, thus in G major. Act iii begins in B minor, at the point where the troubled Phèdre reappears, alone in her palace. This unexpected shift  – four ffths downwards – accentuates the distance not only between the character of the two locations but also between the psychological states of husband and wife. A second very similar instance is found in Dardanus (1739 version). After the end of Act ii, which is set in a lonely location (‘une Solitude’), the B fat major entr’acte is succeeded by the Act iii palace scene in E minor, six ffths apart, resulting in a relationship of an augmented fourth between the two scenes. Yet it is in Zaïs that the most unusual situation is found, since between Acts iii and iv (at least in the frst version of the work) no entr’acte is specifed to precede the scene-change.18 The dramatic situation here is equally unusual, 18 This, at least, is what is indicated in the published score: Zaïs, ballet héroïque (Paris: author, veuve Boivin, Leclair, 1748), 103–4. Shortly afterwards, Rameau inserted an entr’acte comprising three movements: the ‘two menuets from the prologue a tone lower in D major for the

240 Rémy-Michel Trotier since we are witnessing a conversation between Zaïs and his beloved Zélidie which starts in one place (his palace, at the end of Act iii) and ends in another (a garden, at the start of Act iv). Given that there is only Zaïs’s eight-bar soliloquy to separate them (iii, 7), the spectator must imagine the content of the conversation that must have continued during the characters’ movement from the frst location to the second. This lapse of time is accentuated not only by the change of place but also by the music, in which the wide tonal shift (F sharp minor juxtaposed with D minor) depicts the time it would have taken for the omitted recitative to cover this harmonic distance. By linking a clever mechanism of instantaneous scene-change with an equally ingenious compositional trick, Rameau achieves a highly original narrative ‘montage’. In this aesthetic context, we can well understand that the tonal shifts are no longer chosen simply according to the contrast between the spaces per se, but rather in relation to the dramatic situation, the characters’ mood and/or the length of narrative time that elapses. It is thus not surprising to fnd that Figure 14.6 (above), which shows the distribution of tonal shifts in relation to the type of decor, is just as variegated as in Figure 14.4 (above), which shows the same distribution in relation to tonalities. The old decorative typology, albeit always solicited as a concrete resource for the performance, is no longer such a determinant in the construction of the narrative. The aural imagination shapes the visual perception. We can see that the various kinds of mechanical effects across the spectrum of Rameau’s operas are also accompanied by very diverse tonal transitions. Overall, however, we can make two signifcant observations. First, the curve in Figure 14.7 is not centred on zero, which indicates no change of tonic, but on the interval of a descending ffth, which is by far the most frequently used by Rameau in this context. Such movement towards the subdominant to form the new tonic follows the natural gradient of cadences, as though the mechanical effects had a tendency to ‘push the harmony forward’, to hasten its resolution. Yet the most remarkable aspect of the curve in Figure 14.7 is the second highest peak, which results from the piling-up of four descending ffths – that is, a juxtaposition of tonics corresponding to a descending major third. In the musical language of the period, this sequence is very rare in the progression of chords or keys; it is thus all the more perceptible to the ear and heightens the dramatic surprise. For this reason, Rameau employs it to emphasise the start of the storm in Dardanus (1739 version, Act iv – A minor to F major), the arrival of Jupiter in Platée (Act ii – D major, as dominant of G minor – B fat major), the sudden whirlwind of fre in Zaïs (prologue – B minor to G major) and the awakening of the birds in Naïs (Act ii – A minor to F major). entr’acte and the grand Air noble’ [‘deux menuets du prologue un ton plus bas en ré avec deux # pour entr’acte et le grand air noble’], all in D major or D minor. Clearly, more time was needed than foreseen to change the scenery. See the exemplar F-Po, A. 161a, pp. 103–4. For a discussion of the different versions of this opera, see Jean-Philippe Rameau, Zaïs, ed. Graham Sadler, Opera Omnia Rameau iv.15 (Bonneuil-Matours: Société Jean-Philippe Rameau, 2011).

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Figure 14.7 Tonal shifts accompanying mechanical effects in Rameau’s operas, by type of effect and accumulation

There is therefore a permanent game in play between the conventional and the unconventional, the establishing of a language and the transgression of its norms, the feeling of time advancing and of time suspended. This capacity of the music to change a little, a lot or not at all must be analysed in relation to the variable extent of the changes taking place on stage, even though we may never fnd a particularly consistent correspondence. Sometimes spectacular changes are seen without any tonal movement in the accompanying music,19 while at other times unusual modulations may occur without any on-stage scenic transformation.20

19 For example, the tonality at the fnal scene change in Les Boréades (v, 5) remains in D major, the music comprising a single long-held chord marked crescendo, while the score merely indicates that ‘the scenery changes’ [‘la décoration change’]. This occurs at the moment when Apollon brings enlightenment and a happy resolution of the plot. Burgess has identifed the build-up of this sustained D major chord as a representation of the corps sonore, the effect of which he aptly characterises as ‘Rameau’s magic wand’. See Geoffrey Burgess, ‘Enlightening Harmonies: Rameau’s corps sonore and the Representation of the Divine in the tragédie en musique’, Journal of the American Musicological Society 65 (2012), 383–462. 20 For further information, see Trotier, L’Architecture harmonique des tragédies en musique de JeanPhilippe Rameau.

242 Rémy-Michel Trotier When we compare changes of scene and key in this way, it seems that in each of his operas Rameau wished to exploit numerous confgurations, continually renewing himself so that every work initiates a unique system of distributing effects ‘for the ear’ and ‘for the eye’.21 This ability of each opera to invent its own language is striking when one studies the evolution of these works: we pass gradually from those operas introduced by a prologue, where the spectator enters into a scene which contains music, to those introduced by a programmatic overture, where the listener perceives in sound a representation of the action before seeing it on the stage. In Zoroastre and later works that feature such overtures, it is literally the music that ‘sets the scene’.22 A striking example is the overture to Naïs, where the fght between Gods and Titans is depicted in the music before the curtain rises. Such sudden plunges into the action generate an art of rapid narrative montage that is a fngerprint of Rameau’s operas. They are extremely demanding in scenographic terms and swift in the succession of their scenes. Moreover, in their aural and visual environments they offer strong contrasts, all this stemming from the new – and especially harmonic – possibilities of a powerfully regenerated musical language. Translation: Jenifer Ball and Graham Sadler

21 For further evidence in support of the argument made here, see the database of my observations at: [accessed 25 September 2019]. To access the database the password ‘servandoni’ is needed. Once connected to the database, searches can be run, e.g., ‘list of scenery found in D major’ or ‘list of fights beginning with a modulation in the subtonic’. The lists produced generally look as if they have been generated by madness and logic in equal measure. 22 See ‘Overture’, in Sadler, The Rameau Compendium, 150.

15 Do Rameau’s dances ‘impose physical movement’? A collaborative exploration Hubert Hazebroucq and Rebecca Harris-Warrick

Noted Rameau scholar Cuthbert Girdlestone once claimed that it is in his symphonies de danse that Rameau is least like anyone else and most markedly superior to those who used similar forms. His dances are rich in both choreographic gesture and emotional signifcance. They impose physical movement rather than express it and dictate the details of the dancers’ mimicry.1 Girdlestone is far from alone in responding to the kinesthetic qualities in Rameau’s dance music; his statement, however, goes beyond an admiration of expressivity, and attributes to Rameau the role of choreographer as well as composer. Furthermore, Girdlestone accepts an aesthetic of literalism between music and dance that, in the view of many people today – scholars and performers alike – seems so redundant as to be implausible. In the absence of choreographies from the period,2 we have aimed to test Girdlestone’s claim by evaluating the evidence in librettos and scores, and by using Rameau’s fullest set of choreographic annotations to construct hypothetical choreographies. Our perspective is historical; we are not considering the choreographic choices being made today, but rather the question of what Rameau’s music might tell us about the movements of the dancers in his own day, when we pay close attention to his musical choices. Our reconstructions are captured in video clips to which the reader will fnd links at relevant points in this chapter.3 1 Cuthbert Girdlestone, ‘Jean-Philippe Rameau’, in Stanley Sadie (ed.), The New Grove Dictionary of Music and Musicians (London: Macmillan, 1980), xv, 564. 2 Regarding the approximately 350 choreographies preserved in Beauchamps-Feuillet notation, almost all of which date from before 1725, see Meredith Little and Carol G. Marsh, La Danse Noble: An Inventory of Dances and Sources (Williamstown, MA: Broude Brothers Ltd, 1992) and Francine Lancelot, La Belle Dance: Catalogue raisonné fait en l’an 1995 (Paris: Van Dieren Éditeur, 1996), hereafter LMC and FL respectively. 3 We are grateful to Joel Baldwin for making these videos during the Jean-Philippe Rameau international anniversary conference at St Hilda’s College, Oxford, 11–14 September 2014. They should not be seen as representing fnished choreographies, but as experiments drawing on the reasoning explored in this chapter.

DOI: 10.4324/9781315554990-20

244 Hubert Hazebroucq and Rebecca Harris-Warrick Literalism can apply to several levels of movement. One of the simpler questions to address concerns the choreographic manipulation of groups of dancers – whether the music tells us who dances when. Rameau not infrequently calls on two groups of dancers in a single piece and sometimes even annotates his score to indicate where each appears. One such example comes in the prologue to Dardanus, where the ‘Air gracieux pour les Plaisirs’ is interrupted mid-phrase by Jealousy and her followers (see Figure 15.1); the 1739 libretto reveals that there were four each of Plaisirs and followers of Jealousy.4 Rameau did not annotate the piece further, but once the two groups have been identifed, the music makes it clear where each group fgures. A number of Rameau’s dance pieces make a distinction between two types of musical rhetoric and some of these have suggestive titles. The prologue to Les Indes galantes features an ‘Air pour les amants qui suivent Bellone et pour les amantes qui tâchent de les retenir’5 [‘Air for the lovers who follow Bellone [goddess of war] and for their sweethearts, who try to hold them back’]. Rameau’s setting (see Example 15.1) juxtaposes running quavers in the strings with slow, sighing fgures in the futes; it is easy to hear which group wants to run off to war and which one wants to hold the would-be warriors back. Such stark musical contrasts – which characterize quite a few of Rameau’s dance pieces – highlight the participation of distinct groups of dancers, but only hint at what they might be doing with their bodies. They do not reveal what steps the dancers use, the timing of the steps relative to the musical bar, the dancers’ positions in space, whether or not the dancers mime actions, or the nature of gestures they might have invoked. In fact, a question even remains as to how literally to respect the musical separation: does each group dance only when its own music plays, remaining still when the orchestra plays music for the other group? In the dance for the two groups of lovers in Les Indes galantes, the two distinct phrases alternate several times, but are heard in simultaneous counterpoint at the end of the piece. Should we take this to mean that here – and here only – both groups dance? Do the sometimes overlapping, sometimes separate phrases for the Plaisirs and the Followers of Jealousy in Dardanus constitute instructions to the choreographer? One of Rameau’s works – probably unperformed during his lifetime – has an exceptional number of annotations in the autograph score pertaining to the choreography; these offer at least partial tools for addressing some of these questions. The author of this one-act ballet, Zéphire,6 is not identifed, but was probably

4 There was also a soloist, Mlle Lebreton, cast as a Plaisir, but she is likely to have danced elsewhere in this scene. 5 This is the title as it appears in Rameau’s publication ‘Les Indes Galantes | balet (sic) | réduit à quatre grands concerts’ (Paris: Boivin, Leclair, author, [1736]), 44. 6 The autograph score is located in F-Pn, Rés. Ms. 372, where it is bound together with Nélée et Mirthis. An eighteenth-century copy also exists (F-Pn, Vm2. 313). A modern edition may be found in Jean-Philippe Rameau, Œuvres complètes, xi (Paris: Durand et Fils, 1906) [hereafter OC]. Zéphire has been recorded by Les Arts Florissants, conducted by William Christie (Erato 8573-85774-2), 2000.

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Figure 15.1  Rameau, Dardanus (Paris, 1739), prologue, ‘Air gracieux pour les Plaisirs’, pp. vi-vii. © The British Library Board (Hirsch ii. 765)

Louis de Cahusac.7 Thomas Green has concluded that the work was probably composed during the 1750s.8 The simple story has only three singing characters. Zéphire, the West Wind, is in love with Cloris, but she is a nymph of the chaste 7 Thomas R. Green, Early Rameau Sources: Studies in the Origins and Dating of the Operas and other Musical Works (PhD diss., Brandeis University, 1992), i, 328–36. Thomas Soury also argues in favour of Cahusac’s authorship; see Chapter 5 (this volume), pp. 80–93. 8 Green, ibid., ii, 717–24. Sylvie Bouissou, Jean-Philippe Rameau: musicien des Lumières (Paris: Fayard, 2014), 797–8, has proposed several possible scenarios for the genesis of this work, which produce a range of dates from between 1747 and 1757.

246  Hubert Hazebroucq and Rebecca Harris-Warrick

Example 15.1  Rameau, Les Indes galantes, prologue, ‘Air pour les amants qui suivent Bellone et pour les amantes qui tâchent de les retenir’, first strain

goddess Diane and refuses him, even though she feels tender stirrings towards him. In the end, Diane arrives to bless their union, admitting that she herself loves Endymion; Zéphire transforms Cloris into the goddess Flore. In this work, as in many other operas of Rameau, the divertissements are structured to have the dancers participate in telling the story; in our present research we have paid close attention to the entire opera in order to inform our hypotheses about what happens during the dances. One significant feature of the score is that all three soloists, including Zéphire, sing dessus (soprano); moreover, there are no male voices in the choruses until the final one. The high vocal sonority in this acte de ballet seems to have analogues in the orchestration, a phenomenon that is explored below. Since no separate libretto survives for Zéphire, it cannot be known how many dancers a performance would have required. The nymphs include among their number both singers and dancers, in adherence to the standard practice in French opera in which some members of a group of like characters sing, while the others dance. The only zephyr who sings, however, is the title character, whereas all the group zephyrs are dancers. The casting of a woman in the singing role of Zéphire begs the question of whether women might have danced as zephyrs; that option, however, seems unlikely, given casting practices in other operas.9 During the final chorus male voices do join the two dessus parts that constitute all the earlier choruses; the score does not identify the male singers’ roles.10 The only other dancing 9 In Boismortier’s Daphnis et Chloé (1747), for example, the five zephyrs in the prologue (a soloist and four followers) are all danced by men. 10 A perplexing annotation in Rameau’s autograph calls for ‘les hommes du ch[œur] ou les danseurs qui entreront sur la symphonie pour arrêter les nymphes’, which appears just before the point where the zephyrs first block the nymphs. If there were male choristers in addition to the dancers at this point in the work (the section discussed in ‘Flight and Opposition’

Rameau’s dances


roles are for fowers, who are ‘born’ in scene 3 and who dance in scene 5, as one element in Zéphire’s wooing of Cloris. The single annotation about their dancing reveals that they perform in groups, which suggests that they may have worn costumes that correspond to their type of fower, as was the case in the ‘Ballet des Fleurs’ from Les Indes galantes.11 They were undoubtedly intended to dazzle the eyes, but must have performed dramatically static set pieces, not any kind of action. The nymphs and the zephyrs, on the other hand, participate in what Cahusac probably would have identifed as ‘ballets fgurés’, had this libretto been published.12 There are two such sequences in Zéphire; in both, Rameau’s detailed annotations coincide with telling musical features.

Flight and Opposition The frst key dance sequence occurs in scenes 4 and 5, just after Cloris has been temporizing in response to Zéphire’s attentions; in it a group of zephyrs re-enacts the wooing of a group of nymphs. At its opening, the chorus of nymphs dances onto the stage (‘Courons, courons, signalons notre zèle’), but is caught up short at the sight of the brilliant fowers, just as Cloris had been earlier. When the nymphs see Cloris with an unknown male in defance of her vow to Diane, they fee. Ciel ! quel éclat ! quels parfums enchanteurs ! Mais quel objet, Nymphe infdèle ! Ah ! fuyons, fuyons ses charmes trompeurs ! [Heavens! What splendour! What enchanting scents! But who is that, unfaithful nymph? Ah, let us fee from his deceitful charms!] Zéphire calls on his fellows for help. Opposez-vous à leur passage ; Volez Zéphyrs de toutes parts. Prenez tous les attraits des plaisirs du bel âge, Pour vous offrir à leurs regards. [Block their path; fy in, zephyrs, from all sides. Adopt all the attractions of youth’s pleasures when you offer yourselves to their gaze.] below), then they functioned as silent supernumeraries. The eighteenth-century manuscript copy of the score (see note 6) does not include this annotation. 11 According to the 1735 libretto of Les Indes galantes, ‘D’aimables odaliques [sic] de diverses nations de l’Asie portent dans leurs coiffures et sur leurs habits, les feurs les plus belles  ; l’une a pour parure, la rose ; l’autre la jonquille. Enfn, toutes se singularisent par des feurs différentes’. 12 Several of Cahusac’s librettos for Rameau incorporate what he labelled ‘ballets fgurés’ into the divertissements; in these the dancers perform actions that may sometimes narrate. Probably the most dramatic occurs in Act iv of Zoroastre, in which Hatred, Despair and a group of demons participate in a ceremony of black magic. More often, however, a ballet fguré involves benign actions, such as entwining someone with garlands of fowers.


Hubert Hazebroucq and Rebecca Harris-Warrick

Two signs confrm that the zephyrs immediately answer his call: the orchestral accompaniment to Zéphire’s words – a rapid triplet fgure that starts at the end of his frst line of text and continues through the second; and an annotation in the autograph above the same bars, calling for a ‘Vol croisé des Zéphyrs. Les Zéphyrs s’opposent sur cette symphonie d’accompagnement’.13 The action continues on into the binary dance piece that follows, when the nymphs attempt to fee from the zephyrs. Rameau again annotates his score, this time with the letters F for ‘fuite’ (fight), O for the ‘opposition’ put up by the zephyrs, and E for ‘ensemble’, when the two groups move together (see Example 15.2).14 The annotations reveal two crucial features. First, that the dialogue between the nymphs and the zephyrs moves very rapidly; the frst ‘opposition’ occupies only one bar, and the second ‘fight’ – bars 5–6 – not even two beats. Second, Rameau associates the zephyrs with the fute. This becomes clear in bar 6, where the fute is alone on the ‘opposition’ fgure, and it is consistent not only across the rest of this piece, but across the entire ballet. The fute is Zéphire’s instrument; Cloris and her nymphs are associated with the strings and double reeds.15 Other works by Rameau also feature the fute when a zephyr dances: two such examples may be found in the ‘Ballet des Fleurs’ from Les Indes galantes and the prologue to Les Fêtes d’Hébé.16 We are not accustomed to associating high futes with men; in the ‘Air pour les amants qui suivent Bellone et pour les amantes qui tâchent de les retenir’ from Les Indes galantes (see Example 15.1 above), the fute is used to depict the sighs of the women. In Zéphire, however, Rameau’s choice is unmistakable, and seems of a piece with his choice to have Zéphire sing soprano. We have thus taken a fute sonority as a clue to the characterization in pieces that Rameau did not annotate. In order to conceptualize the nature of the dancers’ movements, we drew on both internal and external evidence. Costume designs from the period (see Figure 15.2) show the noble dancers dressed in wide skirts or bulky tonnelets; in their stylization and elegance the designs for Zéphyr and Flore tell us that such characters should dance in a serious style, one that favours choreographic complexity, grace and ornamentation. A distant, but potentially useful model

13 The eighteenth-century manuscript score identifes the triplets as the ‘vol croisé des zéphyrs’, but omits the rest of Rameau’s annotation. It does, however, include the subsequent F, O and E. 14 The frst ‘F’ is located in Rameau’s autograph score under the quaver on beat 2 of bar 2, but that location seems due to lack of space in bar 1, where Rameau has written instrumental designations and dynamics. In Example 15.2 we have thus moved the ‘F’ to the start of the piece, where it makes musical and dramatic sense. 15 Zéphire’s association with the fute begins in the orchestral introduction that brings him on stage alone in the frst scene, continues when he makes fowers appear and when he woos Cloris, and seals his union with her at the end. Cloris and her nymphs are accompanied by strings, with or without doubling by oboes and bassoons, and, in one gavotte in scene 2, an oboe trio. 16 In the ‘Ballet des Fleurs’, Zéphire makes his entrance to a piece in 6/8 that attributes the melody to the futes (‘Premier Air pour Zéphire’). In the prologue to Les Fêtes d’Hébé, scene 5, Zéphire dances to an ‘Air gracieux’ scored for fute and strings.

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Example 15.2  Rameau, Zéphire, scene 5, ‘Air [pour les Zéphyrs et les Nymphes]’, first strain. Key to the letters in the autograph score: F = Fuite, O = Opposition, E = Ensemble.

Figure 15.2  Costume designs for Zéphyr and Flore by Jean-Baptiste Martin, who worked at the Opéra between 1748 and 1757.  The operas in which these designs were used have not been identified. Collection de figures théâtrales, inventées et gravées par Martin, cy-devant dessinateur des habillements de l’Opéra (Paris, [1763]), F-Po, RES-2262, ff. 14, 15.  Images: BnF


Hubert Hazebroucq and Rebecca Harris-Warrick

is the choreography for one of Flore’s nymphs, danced by Mlle Guiot in the 1708 and 1709 revivals of Lully’s Atys.17 This informs us about the affect of the role, but it is important to remember that the technique of women’s dancing had evolved during the intervening years towards greater virtuosity. We also consulted eighteenth-century dance theorists such as Bonnet, who reveal that zephyrs’ movements were characterized by speed and lightness: Plus les expressions sont naturelles, plus elles sont agréables. La danse des Vents doit être légere & précipitée.18 [The more natural the expressions, the more pleasing they are. The dance of the winds must be light and quick.] Bonnet’s comment encourages us to choreograph rapid movements, particularly for the zephyrs (whose speed and aerial nature probably also engaged them in leaps), and in fact it seems in keeping with the rapidity of the exchange in the score to Zéphire. An additional clue to the choreography comes from Zéphire’s own words: his remarks from just before this dance (quoted above) suggest that the zephyrs are supposed to restrain the nymphs not through physical force, but through their powers of attraction, that is, through their dancing. In that case what form might their movements have taken? In this context, might the dancers have mimed as well as danced? This is a very complex question, not least because what ‘gesture’ meant for dancers at the Opéra in the middle of the eighteenth century is far from clear. At the Fair Theatres and the Théâtre-Italien the dancers had begun engaging in mimed actions, usually in a comic context, by the 1730s if not before, and even at the Opéra occasional characters such as the Trembleurs (shiverers) in Lully’s Isis had to imitate non-dance movements. In this dance from Zéphire, fight and opposition can potentially be construed as actions, but a choreography that communicates them does not preclude the use of dance steps nor impose specifc types of gestures. In another ‘action’ ballet by Rameau, the ‘Ballet des Fleurs’ from Les Indes galantes, the expression emerges from the steps and bodily postures of the two dancers: ‘Borée’s steps express his impetuosity and his fury; the Rose’s postures paint her sweetness and her fears’.19 On the basis of this and similar clues, we hypothesize for Zéphire that the zephyrs and nymphs used dance steps accompanied by expressive infections of the body through the gaze, carriage of the arms and movements of the upper body, but not hand or arm gestures used as signs for words. Moreover, the piece is binary (AABB), which means that the sequence of fight and opposition gets repeated to the same music, without any 17 The dance was choreographed by Pécour and published by Gaudrau. For more information, see the entries on this dance in the two catalogues mentioned in n.2: LMC 4520 and FL/1713.2/31. 18 Jacques Bonnet, Histoire générale de la danse sacrée et profane (Paris: Houry, 1723), 62. 19 According to the 1735 libretto, ‘Les pas de Borée expriment son impétuosité et sa fureur  ; les attitudes de la Rose peignent sa douleur et ses craintes’.

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apparent evolution. We have thus interpreted this piece not as a narration, but as a situation, one that remains within the aesthetic of crystalizing characters, not of advancing a story. The rapidity of the exchange between the fight of the nymphs and the opposition by the zephyrs gives us an important clue. In practice, in order for such short sequences to be comprehensible, it is essential that only one group move at a time, while the other suspends its action. There are, in fact, precedents in notated choreographies for one dancer or group to remain still while the other dances: Pécour’s ‘Les Contrefaiseurs’, a dance that migrated from the stage to the ballroom, is a wellknown example of a dance with passages where the two dancers alternate in a kind of call-and-response manner;20 in Le Mariage de la Grosse Cathos, the passepied has several-bar passages where only the four women or the four men dance, before they join together.21 Given the distinction in movement vocabulary that must have been established in Zéphire for the two groups, ‘Ensemble’ would mean that the nymphs and zephyrs move at the same time, but not necessarily in the same way. In fact, the trajectory of the story suggests that they are not yet reconciled; after all, Cloris is still resisting Zéphire at this point. This interpretation does not preclude the use of symmetrical fgures of the kind seen in earlier choreographies. Given that this is a group dance, a nymph-zephyr couple on one side of the stage could well have been balanced by another couple on the other side, in a type of symmetry for groups seen in many images from the period. That said, the opposition between the two groups might have been maintained through the choice of different steps. Cahusac wrote about dances in which men double or triple the steps done by their female partners, which is one piece of evidence in favour of such a distinction.22 This brings us to the thorny question of the relationship between the rhythms of the music and the rhythms of the steps. The letters F, O and E never coincide with a strong beat in the music; they always start on upbeats (see Example 15.2 above). The strong beats are either marked by rests, or else they end a phrase that began on an upbeat. Yet the foundational principle of step construction, as seen in Feuillet’s Chorégraphie and in the notated choreographies from the early eighteenth century, is that the start of the step coincides with a musical accent, that is, with the downbeat of the bar; moreover, with the exception of some slow dances, each step-unit corresponds to one bar of music. So, how is the choreographer to cope with the musical writing in this piece, where even the middle of the bar – normally 20 LMC 2200 and FL/1702.1/01. 21 Rebecca Harris-Warrick and Carol G. Marsh, Musical Theatre at the Court of Louis XIV: Le Mariage de la Grosse Cathos (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1994), 169. 22 See his article ‘Danse des Lacédémoniens’ in Denis Diderot and Jean Le Rond d’Alembert (eds), Encyclopédie, ou Dictionnaire raisonné des sciences, des arts et des métiers (Paris: Briasson, 1751–72), iv (1754), 626: Les jeunes garçons doubloient les pas qu’ils faisoient dans cette danse, tandis que les jeunes flles ne les faisoient que simples ; et voilà toute la magie des deux mouvemens différens des uns et des autres en exécutant le même air. Cahusac provided a second description of this dance in La Danse ancienne et moderne, ou Traité historique de la danse (The Hague: Jean Neaulme, 1754), i, 114–16.


Hubert Hazebroucq and Rebecca Harris-Warrick

a secondary accent – is often marked by a rest? The fundamental relationships of steps to music cannot apply. Our working hypothesis is that the rests punctuating the music should punctuate the choreography as well. We thus treated the rests as momentary points of stasis, allowing for briefy held postures, while the steps leading up to them were performed on the preceding notes, without regard to their notated position within the bar, but treating each sequence of quavers as a type of autonomous ‘measure’, to which recognizable steps could be ftted. This hypothesis is reinforced by the fact that some of the components of the ‘dialogue’ have the same length (cf. the ‘fight’ and ‘opposition’ in bars 6–9), which allows an evenness in the construction of the steps, even if these do not adhere to the conventional accentual patterns. In such passages the offset rhythms imbue the movements of the dancers with a sense of urgency. It is notable that the ensemble passages are more extended and more regular than the alternations, and could lend themselves to conventional norms governing the relationship between steps and music. Because they seem more ‘danceable’, they allow for greater development in their choreographic form, with a less direct connection to the action. Video clip 15.1 ( shows a hypothetical choreography of the Air.23 Choreographer Hubert Hazebroucq performs as a nymph, Guillaume Jablonka as a zephyr.

An Unusual Sarabande The dance discussed above does not stand alone, but is followed by two passepieds, undoubtedly for the same set of characters (see below). However, this sequence of dances does not succeed in convincing Cloris to succumb to Zéphire’s charms. He continues to woo her by demonstrating his powers; birds sing, fowers rise from the ground and dance. But when Cloris reminds him of her ties to the virgin goddess Diane, Zéphire attempts to disabuse her of the error of her ways in an elaborate ariette, frst calling on Love to free the nymphs, then, in the B section, addressing his recalcitrant beloved directly. A: Vole, Amour, brise leur chaîne, Fais briller à leurs yeux ton fambeau qui me luit. B: Sous une loi trop inhumaine, Votre cœur soupire et languit. Vous courez après l’ombre vaine Du vrai bonheur qui vous fuit. A: Vole, Amour, brise leur chaîne, Fais briller à leurs yeux ton fambeau qui me luit. [A: Fly, Love, break their chains. Make your torch, which lights me, appear brilliant to their eyes. B: Your heart sighs and languishes in thrall to an inhuman law. You are chasing an empty shadow of the true happiness that eludes you. A: Fly, Love, etc.] 23 The recording of Zéphire heard on the video clips is by Les Arts Florissants, directed by William Christie (Erato 8573-85774-2).

Rameau’s dances  253 The running quavers that characterize most of the A section (see Example 15.3a) give way to a repeated turning figure when Zéphire mentions the light cast by Love’s torch (flambeau); it appears first in bars 39–41 (Example 15.3b), then reappears in the orchestral conclusion to the section. Subsequent events reveal that this figure has semiotic value in the dance immediately following, which re-enacts through movement the solution to the conflict invoked in the ariette. The example below comprises two parts, labelled (a) and (b) - see caption. (a)


Example 15.3  Excerpts from the A section of Zéphire’s ariette ‘Vole, Amour’, Zéphire, scene 5: (a) bb. 1–8; (b) bb. 37–56

254 Hubert Hazebroucq and Rebecca Harris-Warrick Following the ariette, a note appears in the autograph score, one describing the dance to follow, but apparently written before Rameau composed the music. Thomas Green and Thomas Soury have both identifed the hand as that of Cahusac, the probable librettist of Zéphire.24 D’abord apres l’ariete  : un air sur lequel une nimphe fuira un zephir. Un amour arretera cette nimphe en luy montrant son fambeau. Le zephir proftera de la surprise de la nimphe, il courra après elle, et sur cet air de mouvemens divers, l’amour, la nimphe et le zephir danseront un premier pas. Sur la fn du pas, l’amour se retirera comme en triomphe et le zephir et la nimphe continueront de danser sur l’air chantant qui suit. [Just after the ariette, an air to which a nymph will fee from a zephyr. A cupid will stop the nymph by showing her his torch. The zephyr will take advantage of the nymph’s surprise; he will run after her; and to this air with different movements, the cupid, the nymph and the zephyr will dance a frst dance. At the end of this dance, the cupid will retire in triumph, and the zephyr and the nymph will continue to dance to the vocal air that follows.] Below this, in Rameau’s hand, is written: ‘Cela est fait’ [‘This has been done’]. The dance thus prescribed is not for a group of zephyrs and nymphs, as was the earlier dance, but for one couple only. Rameau set this episode to an unorthodox sarabande – unorthodox in that the melody and rhythms look nothing like a conventional sarabande and also because it is not in binary form but consists of a single 14-bar phrase that ends on the dominant (see Example 15.4). The sung sarabande25 that follows changes the mode to the minor, introduces new melodic material and instrumental textures, and is through-composed. In this sequence it appears that the storyline drove the construction of the music. The quite precise description of the action that Rameau provided for the instrumental sarabande makes of this dance a miniature ballet fguré, one with an exposition, a crux and a dénouement – all within 14 bars of music; the cupid participates in the dance for only eight bars. An annotation at the start of the instrumental sarabande both indicates who dances and confrms the fute as the zephyrs’ instrument. Moreover, the motive of slurred, stepwise semiquavers recalls other places in the score, including the instrumental introduction to Zéphire’s arrival at the start of the opera, several passages in the ‘Air pour les groupes de feurs’, in which Zéphire conjures up beautiful fowers, as well as the quaver duplets in the Air discussed above (Example 15.2, especially bars 6 and 8); that is, this motive is strongly marked as music for Zéphire and his fellows. In the frst bar, ‘the zephyr runs up to the nymph’; in the second, in three quick bursts of rising tirades, ‘the nymph 24 Green, Early Rameau Sources, i, 328ff. See also Thomas Soury, Chapter 5 (this volume), pp. 80–93. 25 Rameau identifed the song as a sarabande, but OC does not include this annotation.

Rameau’s dances  255

Example 15.4  Zéphire, scene 5, Sarabande (instrumental)

flees from him’.26 The next three bars have no annotations, but the alternation in the motives clarifies the dancers’ back-and-forth. In bar 6 the cupid himself appears, holding a torch, his arrival being set to the same turning figure Rameau composed into the ariette where the torch is invoked (see Example 15.3b above, bars 50–1), in the same key and at the same pitch, only adjusted to the triple metre. The lengthening of the note values in bars 8–10 appears to show the seduction of the nymph, while bars 11 and 12 once again show the zephyr running. Rameau wrote nothing into the score at this passage, but these bars seem to correspond to the words ‘the zephyr will take advantage of the nymph’s surprise and run after her’.

26 This annotation, present in both the autograph and the eighteenth-century copy, is lacking in OC.


Hubert Hazebroucq and Rebecca Harris-Warrick

This sequence represents an even stronger literalness between the music and the action, with a clear translation into music of the narration, although a few uncertainties remain. The rest of Cahusac’s annotation poses a problem, because it is diffcult to understand how the two remaining bars, one of them cadential, can accommodate everything described: ‘to this air with different movements, the cupid, the nymph and the zephyr will dance a frst dance. At the end of this dance, Amour will retire in triumph’. Does this simply mean that the three dance together at the end of this very short movement, or did Rameau simply not follow through on his original idea when he composed the music? We have chosen to have all three characters dance to the last two bars, in order to round out the miniature vignette, but we nonetheless think it likely that the ‘air in different movements’ refers to the entire instrumental sarabande, which unambiguously demonstrates a variable rhythmic profle, in order to differentiate the vocal sarabande that follows. This sarabande is a dance for soloists, which implies both greater virtuosity than in the air – a group dance – and a clearer distinction among the roles. However, the same question of how steps adapt to the music re-emerges in this dance. The choreographic density of this sarabande suggests that there was probably more than one step-unit per bar; in fact, given that each beat is subdivided into semiquavers or occasionally into demisemiquavers, it may even be the case that there was one step-unit per beat. Such a radical subdivision of movement level seems in line with what Noverre wrote in regard to the coordination of music and steps in this same period: ‘The steps are multiplied; the movements are rapid and follow each other promptly; the sequences and the mixture of the rhythms are numberless’.27 Moreover, such treatment of the stepunits would ft with what we know about the expanding technique of dancers in this period and about the more complex choreographies from the end of the century.28 (See Video clip 15.2,, for for this sarabande; Robert Le Nuz, dancing the role of Amour, joins Guillaume Jablonka and Hubert Hazebroucq.) The cadence to the dominant that concludes the instrumental sarabande propels the action forward into the song for Zéphire (Example 15.5), and the long annotation in Cahusac’s hand reveals that ‘the zephyr and the nymph continue 27 Jean-Georges Noverre, Lettres sur la danse (Lyon: Delaroche, 1760), 141: ‘Les pas sont multipliés ; les mouvements sont rapides et se succèdent avec promptitude ; les enchaînements et le mêlange des temps sont sans nombre’. 28 The only notated theatrical choreographies from the end of the century, by Auguste Ferrère, come from the tradition of comic dances, but nonetheless give some idea of the technical changes that ballet had undergone during the eighteenth century; see Carol G. Marsh and Rebecca Harris-Warrick, ‘Putting together a pantomime ballet’, in Rebecca Harris-Warrick and Bruce Alan Brown (eds), The Grotesque Dancer on the Eighteenth-Century Stage: Gennaro Magri and His World (Madison: University of Wisconsin Press, 2005), 231–78, esp. 247–52. In the Ferrère manuscript itself, see in particular the tambourin for a solo man on p. 47, which shows complex ornaments in dense sequences. (See Video clip 15.6, http://www.routledge. com/9781472479266, in which Guillaume Jablonka performs a portion of this dance.)

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Example 15.5  Zéphire, scene 5, Sarabande (vocal), bb. 1–28


Hubert Hazebroucq and Rebecca Harris-Warrick

to dance to the vocal air that follows’, as does Rameau’s own instruction that Zéphire sing ‘during the pas de deux’. Setting a dance to a solo vocal air was rare in French opera, although Rameau had occasionally done so in other works.29 In this case the plan to continue the dancing during the song must have been generated before its text was written, in that the words evoke – or sometimes even describe – the movements of the dancers; here are the frst 12 of its 20 lines. Voyez ces amants heureux, Leurs pas sont l’image De leurs tendres feux. Ils ont en partage L’art de se charmer, Ils s’unissent, Ils jouissent De la douceur d’aimer. Leurs bras s’entrelacent, Dans leurs cœurs amoureux Les désirs retracent Les aimables nœuds. [Look at these happy lovers. Their steps are the image of their tender affections. They know how to charm each other. They unite, they enjoy the sweetness of love. Their arms entwine; in their amorous hearts their desires retrace their loving knots.] The clear triple metre and more regular rhythms of the sung sarabande suggest an orthodox relationship between the steps and the music, with one step-unit per bar. In fact, after the intensity of the action in the instrumental sarabande, the sung one offers a moment of harmony, where the movements of the two dancers work together with the music and the text to express the reconciliation between the nymph and the zephyr that the cupid has just effected.30 Yet the allusions to dance movements in the sung text, which suggest a degree of parallelism between the two, nonetheless come up against the construction of Rameau’s phrasing. The musical phrases mostly start on the upbeat, and the text is often sung after an instrumental motive that prefgures the vocal line (see Example 15.5 above, bars 13–18). Such a pattern implies that the action should anticipate the commentary. This is in keeping with the larger-scale phenomenon seen in French opera from Lully onwards in which, in a paired dance and

29 One example may be found in the entrée ‘La Danse’, scene 4, from Les Fêtes d’Hébé (1739), where ‘Mercure harmonizes with the oboe while singing the air danced by Églé’. 30 A yet more elaborated scene in Rameau’s Acante et Céphise, Act ii, scene 4, concludes with a set of dances preceded by the annotation ‘the ballet expresses the reconciliation of the lovers’.

Rameau’s dances



song, the dance precedes the singing of a text set to the same music. In other words, long-standing precedents presented the audience with the visual sign before it received the aural one. Cahusac himself wrote, in the article ‘Geste’ in the Encyclopédie, that the gesture should precede the word.32 In light of these considerations we have chosen to ‘mime’ some of the text just before the words are sung, particularly such lines as ‘ils s’unissent’ (they unite) or ‘leurs bras s’entrelacent’ (their arms entwine). Video clip 15.3 (http://www.routledge. com/9781472479266) shows a hypothetical choreography of both sarabandes in sequence. Choreographer Hubert Hazebroucq performs as the nymph, Guillaume Jablonka as the zephyr, with Robert Le Nuz as the cupid.

What might unannotated music suggest? The Air and the two sarabandes are the parts of Zéphire with the most numerous and informative annotations as to the dancing. These not only help us envisage some features of the choreography, they also have the potential for teaching us how to interpret musical cues in dance music that is not annotated. One point that emerges from the score of Zéphire is that whereas changes as to which characters are dancing may be accompanied by strong musical contrasts, as in the opening of the instrumental sarabande (Example 15.4 above), the distinctions may also be more subtle, as in the frst fve bars of the Air, the piece marked with F, O and E (Example 15.2 above). As noted, the Air does not stand alone, but is followed by two passepieds. Rameau did not annotate either of them, but he did build a dialogue of instrumentation into the pieces. The question we have asked ourselves is whether or not the action of the Air continues on into these dances. What does the music suggest? The entire sequence of dances is as follows. Air [pour les zéphyrs et les nymphes] (D+) ||: 13 :||: 17 :|| Premier Passepied (D+) ||: 8 :||: 18 :|| 2e Passepied (d-) ||: 8 :||: 8 :|| Premier Passepied, repeated Passepieds are numerous in the operas of Rameau; their status as a generic dance might suggest that the dancers in Zéphire should perform steps that have no dramatic meaning, whose purpose is to look pretty. Yet every generic dance 31 See Rebecca Harris-Warrick, Dance and Drama in French Baroque Opera: A History (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2016), the section ‘Text and action’ in Chapter 2, 75–8. 32 ‘Le geste au théatre doit toûjours précéder la parole  : on sent bien plutôt que la parole ne peut le dire ; & le geste est beaucoup plus preste qu’elle ; il faut des momens à la parole pour se former & pour frapper l’oreille  ; le geste que la sensibilité rend agile, part toûjours au moment même où l’ame éprouve le sentiment’. In Diderot and d’Alembert (eds), Encyclopédie, vii (1757), 652.

260 Hubert Hazebroucq and Rebecca Harris-Warrick in an opera has a context that merits scrutiny before an interpretation is offered, and every dance, generic or otherwise, has its own musical contours that also impact any potential interpretation. In this case, the mere fact of the passepieds’ presence in this scene means that they have some kind of relationship to the Air they follow – the question being what that relationship is. Our frst observation was that in both passepieds there are dialogues between groups of instruments (see Example 15.6a and b). In the frst passepied unison bassoons are answered after two bars at the start of each strain by strings doubled by futes; in the second half of the second strain the futes take the lead, answered by the strings and bassoons. The dialogues in the second passepied operate at shorter intervals, although once again the bassoons and the futes fgure prominently. At the same time, each strain in both passepieds ends with four bars where all the instruments play. These compositional choices on the part of Rameau seemed to us to indicate that the ‘fight’, ‘opposition’ and ‘ensemble’ of the Air should continue into the passepieds. In fact, passepieds make particular sense in this context, since the passepied is a fast dance, one whose steps can be seen as evoking running or fight. In constructing a hypothetical choreography of the frst passepied, we have proposed two possible scenarios. In the A sections of both we chose to retain the alternation of actions between the nymphs and the zephyrs, although given that the passepied is a generic dance, we made the action less insistent and somewhat more stylized. In the B section we composed two different options, one that adheres more closely to the musical structure than does the other. Video clip 15.4 ( shows a version in which the choreography imitates the question-and-answer structure of the music – in other words, that retains the fight, opposition and ensemble, and permits a variety of affects that emphasize the relationship between the members of each couple. Video clip 15.5 ( shows, in both B sections, a geometrical fgure of the type seen in notated choreographies from the beginning of the eighteenth century, one that evokes a continuous and whirling pursuit which could depict, by analogy, the rapport between the nymphs and the zephyrs. Whereas both scenarios ‘work’ as choreographies, the frst seemed to us more convincing, especially when we considered that at this point in the story line Cloris is still resisting Zéphire’s advances. A choreography of the complete sequence, one that included all three passepieds and a full complement of dancers, would de-emphasize individuals in favour of group effects, but would still allow for the play of contrasts. The Air can be seen as exposition, while the passepieds transform the situation into choreographic play, with the number of dancers undoubtedly varying across the divertissement as a whole.33 The second passepied, which has a quicker rate of exchange in its phrases than does the frst, exaggerates the alternation and 33 Whereas the music for the frst passepied repeats, all evidence points in the direction of a new choreography for repeated music. On divertissement structures, see Harris-Warrick, Dance and Drama, Chapter 4, ‘Dance practices on stage’, 105–40.

Rameau’s dances  261 (a)


Example 15.6  Zéphire, scene 5, (a) Passepied i, (b) Passepied ii

demands greater rhythmic virtuosity from the dancers – an observation that might suggest that it was intended for a single couple. A new group dance, set to the repeat of the first passepied, would then round off the divertissement.

262  Hubert Hazebroucq and Rebecca Harris-Warrick

Conclusion The sequences found in Zéphire are exceptional only in that Rameau provided hints in his own hand as to their choreography; numerous dance pieces from across his output have striking musical contrasts that seem to call for more than one group of dancers and contrasting physical responses. The Loure grave from scene 7 of ‘La Danse’ in Les Fêtes d’Hébé alternates phrases in a low register and heavy rhythms with bird-like warbling for the petites flutes (see Example 15.7); something more stimulating and varied than repeated step-units by a single group of dancers must be going on. Noverre even seems to allude to this type of piece when he praises Rameau for the ‘conversations’ his dance music features: ‘It is to the varied and harmonious compositions of Monsieur Rameau, to the beautiful moments and witty conversations that govern his airs, that dance owes all its progress’.34

Example 15.7  Rameau, Les Fêtes d’Hébé (1739), iii, 7, Loure grave (viola parts omitted). The dancers on stage are Terpsichore, her Nymphs, Fauns and Satyrs. 34 ‘C’est à la composition variée et harmonieuse de M. Rameau ; c’est aux traits et aux conversations spirituelles qui régnent dans ses airs, que la Danse doit tous ses progrès’. Lettres sur la danse, 143–4.

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We began our investigation from Girdlestone’s claim that Rameau’s dances ‘impose physical movement’ and ‘dictate the details of the dancers’ mimicry’. From these initial experiments we have concluded that a good deal of Rameau’s dance music is, indeed, grounded in a kind of gestural literalism that many people in the twenty-frst century tend to fnd incompatible with their aesthetic sensibilities. But at the same time Rameau seems to have envisaged a balance between dance as action and more formal moments, such that a divertissement in its entirety – or even a single dance – may lay out a situation in danced actions that evolve into movements intended to be read by the audience as ‘dance’. Our work with the dances in Zéphire has convinced us that anyone interested either in understanding Rameau’s conceptualization of his dance music or in historically informed performances, should be attentive to the micro-structures he built into his dances and to the codes implicit in his instrumentation. That said, even this level of detail cannot ‘impose the details of the dancers’ mimicry’. Rameau provides us with only a sketch, whose colours and forms must be flled in by a sensitive choreographer.

16 Through the Mercure’s lens Mid-eighteenth-century acting styles and vocal aesthetics at the Paris Opéra Thomas Green It is interesting to observe how eagerly some of us run to check reviews of an operatic performance we have been unable to attend. Hoping for an expert critical opinion, we might be charmed or fascinated by eloquent language, but ultimately puzzled by musical commentary that seems vague and formulaic. In fact, journalism may not always be the most reliable source of descriptive information about a musical performance. Although basic facts may be correct, almost any journalist will have a bias, whether for or against an author, composer, performer, style or institution. Furthermore, journalists often have an agenda to follow with respect to both an employer and an audience. Such writers also have limitations in terms of their education and interests, the topics they are expected to explore, the space they are allotted, and the depth of their insight. That said, the best critics know how to capture the essence of a performance, both in terms of what actually happens on stage, and in terms of its effect on the audience. The music criticism in the Mercure de France of the Rameau era should be read with an array of different but often overlapping considerations in mind. Although the Mercure had a clear mandate to inform, to educate and to entertain, issues were normally approved by a royal censor, and the journal’s editorial principles varied over a long and complex series of administrations. The owner of the royal privilege to publish the Mercure may have been the editor, but he was not always the author of unsigned material. Furthermore, an author’s choice of words and expressions can sometimes be open to interpretation – especially in translation. Finally, few articles describe a performance in the kind of detail we might like to see. Still, the reviews contained therein provide an interesting commentary on operatic performance during the Rameau era. They enhance our knowledge of the singers involved and throw light on how they were received. Before considering some of these reviews, let us briefy establish the parameters of the successive administrations governing the Mercure de France during the Rameau era, and identify at least some of the authors of the music criticism it published. From November 1724 to October 1744, the privilege to publish the Mercure was held by Antoine de La Roque.1 From June 1721 1 For brief overviews of the tenure of successive editors of the Mercure de France in the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries, see the Mercure de France, May 1760, 130–1, and Etienne

DOI: 10.4324/9781315554990-21

Acting styles and vocal aesthetics


to October 1724, La Roque had shared the privilege with two collaborators, including Louis Fuzelier, a playwright whose opera libretti eventually included the text for Rameau’s Les Indes galantes. Fuzelier likely wrote at least some of the Mercure’s opera reviews even after La Roque was named sole benefciary of the privilege in 1724. Shortly after La Roque’s death, the privilege passed into the hands of Fuzelier and a second playwright, Charles-Antoine Le Clerc de La Bruère, who eventually provided Rameau with the librettos for Dardanus and Linus.2 Although Fuzelier and La Bruère retained the privilege to publish the Mercure until their deaths, in 1752 and 1754 respectively, their joint editorship apparently ended in the late 1740s. Evidence suggests that Fuzelier, not La Bruère, may have been the author of most of the opera reviews that the Mercure published between 1744 and 1750. In a footnote to the article ‘Spectacles’ in the February 1750 issue, Pierre Rémond de Saint-Albine indicates that he himself had supplied the theatre reviews because Fuzelier, the usual source, was indisposed.3 Saint-Albine served as editor of the Mercure from July 1748 to June 1750. His tenure was followed by that of Guillaume-Thomas Raynal, who served as editor from July 1750 until December 1754. For the remainder of the 1750s and well into the 1760s, the privilege to publish the Mercure was held by a series of three literary fgures with clear connections to Louis xv’s mistress, Madame de Pompadour. In fact, each successive editor received his appointment thanks to Pompadour’s patronage.4 Louis de Boissy acquired the privilege in January 1755 and held it until April 1758. Four months later, in August 1758, the privilege was acquired by Jean-François Marmontel, who remained editor until January 1760. Boissy was an established playwright and Marmontel had published tragedies and opera libretti by the Deville, Index du Mercure de France, 1672–1832 (Paris: Jean Schemit, 1910), ix–xvii. For an overview of the administration of the Mercure during the Rameau era that differs slightly from the one presented here, see David Charlton, Opera in the Age of Rousseau: Music, Confrontation, Realism (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2013), 218. I wish to thank Professor Charlton for drawing my attention to his own work on the operatic reportage in the Mercure de France. 2 On La Bruère’s collaboration with Rameau, see Marie Demeilliez’s chapter (Chapter 7) in this volume (pp. 113–26). 3 Mercure, February 1750, 185n: M. Fuselier, étant indisposé, n’a pû composer cet article dont il se charge ordinairement. Ainsi M. Remond de Sainte Albine, qui pour la partie des Spectacles a coûtume de ne se méler que des extraits des Piéces nouvelles, a été obligé de suppléer, au défaut de son ami. For the full context of this and many of the other passages from the Mercure cited in this chapter, see the issues available at;4 [accessed 25 September 2019]. 4 See Hervé Guenot, ‘Louis de Boissy’, Jean Sgard, ‘Pierre de La Place’ and Jacques Wagner, ‘Jean-François Marmontel’, in the Edition électronique revue, corrigée et augmentée du Dictionnaire des Journalistes (Oxford: Voltaire Foundation, 2011), http://dictionnaire-journalistes. [accessed 25 September 2019]. See also Jacques Wagner, Marmontel journaliste et le Mercure de France (1725–1761) (Grenoble: Presses Universitaires de Grenoble, 1973).

266 Thomas Green time each received the privilege to publish the Mercure. Pierre-Antoine de La Place, who held this privilege from January 1760 until his death in June 1768, was known chiefy for his translations of English-language plays.5 As we shall see, these respective editors of the Mercure in this later period may not have been responsible for writing the opera reviews it contains. Although Paris Opéra productions were normally mentioned and often reviewed in the Mercure de France of the Rameau era, one notices a dramatic shift in the reviewer’s focus when comparing reviews from the 1730s to those from the 1760s. Comments about reception arise across the board, but earlier reviews focus on aspects of the libretti and, to a lesser extent, on the composer’s score, whereas many of the later reviews focus on aspects of the actual performance. Thus the Mercure provides few details about the frst production of Hippolyte et Aricie other than a cast list and comments on content and reception. Nonetheless, we can perhaps imagine some of the lead singers’ qualities from reviews of other Paris Opéra productions. For example, Marie Antier, who appeared as Rameau’s frst Phèdre in November 1733, was praised for her performance in a revival of Joseph-François Salomon’s Médée et Jason in December 1736. According to the Mercure, the role of Médée had never been performed with as much fnesse, conviction or naturalness.6 In February 1731, Marie Pelissier, who later appeared as Rameau’s frst Aricie, was praised for her taste in singing and acting when cast in the role of Théone in a revival of Lully’s Phaëton.7 In October 1732, when she performed the lead role in

5 See Lillian Cobb, Pierre-Antoine de La Place: sa vie et son œuvre (1707–1793) (Paris: E. de Brocard, 1928), 112–47. 6 Mercure, December 1736, 2755: La Dlle Antier, premiere Actrice de l’Académie Royale de Musique, et la premiere de toutes celles de sa profession, continue de remplir le principal Rôle, au gré du Public et des Spectateurs les plus délicats et les plus diffciles : en effet, le caractere de Medée n’a jamais été exprimé avec tant de fnesse, de force, et de naturel. For further details concerning the career and performance style of Marie Antier and other singers discussed in this article, see Sylvie Bouissou, Pascal Denécheau and France MarchalNinosque (eds), Dictionnaire de l’Opéra de Paris sous l’Ancien Régime, 4 vols (Paris: Garnier, 2019–20), Emile Campardon, L’Académie Royale de Musique au XVIIIe siècle, 2 vols (Paris: Berger-Levrault et Cie, 1884), Mary Cyr, ‘Eighteenth-century French and Italian Singing: Rameau’s Writing for the Voice’, Music & Letters 61 (1980), 318–37, Edouard Grégoir, Des Gloires de l’opéra et la musique à Paris: Documents recueillis sur l’Opéra et autres théâtres à Paris et sur tout ce qui a rapport à l’art musical en cette ville jusqu’à l’anneé 1880, 2 vols (Bruxelles: Schott, 1878/1881), Arthur Pougin, Pierre Jélyotte et les chanteurs de son temps (Paris: Librairie Fischbacher, 1905), J.-G. Prod’homme, ‘Marie Fel (1713–1794)’, in SIM 4 (1903), 485–518 and Graham Sadler, ‘Rameau’s Singers and Players at the Paris Opera: A Little-known Inventory of 1738’, Early Music 11 (1983), 453–66. 7 Mercure, February 1731, 341: On a changé la disposition de quelques Rôles, et on les trouve plus avantageusement remplis  ; […] celui de Théone, par la Dlle Pélissier, dont on connoît les grands talens pour le goût du chant et l’action théatrale. L’intérêt qu’elle a sçu mettre dans ce Rôle, augmente beaucoup le nombre de ses partisans.

Acting styles and vocal aesthetics


a revival of Theobaldo di Gatti’s Scylla, the reviewer expressed admiration for the lightness of her voice and the accuracy and ‘soul’ of her singing.8 One singer who was often cited for her exemplary performances at the Paris Opéra in the 1730s and 1740s was Catherine-Nicole Le Maure. In its December 1721 review of a revival of Lully’s Phaëton, the Mercure cited the grace and expression she showed in her face, eyes and gestures in interpreting the role of Astrée, then compared her voice favourably to that of Marie Le Rochois, who had acquired fame as one of Lully’s principal interpreters.9 Five years later, the Mercure praised Le Maure’s beautiful voice and the simple, noble and natural acting style she displayed when cast as Thisbé in the frst production of Rebel and Francœur’s Pirame et Thisbé.10 As Iphise in the frst production of Montéclair’s Jepthé in 1732, she reportedly performed with all the grace, sensitivity and nobility one might desire.11 Her performance in a revival of La Coste’s Philomèle in November 1734 was equally remarkable. Describing her performance as Philomèle in Act iv, the Mercure’s reviewer wrote that ‘everything about her speaks, and the pleasure of watching her may even exceed the pleasure of hearing her’.12 In March 1740, Le Maure made a triumphal return to the stage of the Paris Opéra after an absence of about fve years. Describing her performance as Iphise in a revival of Montéclair’s Jepthé, the Mercure reported that she had preserved both her entire vocal range and the graceful and natural approach that audiences remembered.13 8 Here the Mercure’s praise (October 1732, 2250) was occasioned by a specifc piece, Scylla’s Act iv monologue: Dans l’esperance qu’elle a que Minos l’obtiendra de la main de son Pere, elle chante un Monologue, avec un Double, qui fait admirer de tout le monde la légéreté de sa voix et la propreté et l’ame de son chant. 9 Mercure, December 1721, 91: L’Academie Royale de Musique […] continue toujours les représentations de Phaëton. Mais nous ne devons pas passer sans silence la Dlle Maure, jeune personne qui vient de chanter le Rôle d’Astrée dans le Prologue de cet Opera. On lui trouve les graces et de l’expression dans le visage, dans les yeux & dans le geste ; & pour la voix, on ne la compare pas mois qu’à la Mlle Rochoys, la plus fameuse Actrice qui ait paru sur ce Theatre. 10 Mercure, December 1726 (ii), 2954: [Le 26 décembre,] la Dlle le Maure, après une longue absence, reparut sur le Theatre de l’Opera, dans le rôle de Thisbé, à la grande satisfaction du Public, qui par des applaudissemens redoublez, rendit justice à sa belle voix, & à son jeu simple, noble & naturel. 11 Mercure, March 1732, 587: la Dlle le Maure, dans le Rôle d’Iphise, joint à la plus belle voix du monde, toutes les graces, toute la sensibilité et toute la noblesse qu’on peut souhaiter. 12 Mercure, December 1734 (i), 1701–2: L’auteur la fait paroître dans un délire qui rend l’action présente aux yeux des Spectateurs ; la Poësie en est très-belle, la Dlle Lemaure l’anime par sa belle voix et par un jeu qu’on ne sçaurait assez louer. Tout parle en elle, et le seul plaisir de la voir peut disputer de préference au plaisir de l’entendre. 13 Mercure, March 1740, 572: ‘on trouve que cette actrice a conservé toute l’étenduë de sa voix, avec les graces & le naturel que tout le monde lui connoît’.


Thomas Green

Around the mid-1730s, the Mercure began to describe the debut of young singers who were included in regular performances at the Paris Opéra. Sometimes the novice would make a brief appearance, singing a familiar air or ariette from a different work. Sometimes the young performer was cast in a fairly minor role in the work at hand. The practice clearly ran parallel to one at the Comédie-Française, where emerging actors were introduced for a single performance or for a trial run. The Mercure’s critical commentary often focused on the quality and range of the young singer’s voice, the singer’s skill at declamation, and the acting ability he or she demonstrated. In the 1742 revival of Hippolyte et Aricie, for example, the role of Diane was sung on 6 November by a ‘Mlle Gondrée’, a niece of Marie Antier. Although she reportedly received polite applause, the Mercure’s reviewer suggested that she could beneft from her aunt’s guidance both in the art of singing and the art of declamation.14 About a decade later, in July 1751, a new haute-contre, a ‘Monsieur Dancourt’, made his debut with the ariette ‘Jeune beauté’ in a revival of Mouret’s Les Grâces. The reviewer complimented him on his relatively wide vocal range, on the fexibility of his voice, on his beautiful tone in the lower register, on his pleasing middle register and on his ornamentation. He then suggested that more self-assurance and practice on stage would enable him to develop upper-register, tapered notes that sounded rich and stayed in tune.15 The reviewer stressed his attractive appearance and added that nothing shocking or disagreeable had been noticed in Dancourt’s acting when he performed the role of Valère in a revival of Les Indes galantes a few days after his offcial debut.16 14 Mercure, November 1742, 2523–4: Le 11. Novembre, l’Académie Royale de Musique donna la derniére représentation d’Hippolite & Aricie. La Dlle Gondrée, jeune personne qui a la voix fort belle & beaucoup de talens, avoit chanté le 6, le Rôle d Diane, dans le même Opera, avec beaucoup d’aplaudissement. Cette nouvelle Actrice est niece de la Dlle Antier, dont les sublimes talens son connus à la Cour & à la Ville. Il y a d’autant plus lieu d’esperer que la jeune personne, qui donne lieu à cet Article, fera de grands progrès, que son Illustre Tante prend soin de son éducation & lui montre l’Art du chant & de la déclamation. Despite her auspicious debut, and the coaching opportunities she presumably had, Jeanne-Louise Gondrée never attained the position of lead singer at the Paris Opéra. See Sylvie Bouissou et al., (eds), Dictionnaire de l’Opéra de Paris sous l’Ancien Régime, vol 2, 865–6 and Pougin, Pierre Jélyotte et les chanteurs de son temps, 117–18. 15 Mercure, August 1751, 147: Monsieur Dancourt, nouvelle Haute-Contre, a débuté le 9 Juillet, à l’Opéra par l’Ariette, Jeune beauté, de l’Opéra des Graces, de feu M. Mouret. On a trouvé à ce nouvel Acteur de l’étendue dans la voix, de très-beaux sons dans le bas, le medium assez agréable, des cadences & de la fexibilité. Il faut esperer que plus d’assurance, & d’habitude du Théatre, lui seront donner dans le haut des sons flés, justes & nourris. 16 Mercure, August 1751, 147: Il est d’autant plus à souhaiter que cet Acteur se perfectionne, qu’il a une fgure fort avantageuse, & que dans le rôle de Valére, qu’il a joué quelques jours après son début, on n’a rien trouvé de choquant, ni de désagréable dans son jeu, ce qui est beaucoup pour un débutant. Au reste quand il ne seroit propre qu’au rôle de haute-taille, il rempliroit à cet égard un grand vuide à l’Opéra.

Acting styles and vocal aesthetics


Marie Fel and Pierre Jéliote, whose names became synonymous with lead roles in productions of Rameau operas in the 1740s and 1750s, both made their Paris Opéra début in the 1730s. Jéliote created several of the haute-contre roles in Les Indes galantes in 1735 as well as the role of Dardanus in 1739. Fel’s emergence was less auspicious, but she did sing the role of Hébé in the prologue to Les Fêtes d’Hébé in 1739. Unfortunately, we learn virtually nothing about these performers’ acting styles or vocal aesthetics from Mercure reviews of the 1730s. Enthusiastic, although frustratingly brief, reviews of operatic performances by both singers begin to appear in the 1740s. In October 1745, when Fel appeared after a long illness as Argélie in the frst production of Rameau’s Les Fêtes de Polymnie, the Mercure observed that her voice was more beautiful than ever and that her impeccable taste in singing was undiminished.17 As for Jéliote, we are told that the audience admired the artistry he demonstrated in singing Mercure’s ariette ‘L’objet qui règne en mon âme’ in the August 1747 revival of Les Fêtes d’Hébé. He evidently decorated the vocal line with embellishments or variations in such a way that the music seemed new in each performance.18 Four years later, in a review of the frst production of Rameau’s La Guirlande, the Mercure mentioned further evidence of Jéliote’s and Fel’s special talents. The reviewer observed that the audience appreciated the well-declaimed recitative, the attractive vocal lines that the two singers had embellished with graceful ornamentation, and the naturally light timbre of their voices.19 Fel and Jéliote undoubtedly had charming voices, but they were evidently not the strongest actors in the Opéra’s troupe. In fact, references to their performances in the Mercure and elsewhere tend to focus on the beauty of their singing and say relatively little about their acting skills. A rare reference to the expressive quality of their performances appears in a review of Mondonville’s Daphnis et Alcimadure in the late fall of 1754. Here the reviewer indicates that Jéliote’s and Fel’s interpretations succeeded on the strength of a vocal art that was enhanced by effective facial expression and refned acting skills.20 17 Mercure, October 1745, 152: Mlle Fel qu’une longue & dangereuse maladie avoit forcée de s’absenter du Théatre pendant plusieurs mois, a reparu dans ce Ballet : les applaudissemens réitérés qu’elle a reçus montrent combine le public est équitable, & Mlle. Fel a justifé ces applaudissemens par la façon dont elle a chanté le rôle d’Argelie ; sa voix est plus belle que jamais ; nous ne dirons rien du goût avec lequel elle chante, nous n’apprendrions rien à personne. 18 Mercure, August 1747, 108: ‘On a admiré également & l’ariette de cet acte [“L’objet qui règne dans mon âme”] & l’art avec lequel M. Jeliotte l’a chanté, la faisant paroître nouvelle à chaque représentation par les variations qu’il y met’. 19 Mercure, November 1751, 142: On a trouvé dans cet ouvrage, mis en Musique par le célèbre M. Rameau, un récitatif très-bien déclamé, un chant varié & agréable, que Mlle Fel & M. Jeliote ont encore embelli par les graces & la legéreté de leur voix. 20 Mercure, December 1754, 210–11: [Les rolles] d’Alcimadure & de Daphnis ont été rendus par Mlle Fel & Mr Jeliote. Ils sont si supérieurs l’un & l’autre, lorsqu’ils chantent le François, qu’il est aisé de juger du charme de leur voix, de la fnesse de leur expression, de la perfection de leurs traits, en rendant le langage du pays riant auquel nous devons leur naissance.

270 Thomas Green Marie-Jeanne Chevalier was one lead singer of the Rameau era whose acting skills were frequently praised in the Mercure. The journal frst mentions her in its November 1741 review of the frst production of Mouret’s Le Temple de Gnide. According to the reviewer, her performance in the role of Vénus was perfectly satisfying, and the beauty both of her voice and of her ornamentation was impressive.21 In its review of a revival of Destouches’ Issé in April 1742, the Mercure described Chevalier as a ‘new actress’ whose performances in the title role had been well received.22 In December 1744, she apparently far exceeded the public’s expectations when she sang the role of Médée in a revival of Lully’s Thésée.23 Two years later, in the winter of 1746, she garnered praise for her appearances in the title role of Lully’s Armide. An anonymous poem in the Mercure cites her wide range, pleasing tone, gracious gestures and noble stance.24 A second poem expresses astonishment at the extent to which she had mastered the role of Armide given the limited number of training sessions she had received. It indicates that she was an expressive singer who knew how to communicate sudden changes of emotion. Her voice and her eyes apparently worked in tandem to strike, move and surprise. As Armide, she evidently cast a spell not only over Renaud but also over her audience.25

Pougin (Pierre Jélyotte et les chanteurs de son temps, 201–8) cites references to Fel’s and Jéliote’s performance abilities in sources as diverse as Charles Collé’s Journal historique, Pierre d’Aquin de Château-Lyon’s Siècle littéraire de Louis XV, Joseph La Porte’s Anecdotes dramatiques, Melchior Grimm’s Correspondence littéraire, Jean-François Marmontel’s Mémoires and in several of the brochures that were published as part of the Querelle des Bouffons. Further study of such references will no doubt yield a more complete picture of these lead singers’ abilities. 21 Mercure, November 1741, 2468: La Dlle Chevalier, qui a fait le role de Venus, s’en est parfaitement acquitée, elle brille beaucoup par la beauté de sa voix & par celle de ces cadences. 22 Mercure, April 1742, 796: Le 3 Avril, l’Académie Royale de Musique, ft l’ouverture du Théatre, & redonna la Pastorale d’Issé, dont le premier Rôle avoit été chanté ci-devant par la Dlle le Maure, fort au gré du Public. La Dlle Chevalier, nouvelle Actrice, remplit le même Rôle à cette reprise avec beaucoup d’aplaudissement. 23 Mercure, December 1744, 140–1: Les Rolles sont exécutés comme on l’esperoit des Acteurs qui les remplissent. Mlle. Chevalier a infniment surpassé l’attente du Public dans celui de Medée. Cette Actrice fait des progrès rapides qui marquent son gout et son application. 24 Mercure, February 1746, 151: Lorsque l’on vous donna ce rolle diffcile | Où vous charmez toute la ville, | En nous peignant si bien Armide & ses fureurs, | On consulta vos sons étendus & fateurs, | Vos gestes gracieux, votre air plein de noblesse […]. 25 Mercure, February 1746, 152: Armide, est-il quelqu’un qui puisse vous entendre, | Sans admirer des sons si beaux ? | Non, vos rivales même ont peine à s’en défendre. | De si peu de leçons avoit-on lieu d’attendre | Qu’on vous verroit monter à des succès si hauts ? | Que vous exprimez bien ! que vous sçavez bien rendre | Des mouvemens du coeur les differens tableaux ! | Tour à tour furieuse & tendre, | Votre voix & vos yeux s’accordent à propos, | Pour fraper, émouver,

Acting styles and vocal aesthetics


Chevalier’s performances as Armide in the winter of 1746 signalled the beginning of her mature career. Fifteen years later, in March 1761, the Mercure praised her performance as Almasie in a revival of Montéclair’s Jepthé. This time, the reviewer noted that her noble and propitious bearing provided a convincing portrayal of Almasie’s character as described in the libretto, and that ‘the supreme intelligence of her delivery in singing, informed by her long theatrical experience, ensured that the interesting details of the text and the appropriateness of the musical declamation were fully appreciated’.26 The debut performance of Marie-Jeanne Lemière was apparently among the most successful of the early 1750s. Along with her eventual husband, Henri Larrivée, she became a highly respected member of the Opéra’s troupe well into the 1770s. In February 1750, the Mercure applauded the intelligence, taste and precision of Lemière’s singing when she made her debut at age 17 as Clarice in the prologue to Mondonville’s Le Carnaval du Parnasse.27 By the spring of 1759, when Lemière sang the title role in Lully’s Proserpine, she had reportedly made astonishing progress. According to the Mercure, Everyone was in agreement about her charming voice and the lightness, delicacy, art and good taste of her singing, but in applauding her performances of brilliant and light pieces people thought she was destined only for such works. When Mlle Lemiére replaced an indisposed Mlle Riviere in the role of Proserpine, we suddenly saw the birth of her talent for the scène pathétique, with a touching expression and a true, noble, varied acting style that was full of propriety and warmth. All the passions are depicted on her face, which until then expressed only a gentle and tranquil gaiety. In a word, people seemed to witness the debut of a new actrice with a consummate talent.28 surprendre ; | Le charme qui dompta votre jeune héros, | Chés nous, quand vous chantez, vient d’abord se repandre ; | De tous les spectateurs vous faites des Renauds. 26 Mercure, March 1761, 155: Les rôles, dans cette reprise, sont en général bien rendus. Dans celui d’Almasie, la stature noble & avantageuse de Mlle Chevalier, donne la représentation du Personnage indiqué par le Poëme  ; & l’inestimable intelligence du débit, dans le chant, secondée de l’usage du Théâtre, fait sentir tous les détails intéressans des vers & la justesse de la déclamation musicale. 27 Mercure, February 1750, 186: Mlle le Miere, jeune personne d’environ dix-sept ans, qui joint aux charmes de la fgure une voix parfaitement belle, débuta le 15 dans le Prologue du même Opéra. Elle chanta le rôle de Clarice avec une intelligence, un goût, & une précision, qui répondent à l’idée qu’on avoit conçue d’elle par la maniere dont elle avoit chanté le 8 Décembre au Concert Spirituel. 28 Mercure, June 1759, 197: Mlle Lemiere a passé de bien loin celles qu’on avoit conçues de ses talens, dans le rôle de Proserpine. Tout le monde étoit d’accord sur les charmes de sa voix, sur la légéreté, la délicatesse, l’art & le goût de son chant  ; mais en l’applaudissant avec transport dans les morceaux brillans & légers, on l’y croyoit uniquement destinée. L’indisposition de Mlle. Riviere a mis Mlle Lemiere dans l’heureuse nécessité de la remplacer dans le rôle de Proserpine ; & tout à-coup on a vû éclore en elle le talent de la scène pathétique, une expression


Thomas Green

Four years younger than Lemière, Henri Larrivée received praise in the Mercure for his convincing character portrayal in the role of Lycomède in the December 1757 revival of Lully’s Alceste. According to the reviewer, he was a master of illusion whose magic enabled him to transform faws into strengths, and whose ardour was completely gripping.29 Larrivée’s performance in the role of King Teucer in the April 1760 revival of Rameau’s Dardanus elicited even greater enthusiasm. In addressing the Phoenicians at the entrance to his palace in Act III, his noble fgure was immediately striking, and he reportedly delivered his message in support of Dardanus with all the strength and dignity it required.30 Commenting further on his interpretation of the roles of Teucer and Isménor in the ffth performance of the work, the reviewer stated that Larrivée fulflled all the promise of his talent. ‘His voice, although strong, is light, without breathiness, and without harshness. Action seems to produce some huskiness, but this defect, if it is one, is normal in those whose baritone voice and physique manifest themselves too early’.31 One of the most remarkable debut performances during the Rameau era took place on 15 December 1757, just six days after Larrivée’s frst appearance as Licomède, when 17-year-old Sophie Arnould sang an air entitled ‘Charmant amour’ that had been inserted into the frst-act divertissement of Mouret’s Les Amours des dieux.32 The Mercure’s reviewer noted that Arnould had a charming voice and that the audience applauded her several times even though her extreme timidity sometimes masked the beautiful sounds she produced.33 touchante, un jeu vrai, noble, varié, plein de décence & de chaleur. Toutes les passions se sont peintes sur ce visage, qui jusqu’alors n’avoit exprimé qu’une gaité douce & tranquile : en un mot, l’on a cru voir débuter une Actrice nouvelle avec un talent consommé. 29 Mercure, January 1758 (i), 156: M. Larrivée a rendu Lycomede, de maniere que d’un second rôle il en a presque fait un premier. Voilà le pouvoir ou la magie du vrai talent : il a l’art de créer ou de perfectionner tout ce qu’il représente, & fait illusion au point qu’il donne souvent aux défauts l’éclat des beautés. Tout dans cet Opera a signalé son zele jusqu’aux Confdens. 30 Mercure, June 1760, 202–3: C’est le Roi lui-même, qui sort avec vivacité, & dont la noble & fère contenance étonne, arrête les mutins …. Ces beaux vers, débités par le Sr Larrivcée, avec toute la force & la dignité qu’ils exigent, produisent tout leur effet. 31 Mercure, June 1760, 210: Le sueur Larrivée, dans ceux de Teucer & d’Isménor, a chanté & joué de façon à confrmer toutes les espérances que l’on avoit conçues de ses talens. Sa voix, quoique forte, est légère, sans voile, & sans rudesse. L’action semble lui donner un peu d’enroûment : mais, ce déffaut, s’il en est un, est ordinaire dans ceux à qui la voix & le corps de base taille se déclarent trop tôt. 32 For a detailed overview and assessment of the reportage surrounding Arnould’s debut and early career at the Paris Opéra, see Raphaëlle Legrand, ‘Les Débuts de Sophie Arnould à l’Opéra (1757–1760): Images de l’actrice chantante et de son repertoire’, Musurgia 11 (2004), 21–36. 33 Mercure, January 1758 (i), 151: ‘Elle joint une très-jolie fgure à une voix charmante. Quoique son extrême timidité ait dérobé une partie de ses beaux sons, ils ont surpris et charmé le Public, qui l’a applaudie à plusieurs reprises’. Although the Mercure specifes only one air sung by Arnould in this performance, the reference to several rounds of applause suggests that she may have sung other pieces later in the opera.

Acting styles and vocal aesthetics


The reviewer’s enthusiasm became more pronounced as the production continued. Noting that Arnould combined the attributes of an attractive face, a beautiful voice and warmth of sentiment, he proclaimed that ‘she is full of expression and soul. Her voice is more than tender – it is passionate. The communicative sound of her voice carries a fame into the coldest heart’. He noted further that Arnould was working under the tutelage of two great teachers – Marie Fel, her vocal instructor, and La Clairon, one of the leading actrices at the Comédie-Française.34 Within the space of just four months, Arnould appeared in three more Paris Opéra productions. Beginning on 31 January, she sang the principal role in Mouret’s ‘La Provençale’, which had been added to the production of Les Amours des dieux,35 and on 15 April she appeared as Vénus in Dauvergne’s Enée et Lavinie after frst having been cast as Une Troyenne.36 Just three days later, she sang the role of Lavinie for the frst of many times, prompting the Mercure to proclaim that her success was complete: ‘In fact, the tragic genre appears to suit her best […] Her gestures are noble without pomp and expressive without grimace. Her acting is vivid and does not stray from la belle nature’.37 Beginning on 9 May, Arnould appeared as Psyché in the Opéra’s revival of Mondonville’s Les Fêtes de Paphos.38 Rameau was probably not insensitive to the potential of this rising star, particularly in the wake of his rapprochement with the directors of the Paris Opéra, Rebel and Francœur, who had granted him a pension soon after assuming control of the Académie Royale de Musique in the spring of 1757.39 34 Mercure, January 1758 (ii), 163: Le second air qu’elle chante, a mieux developpé l’étendue de son talent. Elle rassemble en elle les graces de la fgure, la beauté de l’organe & la chaleur du sentiment. Elle est pleine d’expression & d’ame. Sa voix est mieux que tendre, elle est passionnée. Ses sons animés portent la famme dans le coeur le plus froid. […] On dit que deux grandes maîtresses veulent bien partager la gloire de l’instruire ; que Mlle Fel lui montre l’art du chant, & Mlle Clairon forme son jeu. 35 Mercure, March 1758, 185: ‘Mlle Arnould a représenté la jeune Provinciale, avec les graces ingénues de son age’. 36 Mercure, May 1758, 181: Le rôle de Vénus qui est dans le quatrième acte de l’opéra d’Enée & Lavinie, a été chanté le vendredi 15 Avril par Mlle Arnoud. C’est son coup d’essai dans la Tragédie. Le Public a vu avec grand plaisir qu’elle n’y était pas déplacée. See also Legrand, ‘Les Débuts de Sophie Arnould à l’Opéra (1757–1760)’, 25. 37 Mercure, June 1758, 177: Le mardi 18 Avril Mlle Arnould a joué pour la premiere fois le rôle de Lavinie. Son succès a été complet. Le tragique paroît même le genre qui lui convient le mieux. C’est du moins celui où elle a paru dans le plus beau jour. Ses gestes sont nobles sans ferté, & expressifs sans grimaces. Son jeu est vif et animé, et ne sort point de la belle nature. Concerning ‘la belle nature’ as an eighteenth-century aesthetic concept, see Charles Batteux, Les Beaux Arts réduits à un même principe (Paris: Durand, 1746), Nathalie Kremer, Préliminaires à la théorie esthétique du XVIIIe siècle (Paris: KIME, 2008) and Anne Eilsabeth Sejten, Diderot, ou Le déf esthétique; les écrits de jeunesse, 1746–1751 (Paris: Vrin, 2000), 198–204. 38 See Mercure, July 1758, 173–4. 39 See Mercure, May 1757, 194.

274 Thomas Green In February 1760, when Rameau’s Les Paladins was frst staged, the audience was reportedly disappointed that Arnould was too indisposed to sing the role of Argie. The Mercure’s reviewer implied that it was common knowledge that the role had been written for Arnould, who did eventually appear in at least two performances.40 On 15 April 1760, less than a month after Arnould appeared in Les Paladins, the Paris Opéra revived Rameau’s third great tragédie, Dardanus. Confessing that he had attended only two performances, the Mercure’s reviewer declared that he was absolutely mesmerized by this singer in the role of Iphise. Describing her performance as perhaps one of the most sensational in the history of the Paris Opéra, he proclaimed Act ii, scene 5 one of the most beautiful scenes in any dramatic work, and one in which the poet and musician seemed inspired by the same genius: Imagine the situation of a lover as tender and passionate as Dardanus, who does not yet know if he is loved, when his beloved comes to unburden her soul, thinking that he is the magician Isménor. Imagine the soul of a young and timid princess who burns secretly for the enemy of her father and country and who mourns because of this fame, which she hides from everyone’s eyes … I repeat, this situation of the two lovers, one of the […] most interesting in all theatre, is Mlle Arnould’s triumph; never has any actress, including the very famous Mlle Le Maure, performed it with more pathos, more nobility and more truth.41

40 Mercure, February 1760, 181–2: Le mardi 12, on a donné la premiere représentation des Paladins, Comédie-Ballet, en trois Actes, dont la Musique est de M. Rameau, & les paroles, d’un Auteur qui ne s’est point fait connoître. Mlle Rivier[e] y a remplacé, dans le rôle d’Argie, Mlle Arnoud, qu’une maladie a empêchée de remplir ce rôle jusqu’à présent. Mercure, March 1760, 181: M. Gelin a très-bien rendu son rôle. Quoiqu’on ait tout lieu d’être content de Mlle Riviere dans le sien  ; on a desiré la jeune Actrice, à qui il avoit été destiné, & qu’une indisposition a empêchée de paroître dans cet Opéra. […] Le vendredi 22 [février], dimanche 24, & le mardi 26, on a continué de représenter les Paladins. Mlle Arnoud, a joué le rôle d’Argie, le 24 & le 25 [sic] [février]. Concerning Arnould’s interpretation of the role of Argie, see Raphaëlle Legrand, ‘Sophie Arnould: une trop touchante Argie’, L’Avant scène opéra 219, Rameau: Les Paladins (March– April 2004), 76–83. In addition, see Legrand’s summary of R. Peter Wolf’s hypothesis that although Les Paladins may have been composed before Arnould began singing at the Paris Opéra, some early revisions of the part of Argie may well have been made with her in mind. Legrand, ‘Les débuts de Sophie Arnould à l’Opéra (1757–1760)’, 30. 41 Mercure, June 1760, 199–200: A peine Antenor est-il sorti, qu’Iphise vient consulter son propre amant, caché sous les traits d’Isménor, sur l’état de son coeur. C’est ici, sans contredit, une des plus belles Scènes qu’il y ait sur aucun Théâtre, & dans laquelle le Musicien & le Poëte semblent

Acting styles and vocal aesthetics


These reviews of Sophie Arnould’s earliest performances are among the frst of many detailed commentaries on the acting and singing styles at the Paris Opéra that appeared in the Mercure de France between the late 1750s and the late 1760s. They highlight performances of several key members of the Académie’s troupe and enable us to trace the development of their careers. Several years after the reviews of Arnould’s early performances, for example, we begin reading about the sensational voice and appealing acting style of haute-contre Joseph Le Gros. In Le Gros’ debut performance as Titon in a revival of Mondonville’s Titon et l’Aurore on 1 March 1764, his voice was reportedly well-focused, pleasing in quality, fexible, expressive and light. The Mercure’s reviewer wrote that One couldn’t have more precision and better intonation; […] one could not pronounce more correctly, or better scan the words. His face is pleasing and his bearing is very theatrical. A wise moderation of gestures saved his debut from the awkwardness of almost all those who appear on stage for the frst time.42 The reviewer went on to criticize the exaggerated gestures he had so often observed on the stage of the Opéra and to stress the uniquely expressive quality of Le Gros’ voice. He wrote that ‘one can already sense, through the sensitivity of his voice, that of his soul’.43

avoir été inspirés par le même genie. Qu’on se fgure la situation d’un amant aussi tendre & aussi passionné que Dardanus, qui ne sçait point encore s’il est aimé, qui a un rival redoubtable, & à qui son amante, qui le croit Ismenor, va dévoiler toute son âme. Qu’on se peigne celle d’une jeune & timide Princesse, qui brûle en secret pour l’ennemi de son pere & de sa Patrie  ; qui gémit de cette fâme, qu’elle cache à tous les yeux  ; qui vient, en tremblant, implorer le secours des Enfers même, pour éteindre des feux dont sa vertu frémit ; & ce que doit lui coûter l’aveu de sa foiblesse !’ For further details on the career of Sophie Arnould, see Alberic Deville, Arnoldiana ou Sophie Arnould et ses contemporains (Paris: Gérard, 1813), Edmond and Jules de Goncourt, Sophie Arnould d’après sa correspondence et ses mémoires inédits (Paris: Aoulet-Malassis et de Broise, 1857) and Legrand, ‘Les Débuts de Sophie Arnould à l’Opéra (1757–1760)’. 42 Mercure, March 1764, 222–3: Le Jeudi, premier de ce mois, M. Le Gros, qui n’avoit chanté ni représenté sur aucun Théâtre, a débuté par le rôle de Titon. Sa voix, bien timbrée & de la plus agréable qualité, fexible, touchante & légére a fait le plus grand plaisir. La manière dont il a chanté prouve qu’il est déja consommé dans la musique. On ne peut avoir plus de précision & de justesse ; on ne peut, même après un long éxercice, articular plus nettement, prononcer plus correctement, & mieux scander les paroles. Sa fgure est agréable & la taille fort théâtrale. Une sage modération de gestes, a sauvé son début des disgraces de presque tous ceux qui paroissent pour la première fois. 43 Mercure, March 1764, 223: Il y a tout lieu d’espérer de ce Sujet, qu’il ne s’abandonnera pas aux ridicules & furieux coups de bras, si l’on peut s’exprimer ainsi, dont il ne trouveroit que trop de modèles sur cette Scène. On peut déja préssentir aussi, par la sensibilité de sa voix, celle de son âme.

276 Thomas Green In April 1764, less than a month after his debut, Le Gros sang the title role in Rameau’s acte de ballet Pygmalion to enthusiastic applause.44 When he appeared as Neptune in a revival of Rameau’s Naïs the following August, the Mercure published another pointed reference to his ability to communicate by using his voice expressively and by controlling and directing the accents of his soul.45 One has to wonder: who supplied the motivation for the more detailed accounts that appeared in the Mercure’s opera reviews from the late 1750s to the late 1760s – and who actually wrote the articles? We have already noted the common thread of Madame de Pompadour’s patronage linking Boissy, Marmontel and La Porte, the three literary fgures who successively owned the privilege to publish the Mercure during this period. Although Pompadour’s personal interest in operatic performance may have reached its zenith in the private productions staged at the Théâtre des Petits Cabinets at Versailles in the late 1740s and early 1750s,46 her continued interest may have provided at least indirect inspiration for many of the articles that appeared in the Mercure a decade later. Evidence suggests that the opera reviews published in the Mercure de France from the late 1750s through at least April 1767 were generally written neither by Boissy, nor by Marmontel, nor by La Place, but by another of Pompadour’s protégés – her secretary and librarian, Philippe Bridard de La Garde. Although La Garde’s name is not mentioned in connection with any of these reviews, the Mercure regularly printed letters directed to La Garde, as theatre critic, from September 1761 until April 1767. A terminus post quem even earlier than September 1761 is suggested by the article on La Garde in the Nécrologe des hommes célèbres de France. This source states that La Garde provided all the Mercure’s articles on theatre beginning in 1758, when his name was offcially added to the privilege to publish this journal.47 44 Mercure, April 1764 (ii), 170: Le rôle de Pigmalion, dans l’acte célébre de M. Rameau, étoit exécuté par M. Le Gros, nouvelle Hautecontre, cet objet actuel de l’empressement de tout Paris tant par la nouveauté que par les talens réels dont il a donné de nouvelles preuves dans ce morceau. 45 Mercure, September 1764, 197–8: M. Le Gros satisfait d’autant plus le Public & les Amateurs, qu’il y a lieu d’attendre de lui cette chaleur & cette action, qui ne doivent pas consister seulement dans le jeu des gestes, mais dans celui du chant & surtout dans ces accents de l’âme diffciles de bien diriger, pour les commençans, mais sans lesquels les Talens les plus consommés d’ailleurs sont condamnés à une perpétuelle médiocrité sur la Scène. 46 See Emile Campardon, Madame de Pompadour et la cour de Louis XV au milieu du dix-huitième siècle (Paris: Henri Plon, 1867), Adolphe Jullien, Histoire du Théâtre de Madame de Pompadour, dit Théâtre des Petits Cabinets (Paris: J. Baur, 1874), Winston Kaehler, The Operatic Repertoire of Madame de Pompadour’s Théâtre des Petits Cabinets, 1747–1753 (doctoral diss., The University of Michigan, 1971) and Thomas E. Kaiser, ‘Madame de Pompadour and the Theaters of Power’, French Historical Studies 19 (1995), 1025–44. 47 ‘Eloge de Monsieur de La Garde Pensionnaire du Roi, Censeur Royal, Adjoint au privilege du Mercure de France, &c’, Le Nécrologe des hommes célèbres de France 3 (1768), 198: ‘Depuis 1758, M. de la Garde, par un Brevet d’adjonction au privilege du Mercure, composa toute la partie des spectacles comprise dans ce Journal’. I wish to thank David Charlton for pointing

Acting styles and vocal aesthetics


Since the Nécrologe seems vague about the exact point at which La Garde’s involvement began, one wonders if he may have contributed articles as early as May 1757. Whereas the May 1757 issue of the Mercure includes a brief review of the April revival of Destouches’s Issé,48 the August issue includes a more impressive contribution: an extended plot summary and review of the frst production of Rameau’s Les Surprises de l’Amour.49 Opera reviews had been conspicuously absent for several seasons prior to May 1757 because of a dispute between the Mercure and the Paris Opéra administration.50 It would not be far-fetched to regard the May 1757 review as La Garde’s frst contribution and the August 1757 review as his frst major piece for the Mercure. The Nécrologe makes it clear that La Garde had been on friendly terms with Francœur and Rebel since the early 1740s, and they had collaborated previously in mounting productions at the court of Louis xv. Furthermore, it mentions that Madame de Pompadour had awarded La Garde a pension of 2000 livres from the revenue of the Mercure de France in 1754.51 Further study of the opera reviews published in the Mercure de France between May 1757 and January 1761, and comparison with those published between February 1761 and April or even October 1767 may eventually support the hypothesis that Philippe Bridard de La Garde was the author of virtually all this material. The depth and detail of many of the Mercure’s opera reviews throughout this period are perhaps not surprising in view of La Garde’s close connection to Madame de Pompadour, and considering that he had held the position of secretary and prompter for Pompadour’s Théatre des Petits Cabinets about a decade before.52 His perceptive and often colourful commentaries, along with the observations of Fuzelier, Rémond de Saint-Albine and other Mercure collaborators, provide glimpses into performance practices and politics that are utterly fascinating in themselves, and often far more revealing than they might appear at frst glance.53

48 49 50 51 52 53

me in the direction of the Nécrologe in search of clues to La Garde’s contributions. Concerning the distribution of roles at the Paris Opéra, particularly during the 1757–67 directorship of Francœur and Rebel, see Benoît Dratwicki, ‘La Troupe de chanteurs de l’Académie Royale de Musique et son évolution au xviii siècle: L’exemple de la gestion de Francœur et Rebel (1757–1767)’, in Sylvie Bouissou, Pascal Denécheau and France Marchal-Ninosque (eds), L’Opéra de Paris sous l’ancien régime. Approches plurielles (online: Institut de recherche en musicologie et Maison des Sciences de l’Homme Claude-Nicolas Ledoux de l’Université de Franche-Comté, 2015), 18–45; located at: lopera_de_paris_sous_lancien_regime._approches_plurielles.pdf [accessed 25 September 2019]. Mercure, May 1757, 196–7. Mercure, August 1757, 197–203. Mercure, May 1757, 195. ‘Eloge de Monsieur de La Garde’, 201–2. Pierre Laujon, ‘Spectacles des Petits Cabinets de Louis xv’, in Memoires de Madame du Hausset (Paris: Badouin Frères, 1824), 231. The author is currently engaged in a comprehensive study of the opera critiques in the Mercure de France between 1757 and 1767.

17 Rameau’s operas on disc Patrick Florentin

Jean-Philippe Rameau’s surviving musical output comprises three books of harpsichord music, a collection of chamber music entitled Pièces de clavecin en concerts, four motets, seven cantatas, some canons and airs à boire (drinking songs), plus 28 complete operas of the 31 he is known to have composed.1 In theory, Rameau’s operatic works would make a magnifcent box set of discs but, in practice, such a project would be diffcult to accomplish, running up against two problems: on the one hand, the peculiar diffculties presented in performing Rameau and, on the other, the challenge of deciding between two or more extant versions of many of his works. To remedy this latter situation, Jacques-Joseph-Marie Decroix began creating the frst complete edition of Rameau’s works in the decades following the composer’s death,2 and in 1895 another edition was launched by Camille Saint-Saëns and his publisher Auguste Durand (though this was unfortunately abandoned, incomplete, in 1924).3 Not until 1991 was the challenge taken up again, with the creation by Sylvie Bouissou of the Société Jean-Philippe Rameau, and her inauguration of the monumental critical edition Opera Omnia Rameau.4 Nevertheless, until this great work-in-progress is completed, major challenges remain concerning the accuracy and accessibility of editions of Rameau’s music. Until the 1960s recordings devoted to Rameau’s choral and operatic works remained few and far between, perhaps because performers were not suffciently versed in the conventions of this idiosyncratic genre. Unlike his keyboard and chamber music, which seemed to enjoy a little more favour, Rameau’s operas were at the time more often offered to the public in suites of orchestral pieces

1 For a Checklist of Rameau’s Operas, including lost and abandoned works, see above, pp. xxv–xxx. 2 See Laurence Decobert, ‘Decroix et sa collection des œuvres de Rameau’, in Rameau entre art et science, ed. Sylvie Bouissou, Graham Sadler and Solveig Serre (Paris: École des Chartes, 2016), 291–325. 3 See Yves Gérard, ‘Saint-Saëns et l’édition monumentale des œuvres de Rameau (Durand, 1895–1924)’, Revue de la Bibliothèque nationale de France 46 (2014), 10–19. 4 Jean-Philippe Rameau: Opera Omnia (Paris: Gérard Billaudot, 1993–2002; Bonneuil-Matours/ Tauxigny: Société Jean-Philippe Rameau, 2003–).

DOI: 10.4324/9781315554990-22

Rameau’s operas on disc


as, for instance, from Les Fêtes d’Hébé recorded by Jean Allain in 1956 or from Dardanus by Charles Munch in 1963. While the bicentenary of the composer’s death in 1964 triggered a genuine interest in his works on disc, it was the rediscovery of Baroque repertoire performed on period instruments from the 1970s onwards that stimulated increasing interest in his music. From then on, thanks to the efforts of historically informed musicians, Rameau’s discography has gradually expanded, with a marked enlargement on the occasion of the tercentenary of his birth in 1983. This anniversary led to a steady growth in the number and quality of recordings, by then nearly always performed by ensembles employing either the so-called standard Baroque pitch (a' = 415 Hz) or, more recently, French Baroque pitch (a' = 392 Hz). The years following the 2014 anniversary have offered an opportunity to take stock of all those Rameau’s operas that have appeared on disc. At the time of compilation, this discography of Rameau’s operatic music on LP (vinyl), CD and DVD comprises 303 items supplemented by 61 anthologies drawn from various operas.

Operas Table 17.1 shows the distribution of Rameau’s operatic output across three different recorded media: 96 LPs, 188 CDs and 19 DVDs. The appendix to this study reveals that less than half of the LPs were reissued on CD (47), so that many signifcant recordings have never been heard in digital format (e.g., JeanClaude Malgoire’s Hippolyte et Aricie and Le Temple de la Gloire or Jean-Pierre Wallez’s Zéphire). What is more, DVDs remain a privileged witness to less than a dozen of Rameau’s operas on stage. The recordings in this discography can be divided into three categories: 81 complete works, 152 instrumental suites and 70 extracts comprising three or more pieces of a given opera (see Table 17.2). Overall, Les Indes galantes features most often, ahead of Dardanus and Hippolyte et Aricie. Indeed, memorable performances of Les Indes galantes at the Paris Opéra between 1952 and 1965 (an off-air recording, made in 1954, has recently been issued on CD),5 together with the many recent revivals, have maintained a keen awareness of this great opéra-ballet among performers and the public alike. Complete versions When it comes to complete recordings of Rameau’s operas (see Table 17.3), Les Indes galantes shares the largest number with Hippolyte et Aricie (the latter in a mix of the 1733, 1742 and 1757 versions). Concerning Castor et Pollux, if the

5 Fourestier, Orchestre de l’Opéra de Paris, Malibran MR 776 (CD) (see Appendix: Les Indes galantes).


Patrick Florentin

Table 17.1 Recordings of Rameau’s operatic music listed by medium Operas





Les Indes galantes Dardanus Hippolyte et Aricie Castor et Pollux Les Fêtes d’Hébé Platée Pigmalion Les Boréades Zoroastre Les Paladins Les Surprises de l’Amour Le Temple de la Gloire Naïs Les Fêtes de Polymnie ‘Anacréon’ (Les Surprises de l’Amour, 1757) La Princesse de Navarre Zaïs Daphnis et Églé Les Fêtes de l’Hymen et de l’Amour La Guirlande La Naissance d’Osiris Acante et Céphise Anacréon (1754) Les Sibarites Zéphire Les Fêtes de Ramire Nélée et Mirthis

28 9 8 7 9 6 4 2 3 5 2 3 1 0 1 3 1 0 0 2 0 1 0 0 1 0 0

42 19 14 14 13 9 12 9 8 5 6 4 6ª 5 3 1 3 2 2 1 2 1 2 2 1 1 1

5 2 3 1 0 1 0 2 1 1 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 1 1 0 1 0 0 0 0 0 0

75 30 25 22 22 16 16 13 12 11 8 7 7 5 4 4 4 3 3 3 3 2 2 2 2 1 1

a Includes one download-only version

three recordings of the 1737 version and six of its revision in 1754 are considered separately, this work is eclipsed in this list by Pigmalion. The frst Rameau opera to be issued in full on disc was Platée, under the direction of Hans Rosbaud, in an edition prepared by Renée Viollier for the renowned performances at the Aix-en-Provence Festival in 1956. This was followed by Castor et Pollux (sung in Italian) under Alberto Erede, Pigmalion under Marcel Couraud, and the impressive interpretation of Hippolyte et Aricie by Anthony Lewis. Nikolaus Harnoncourt’s Castor et Pollux (1737 version) was the earliest recording of a Rameau stage work on period instruments. In 1974 Les Indes galantes was recorded twice – by Jean-François Paillard on modern instruments and by Jean-Claude Malgoire on period instruments. Since then, almost all recordings have employed period instruments and have broadly observed the principles of historical performance practice. A late exception was Raymond Leppard’s Dardanus, recorded in 1980 with a modern orchestra. Recently, two very different recordings of Les Indes galantes have enriched the Rameau

Rameau’s operas on disc


Table 17.2 Categorization of recordings of Rameau’s operatic music Operas

Complete Suites versions

Extracts Totals

Les Indes galantes Dardanus Hippolyte et Aricie Castor et Pollux Les Fêtes d’Hébé Platée Pigmalion Les Boréades Zoroastre Les Paladins Les Surprises de l’Amour Le Temple de la Gloire Naïs Les Fêtes de Polymnie ‘Anacréon’ (Les Surprises de l’Amour, 1757) La Princesse de Navarre Zaïs Daphnis et Églé Les Fêtes de l’Hymen et de l’Amour La Guirlande La Naissance d’Osiris Acante et Céphise Anacréon (1754) Les Sibarites Zéphire Les Fêtes de Ramire Nélée et Mirthis

10 5 10 9 1 4 8 2 3 3 1 3 3ª 1 3 1 2 1 2 2 2 0 1 1 2 0 1

16 7 7 1 9 4 6 1 4 2 4 1 0 1 1 1 1 1 1 0 0 0 0 1 0 1 0

49 18 8 12 12 8 2 10 5 6 3 3 4 3 0 2 1 1 0 1 1 2 1 0 0 0 0

75 30 25 22 22 16 16 13 12 11 8 7 7 5 4 4 4 3 3 3 3 2 2 2 2 1 1

a Includes one download-only version

discography: a staged production under Ivor Bolton using a modern orchestra but conforming to period style, and a period-instrument performance of the revised 1761 version by György Vashegyi and his Orfeo Orchestra. Most recently, Kornell Bernolet has recorded Pigmalion, two years after Christophe Rousset’s version. Finally, William Christie’s remarkable contribution to the rediscovery of Rameau’s operas, made over three decades, must be acknowledged. From ‘Anacréon’ (1757) in 1981 to Daphnis et Églé and La Naissance d’Osiris in 2014, he has made complete recordings of no fewer than 15 of Rameau’s stage works, two of them more than once (Hippolyte et Aricie and Les Indes galantes). Instrumental suites Suites of orchestral music from Rameau’s operas are easier to programme and more accessible to the listening public, and have thus proved popular since the

282 Patrick Florentin Table 17.3 Number of complete recordings of Rameau’s operas Les Indes galantes Hippolyte et Aricie Castor et Pollux (1737 and 1754) Pigmalion Castor et Pollux (1754) Dardanus (1744) Platée ‘Anacréon’ (Les Surprises de l’Amour, 1757) Castor et Pollux (1737) Naïs Les Paladins Zoroastre (1756) Les Boréades Les Fêtes de l’Hymen et de l’Amour La Guirlande La Naissance d’Osiris Le Temple de la Gloire (1745/1746) Zaïs Zéphire Anacréon (1754) Daphnis et Églé Les Fêtes d’Hébé Les Fêtes de Polymnie Nélée et Mirthis La Princesse de Navarre Les Sibarites Les Surprises de l’Amour (1757)

10 10 9 8 6 5 4 3 3 3 3 3 2 2 2 2 3 2 2 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1

frst days of recording. The earliest such recordings consist of music drawn from Castor et Pollux (conducted by Albert Wolff in 1932) and Les Paladins (by Roger Désormière in 1938). However, the most frequently recorded suites have involved music from Les Indes galantes and Dardanus. With the resurgence of interest in Baroque music, the frst suites issued on period instruments were from Castor et Pollux (by Nikolaus Harnoncourt) and Zoroastre (by Eduard Melkus). Later, Jordi Savall recorded four suites derived from various Rameau works with his period instrument orchestra. Recordings of suites with modern orchestra have been made by Simon Rattle (Les Indes galantes) with the Berliner Philharmoniker and Daniel Harding (Hippolyte et Aricie) with a Swedish orchestra. Guillermo Brachetta and Menno Van Delft marked the 250th anniversary of the composer’s death by issuing a suite from Platée in a transcription for two harpsichords. More recently, the Philadelphia Baroque Orchestra ‘Tempesta di Mare’ and Christophe Rousset with Les Talens Lyriques have both issued selections of dances from Les Fêtes de Polymnie. But the conductor who has recorded the most instrumental suites from Rameau operas remains the late Frans Brüggen, with no fewer than ten items. Substantial extracts Highlights from operas contributed very early on to a better understanding of Rameau’s vocal works, long before complete versions of his operas appeared on disc. Among the series of extracts of three or more numbers, the earliest are

Rameau’s operas on disc


those from Les Indes galantes directed by Maurice Hewitt and from Hippolyte et Aricie by Roger Désormière. Later, the frst period-instrument recordings comprised substantial extracts from Les Paladins and Dardanus by Jean-Claude Malgoire. Very recently, Alexander Paley has recorded four extracts of Les Boréades arranged for piano by Louis Diémer in 1896. As with the suites, extracts from Les Indes are the most often recorded.

Operatic anthologies Another format intended to acquaint the public with Rameau’s musical art – that is, the anthology including both extracts entirely devoted to his operas (17 items) and a selection of his works in combination with pieces by different composers (44) – was also favoured by the pioneers of the microgroove era. The earliest anthology was issued in 1941 by Ruggiero Gerlin, followed by one in 1952 directed by Nadia Boulanger. Among other examples of this category, only Christophe Rousset has offered a compilation of Rameau’s opera overtures, while Marc Minkowski was the frst to concoct a medley of instrumental pieces from several of the composer’s works to create what he called a ‘symphonie imaginaire’. After numerous anthologies arranged for organ, harpsichord or even trumpet, a new phenomenon has appeared recently in the shape of pots-pourris featuring a vocal soloist accompanied by orchestra, such as the recent recording offered by György Vashegyi and the soprano Chantal Santon-Jeffery.

Conclusion The celebrations in 2014 to mark the 250th anniversary of Rameau’s death provided the impetus for a number of new recordings of his operas, some of them for the frst time: Anacréon of 1754 (Jonathan Williams), Castor et Pollux, 1754 version (Raphaël Pichon), Daphnis et Églé (William Christie), Dardanus, 1744 version (Raphaël Pichon), Les Fêtes de l’Hymen et de l’Amour (two recordings, by Hervé Niquet and Ryan Brown), Les Fêtes de Polymnie (György Vashegyi), Les Indes galantes (Christophe Rousset), La Naissance d’Osiris (William Christie), Le Temple de la Gloire, 1746 version (Guy Van Wass) and Zaïs (Christophe Rousset). Since 2014, further recordings have appeared: two different versions of Les Indes galantes (Ivor Bolton and György Vashegyi), Naïs (György Vashegyi), Pigmalion (Christophe Rousset) and Le Temple de la Gloire, 1745 version (Nicholas McGegan). Henceforth, to accommodate the ever-growing public interest in Rameau’s operas and to stimulate performances of his music, one must hope that Baroque ensembles will not confne themselves to recording anthologies but will continue to bring to life the composer’s complete works. There have certainly been developments in the category of least-recorded operas, since the discography now includes not just one but two complete versions of Les Boréades, Daphnis et Églé, Les Fêtes d’Hébé, Les Fêtes de l’Hymen et de l’Amour, Les Fêtes de Polymnie, La Guirlande, La Naissance d’Osiris, Nélée et Mirthis, Les Surprises de l’Amour, Les Sibarites, Zaïs and Zéphire. However, at the time of

284 Patrick Florentin writing, Acante et Céphise, Dardanus (an unadulterated form of the 1739 version), Les Fêtes de Ramire, Io, the complete version of La Princesse de Navarre, Les Surprises de l’Amour (1748 version) and Zoroastre (1749 version) still await their CD or DVD debut. Following the achievements inspired by the 2014 anniversary, the priority must now be to complete this discography by tackling those Rameau operas which remain unrecorded. Translation: Niall Hoskin


Rameau’s operas and operatic anthologies on LP (vinyl), CD and DVD listed by works in alphabetical order with versions and chronological dates of recordings 1. Operas (303 items) ♦ = complete version, * = instrumental suite, ° = substantial extracts, s = soprano, m = mezzo, b = baritone Acante et Céphise (2) *Dautel, Orchestre de Chambre de Caen, Turnabout TV 34101S (LP) (1967) *Brüggen, Orchestra of the Eighteenth Century, Glossa GCD 921103 (CD) (1997) + *Les Fêtes d’Hébé Anacréon (1754) (2) *Térey-Smith, Capella Savaria, Naxos 8.553746 (CD) (1995) + *Daphnis et Églé ♦Williams, Choir and Orchestra of the Age of Enlightenment, Signum Classics SIGCD402 (CD) (2014) ‘Anacréon’ (1757) (4) ♦Christie, Les Arts Florissants, Harmonia Mundi HM 1090 (LP) [CD: HMA 1901090] (1981) ♦Minkowski, Les Musiciens du Louvre, Archiv Produktion 449 211-2 (CD) (1995) °Ensemble A Deux Violes Esgales (violas da gamba), Alpha 176 (CD) (2009) + °Les Surprises de l’Amour, °Les Sibarites ♦D’Hérin, Les Nouveaux Caractères, Glossa GCD 922701 (CD) (2013) + ♦Les Surprises de l’Amour Les Boréades (13) ♦Gardiner, Monteverdi Choir & English Baroque Soloists, Erato STU 715343 (LP) [CD: 2292-45572-2] (1982) *Brüggen, Orchestra of the Eighteenth Century, Philips 420 240-1 (LP) [CD: 420 240-2] (1986) + *Dardanus *Rattle, Berliner Philharmoniker, Medici Arts 2057558 (DVD) (1993) *Muster (organ), Gallo CD-863-864 (CD) (1994)

286 Patrick Florentin *Térey-Smith, Capella Savaria, Naxos 8.553388 (CD) (1995) + *La Naissance d’Osiris *King, The King’s Consort, Andersen Consulting CONS1002 (CD) (1999) *Savall, Orquesta de la Escuela Superior de Música Reina Sofía, Sony 0122872000 (CD) (2002) ♦Christie, Les Arts Florissants, Opus Arte OA 0899 D (DVD) (2003) *Vernet (organ), Ligia Digital Lidi 0104154-05 (CD) (2004) *Calefax Reed Quintet, MDG 619 1374-2 (CD) (2005) *Forshaw (saxophone), IntegraRecords ING1001 (CD) (2005) *Savall, Le Concert des Nations, Aliavox AVSA9882A+B (CD) (2010/2011) + *Les Indes galantes, *Naïs, *Zoroastre °Paley (piano), La Música LMU 021 (CD) (2014) Castor et Pollux (22) *Wolff, Orchestre des Concerts Lamoureux, Timpani 4C4024 (CD) (1932) ♦Erede, Orchestra della RAI di Napoli, Melodram MEL 165 (2) (LP) (1960) [1737 version] *Bernard, The Baroque Chamber Ensemble, Baroque Records BU 1825 (LP) (1964) + *Les Indes galantes *Mackerras, London Symphony Orchestra, Philips 641.909 DSL (LP) (1965) *Einhorn, Les Musicholiers, Arion ARN 38 159 (LP) [CD: ARN 68067] (1972) + *Dardanus, *Les Indes galantes, *Les Paladins, *Platée ♦Harnoncourt, Concentus Musicus Wien, Stockholmer Kammerchor, Das Alte Werk SAWT 9584/87-A (LP) [CD: Teldec 2292-42510-2] (1972) [1737 version] *Harnoncourt, Concentus Musicus Wien, Aspekte Telefunken 6.42072 AH (LP) [CD: Das Alte Werk 2564 66211-9] (1973) ♦Farncombe, English Bach Festival Singers and Baroque Orchestra, Erato NUM 750323 (LP) [CD: 4509-95311-2] (1982) [1754 version] *Brüggen, Orchestra of the Eighteenth Century, Philips 426 714-2 (CD) (1989) ♦Christie, Les Arts Florissants, Harmonia Mundi HMC 901435.37 (CD) (1992) [1737 version] *Fournet, Tokyo Metropolitan Symphony Orchestra, Fontec FOCD9249 (CD) (1989) ♦Frisch, xviii-21 Musique des Lumières, Audivis Astrée E 8624 (CD) (1997) [1754 chamber version] °Mihajlovic, Compagnie Fontainebleau, Zenon 199 (CD) (1999) + °Les Fêtes d’Hébé *Cambreling, SWR Sinfonieorchester Baden-Baden und Freiburg, Hänssler Classic CD 93.018 (CD) (1999) ♦Mallon, Aradia Ensemble, Opera In Concert, Naxos 8.660118-19 (CD) (2003) [1754 version] *Weiss (harpsichord), Satirino Records SR 031 (CD) (2003) + *Dardanus, *Les Indes galantes, *Pigmalion *Gaigg, L’Orfeo Barockorchester, Phoenix Edition 110 (CD) (2007) ♦Rousset, Les Talens Lyriques, Chorus of the Nederlands Opera, Opus Arte OA 0999 D (DVD) (2008) [1754 version]

Rameau’s operas on disc


*Rubinstein, Symphony in the Glen, Intrada MAF 7113 (CD) (2009) ♦Walker, Cantillation, Orchestra of the Antipodes, Pinchgut Live PG003 (CD) (2012) [1754 version] *Procopio, Soloists of the Simón Bolívar Symphony Orchestra of Venezuela, Paraty 512120 (CD) (2012) + *Zoroastre, Operatic anthologies ♦Pichon, Ensemble Pygmalion, Harmonia Mundi 902212.13 (CD) (2014) [1754 version] Daphnis et Églé (3) *Térey-Smith, Capella Savaria, Naxos 8.553746 (CD) (1995) + *Anacréon [1754] °Kuijken, La Petite Bande, Accent ACC 96122 D (CD) (1996) ♦Christie, Les Arts Florissants, Alpha 704 (DVD) (2014) + ♦La Naissance d’Osiris Dardanus (30) *Munch, Chicago Symphony Orchestra, Vai 4226 (DVD) (1963) *Peters, Collegium Aureum, Harmonia Mundi HM 30.671 (LP) [CD: 05472 77269 2 + *Les Indes galantes] (1964) *Munch, USSR State Academic Symphony Orchestra, Melodiya MEL CD 10 02279 (CD) (1965) °Martinon, Orchestre de l’ORTF, The French Broadcasting System in North America GRC 11288 A (LP) (c. 1965) *Colson, Ensemble Instrumental Andrée Colson, Vernou VST 1001 (LP) (1970) *Einhorn, Les Musicholiers, Arion ARN 38 159 (LP) [CD: ARN 68067] (1972) + *Castor et Pollux, *Les Indes galantes, *Les Paladins, *Platée ♦Leppard, Chœurs and Orchestre du Théâtre National de l’Opéra de Paris, Erato STU 71416 (LP) [CD: 4509-95312-2] (1980) [1739 version with additions from 1744] °Malgoire, La Grande Écurie & la Chambre du Roy, CBS 76965 (LP) [Extracts on CD: Sony SX2K 64338 + °Hippolyte et Aricie…] (1980) *Brüggen, Orchestra of the Eighteenth Century, Radio Nederland 6815.174/175 (LP) (1982) *Gardiner, English Baroque Soloists, Erato NUM 75040 (LP) [CD: 229245184-2] (1982) *Brüggen, Orchestra of the Eighteenth Century, Philips 420 240-1 (LP) [CD: 420 240-2] (1986) + *Les Boréades °Besançon, Collège de Cuivres de Suisse Romande, Cascavelle VEL 1015 (CD) (1991) *Gaigg, Barockorchester L’Arpa Festante, Amati SRR 9206/1 (CD) (1993) + *Hippolyte et Aricie *Loriaut (organ), Gallo CD-768 (CD) (1993) *McGegan, Philharmonia Baroque Orchestra, Conifer Classics 75605 51313 2 (CD) (1997) + *Platée ♦Minkowski, Les Musiciens du Louvre, Archiv Produktion 463 476-2 (CD) (1998) [1739 version with additions from 1744] *Dorsaz, Orchestre Baroque Swiss Consort, Syntonie Synto 2 (CD) (1998)

288 Patrick Florentin *Lamon, Tafelmusik Baroque Orchestra, CBC Records SMCD 5229 (CD) (2001) + *Le Temple de la Gloire *Goodman, European Union Baroque Orchestra, Naxos 8.557490 (CD) (2003) + *Platée, *Pigmalion *Weiss (harpsichord), Satirino Records SR 031 (CD) (2003) + *Castor et Pollux, *Les Indes galantes, *Pigmalion ♦Walker, Cantillation, Orchestra of the Antipodes, ABC Classics ABC 476 5844 (CD) (2005) *Roth, Les Siècles, Intrada INTRA028 (CD) (2006) °Cummings, Royal Academy Opera, Royal Academy of Music RAM 035 (CD) (2006) ♦Pichon, Ensemble Pygmalion, Alpha 951 (CD) (2012) [1744 version with additions from 1739 to 1760] *Kuijken, Indianopolis Baroque Orchestra, Naxos 8.573867 (CD) (2013) °Christie, Les Arts Florissants, L’Académie du Jardin des Voix, Editions Arts Florissants AF.002 (CD) (2013) + °Les Fêtes d’Hébé, Operatic anthologies °Septura (brass septet), Naxos 8.573386 (CD) (2014) ♦Pichon, Ensemble Pygmalion, Harmonia Mundi HMD 9859051.52 (DVD) (2015) [1739 version with additions from 1744] °Gaigg, Dahlin (t), L’Orfeo Barockorchester, CPO 556  156-2 (CD) (2017) + °Pigmalion *Vernet, Meckler (organ), Ligia Lidi 0104348-19 (CD) (2019) + *Les Indes galantes, Operatic anthologies Les Fêtes d’Hébé (22) *Maréchal (cello), Roget (piano), Strings QT 99-301 (CD) (1943) + *Les Surprises de l’Amour *Allain, Orchestre du Théâtre des Champs-Elysées, Ducretet-Thomson 255 C 006 (LP) (1956) *Maréchal (cello), Ousset (piano), Forgotten Records FR 633 (CD) (1959) *Oubradous, Orchestre de Chambre de Paris, Orphée 52069 Art (LP) (1964) + *Platée *Duhamel, Philips 88.060 DY (LP) (1967) *Jones, The Little Orchestra of London, MGM Records E3710 (LP) (c. 1970) *Colson, Ensemble Instrumental Andrée Colson, Vernou VST 1007 (LP) (1971) °Leppard, Connors (s), English Chamber Orchestra, EMI C 063-02 609 (LP) [CD: 7243 5 65732 2 2] (1973/1974) *Hétu, Edmonton Symphonic Orchestra, Canadian Broadcasting Corporation SM316 (LP) (1976) °Gardiner, Monteverdi Choir and Orchestra, Erato STU 71089 (LP) [CD: 229245985-2] (1977) *Dussaut (piano), FY 961 (LP) [CD: SOCD 297/299] (1983) + *Les Indes galantes °Richman, Concert Royal Orchestra and Chorus, Newport Classic NPD 85555 (CD) (1991) °Alabau (organ), Domaine Musiques DOM 0262 (CD) (1992)

Rameau’s operas on disc


*Brüggen, Orchestra of the Eighteenth Century, Glossa GCD 921103 (CD) (1996) + *Acante et Céphise ♦Christie, Les Arts Florissants, Erato 3984-21064-2 (CD) (1997) °Mihajlovic, Jacobsen, Schänzle (s), Compagnie Fontainebleau, Zenon 199 (CD) (1999) + °Castor et Pollux *Llewellyn, North Carolina Symphony, Sketches 2004-05 (CD) (2004) °The Aulos Ensemble, Centaur CRC 2831 (CD) (2006) °Rousset, Gens (s), Les Talens Lyriques, MBF 1107 (CD) (2007) + °Hippolyte et Aricie, °Zoroastre °Christie, Von Otter (m), Les Arts Florissants, Archiv Produktion 477 8610 (CD) (2008) *The Aulos Ensemble, Centaur CRC 2970 (CD) (2008) + *Les Indes galantes °Christie, Les Arts Florissants, L’Académie du Jardin des Voix, Editions Arts Florissants AF.002 (CD) (2013) + °Dardanus, Operatic anthologies Les Fêtes de l’Hymen et de l’Amour (3) °Cohën-Akenine, Les Folies Françaises, Virgin Veritas 7243 5 45481 2 3 (CD) (2001) + °Les Indes galantes, °Platée ♦Niquet, Le Concert Spirituel, Glossa GCD 921629 (CD) (2014) ♦Brown, Opera Lafayette and Chorus, Naxos 2.110393 (DVD) (2014) Les Fêtes de Polymnie (5) °Reyne, La Simphonie du Marais, Astrée Audivis E8650 (CD) (1998) *Schindler (organ), Staudigl (trumpet), FRS3 (CD) (2001) ♦Vashegyi, Purcell Choir, Orfeo Orchestra, Glossa GCD 923502 (CD) (2014) *Roberts, Stone, Tempesta di Mare Philadelphia Baroque Orchestra, Chandos CHAN 0810 (CD) (2015) *Rousset, Les Talens Lyriques, Aparté AP155 (CD) (2017) + ♦Pigmalion Les Fêtes de Ramire (1) °Correas, Les Paladins, Naïve OP 30532 (CD) (2011) + Operatic anthologies La Guirlande (3) ♦Wahl, Versailles Chamber Orchestra, Elisabeth Brasseur Chorus, Nonesuch H-71023 (LP) (1964) *Ameller, Orchestre de Chambre, Deutsche Grammophon 136 503 (LP) (c. 1963) ♦Christie, Les Arts Florissants, Cappella Coloniensis des WDR, Erato 857385774-2 (CD) (2000) + ♦Zéphire Hippolyte et Aricie (25) °Désormière, Moizan (ms), Amade (t), Orchestre Symphonique, L’Oiseau-Lyre OL 50034 (LP) [CD: The Intense Media LC 12281] (1950) °Jouve, Orchestre des Concerts Français, Ducretet 320 C 130 (LP) (1958) + °Les Indes galantes ♦Boulez, Chœur et Orchestre national de l’ORTF, Altus ALT347/8 (CD) (1964) °Paillard, Eda-Pierre (s), Orchestre de Chambre Jean-François Paillard, Erato LDE 3 334 (LP) [CD: 2292-45565-2] (1964)


Patrick Florentin

♦Lewis, English Chamber Orchestra, St Anthony Singers, L’Oiseau-Lyre SOL 286-8 (LP) [CD: Decca 444 526-2] (1965) ♦McConathy, Boston Opera Orchestra, HRE 408-3 (LP) (1966) *Gardiner, Monteverdi Orchestra, BBC Transcription Service CN 946/5 (LP) (1973) ♦Malgoire, La Grande Écurie & La Chambre du Roy, CBS 79314 (LP) [Extracts on CD: Sony SX2K 64338 + °Dardanus…] (1978) *Kuijken, La Petite Bande, Harmonia Mundi HM 20334 (LP) [CD: Editio classica GD77009] (1978) *Gaigg, Barockorchester L’Arpa Festante, Amati SRR 9206/1 (CD) (1993) + *Dardanus ♦Minkowski, Les Musiciens du Louvre, Ensemble vocal Sagittarius, Archiv Produktion 445 853-2 (CD) (1994) *Minkowski, Les Musiciens du Louvre, ORF CD 172 (CD) (1995) ♦Christie, Les Arts Florissants, Erato 0630-15517-2 (CD) (1996) *Lécot (organ), Forlane 16765 (CD) (1996) + *Les Indes galantes, Operatic anthologies °Golub, Orchestra Internazionale d’Italia, ‘Traetta’s Ippolito ed Aricia’, Dynamic CDS 257/1-4 (CD) (1999) * Harrigan, The Baltimore Chamber Orchestra, Anne Harrigan Conducting (CD) (c. 2000) °Rousset, Gens (s), Les Talens Lyriques, MBF 1107 (CD) (2007) + °Les Fêtes d’Hébé, °Zoroastre *Gaigg, L’Orfeo Barockorchester, Crystal Classics N 67 063 (CD) (2010) + *Zaïs ♦Birman, La Compañía de las Luces, (CD) (2011) ♦Haïm, Le Concert d’Astrée, Erato 08256 462291 7 8 (DVD) (2012) ♦Christie, Orchestra of the Age of Enlightenment, The Glyndebourne Chorus, Opus Arte OA 1143 D (DVD) (2013) °Cohën-Akenine, Les Folies Françaises, NoMadMusic NMM007 (CD) (2014) + °Les Surprises de l’Amour °Lécot (organ), Bayard Musique 308 444.2 (CD) (2014) + °La Princesse de Navarre, °Zoroastre, Operatic anthologies *Harding, Swedish Radio Symphonic Orchestra, Harmonia Mundi HMC 902244 (CD) (2015) ♦Rattle, Staatsopernchor, Freiburger Barockorchester, EuroArts 20644318 (DVD) (2018) Les Indes galantes (75) °Hewitt, Ensemble Orchestral Hewitt, Les Discophiles Français DF 6 (LP) [CD: Cascavelle VEL 3092] (1942) ♦Fourestier, Chœur et Orchestre de l’Opéra de Paris, Malibran MR 776 (CD) (1954) *Oubradous, Association des Concerts de Chambre de Paris, Pathé DTX 146 (LP) (1954) °Bonneau, New Symphony Orchestra of London, Decca LXT 5269 (LP) [CD: Decca 440 419-2] (1956)

Rameau’s operas on disc


°Jouve, Orchestre des Concerts Français, Ducretet 320 C 130 (LP) (1958) + °Hippolyte et Aricie °Dervaux, Orchestre du Théâtre National de l’Opéra, Pathé DTX 315 (LP) [CD: EMI CDM 7 63162 2] (1961) *De Froment, Orchestre de Chambre des Concerts Lamoureux, L’Oiseau-Lyre SOL 60024 (LP) (1961) + Operatic anthologies *Wind Quintet of the Leningrad Philharmony, CTEPEO C 357-358 (LP) (c. 1961) °Couraud, Orchestre de Chambre des Concerts Lamoureux, Archive Production ARC 73202 (LP) [CD: Archiv Produktion 00289 479 5823] (1962) + ♦Pigmalion *Kehr, Mainzer Kammerorchester, Vox DL 1.070 (LP) [CD: Classic Collection 28420.7] (1964) °Gérard, Grey, Les Chorales Normaliennes d’Aix-en-Provence, Spiritual FSCL 05.64 (LP) (1964) *Bernard, The Baroque Chamber Ensemble, Baroque Records BU 1825 (LP) (1964) + *Castor et Pollux *Couraud, Orchestre des Concerts Lamoureux, Philips 641.755 LL (LP) (1965) + *Les Surprises de l’Amour *Collegium Aureum, Harmonia Mundi HM 30.848 (LP) [CD: 05472 77269 2 + *Dardanus] (1967) *Einhorn, Les Musicholiers, Arion ARN 38 159 (LP) [CD: ARN 68067] (1972) + *Castor et Pollux, *Dardanus, *Les Paladins, *Platée ♦Malgoire, La Grande Écurie & la Chambre du Roy, CBS 77365 (LP) [CD: Sony Classical 88985338292] (1974) ♦Paillard, Orchestre Jean-François Paillard, Ensemble vocal A Cœur Joie de Valence, Erato STU 70850/53 (LP) [CD: 4509-95310-2] (1974) *Le Quintette à Vent de Paris, EMI 2C 181-12534/5 (LP) (1974) *Weissberg, Soloists of the Vienna Symphonic Orchestra, BASF T 20.065 (LP) (1971) *De Froment, Orchestre Symphonique de Radio-Télé-Luxembourg, Euromarché UM 3303 (LP) [CD: Forlane FF 042] (1979) *Gilbert (harpsichord), Harmonia Mundi HM 1028 (LP) [CD: HMA 1901028] (1979) *Dussaut (piano), FY 961 (LP) [CD: SOCD 297/9] (1980) + *Les Fêtes d’Hébé *Koopman, Harlequin Baroque Orchestra, Radio Nederland 198051/052 (LP) (1980) °Petillot, Paris-Sorbonne University Orchestra, KO/80.0510 (LP) (1980) *Lécot (organ), Auvidis AV 4821 (LP) (1982) + Operatic anthologies °Haas (harpsichord), Preston (fute), McGaughey (viola da gamba), REM 7007/ 8/9 (LP) (1983) *Gonzales, Orchestre Symphonique Franco-Allemand, BNL 21 01 83 (LP) (1983) *Herreweghe, Orchestre de la Chapelle Royale, Harmonia Mundi HM 1130 (LP) [CD: HMA 1901130] (1983)

292 Patrick Florentin *Varga, Orchestre de chambre Tibor Varga, Tibor Varga Festival 16 (LP) [Extracts on CD: Tibor Varga Collection 6] (1983) *Baumont (harpsichord), ADDA 581901-3 (CD) (1989) ♦Christie, Les Arts Florissants, Harmonia Mundi HMC 901367.69 (CD) (1991) *Brüggen, Orchestra of the Eighteenth Century, Philips 438 946-2 (CD) (1992) ♦Frisch, xviii-21 Musique des Lumières, Euromuses EURM 2017-2 (CD) (1994) [1736 chamber version] *Aulos Ensemble, The Aulos Ensemble (CD) (1996) *Bratislava Wind Quintet, Point Classics 2672492 (CD) (1996) *Lécot (organ), Forlane 16765 (CD) (1996) + *Hippolyte et Aricie, Operatic anthologies *Martins (piano), De Rode Pomp RP/GMA (CD) (1997) *Vermeulen, Prima La Musica, Eufoda 1283 (CD) (1998) *Besingrand (organ), Pavane ADW 7421 (CD) (1998) + Operatic anthologies *Koopman, Radio Kamerorkest, ZOC 9903 (CD) (1998) *Cuiller, Ensemble Stradivaria, Cyprès CYP1626 (CD) (2000) °Cohën-Akenine, Les Folies Françaises, Virgin Veritas 7243 5 45481 2 3 (CD) (2001) + °Les Fêtes de l’Hymen et de l’Amour, °Platée *Halstead, The 18th Century Concert Orchestra, LBMRCDA0201 (CD) (2002) *De Ligt, Haydn Jeugd Strijkorkest, Haydn Unlimited 2002-4693 (CD) (2002) *Weiss (harpsichord), Satirino Records SR 031 (CD) (2003) +*Castor et Pollux, *Dardanus, *Pigmalion ♦Christie, Les Arts Florissants, Opus Arte OA 0923 D (DVD) (2003) °Petric (accordion), Audio Ideas AI-CD-015 (CD) (2003) *Savall, Le Concert des Nations, ORF CD 417 (CD) (2005) °Pas, Cobla La Principal d’Amsterdam, Etcetera KTC 1325 (CD) (2006) *Gutman (piano), Toccata Classics TOCC 0050/0051/0052 (CD) (2006/2011) + Operatic anthologies *Rousset (harpsichord), Ambroisie AM 152 (CD) (2007) *Rechsteiner (organ), Alpha 650 (CD) (2008) + Operatic anthologies *Agnew, Orchestre Français des Jeunes Baroques (CD) (2008) *The Aulos Ensemble, Centaur CRC 2970 (CD) (2008) + *Les Fêtes d’Hébé *Savall, Le Concert des Nations, Aliavox AVSA 9877 (CD) (2010) *Innocenti (organ), Cremona MVC 011-34 (CD) (2010) *Brüggen, Orchestra of the Eighteenth Century, Luister Radio 4 ntr (CD) (2010) *Savall, Le Concert des Nations, Aliavox AVSA9882A+B (CD) (2010/2011) + *Les Boréades, *Naïs, *Zoroastre °Vernet, Meckler (organ), Ligia Lidi 0104232-11 (CD) (2011) *Hantaï, Sempé (harpsichords), Mirare MIR 164 (CD) (2011) + Operatic anthologies °Marcon, La Cetra, Deutsche Grammophon 479 0079 (CD) (2012) °Reyne, La Simphonie du Marais, ORF CD 3173 (CD) (2013) ♦Reyne, Le Chœur et La Simphonie du Marais, Musiques à la Chabotterie 605013 (CD) (2013) *Bartkiewicz (harpsichord), Dux 0600 (CD) (2013)

Rameau’s operas on disc


*NzBarok, Atoll ACD 813 (CD) (2013) *Stieghorst, Orchestre des Lauréats du Conservatoire de Paris, EM (DVD) (2013) °Ozdemir, Ensemble Musica Sequenza, Deutsche Harmonia Mundi 88875016202 (CD) (2014) ♦Rousset, Les Talens Lyriques, Alpha 710 (DVD) (2014) *Rattle, Berliner Philharmoniker, EuroArts 2061138 (DVD) (2014) °Beauséjour (piano), Analekta AN 2 9128 (CD) (2015) *Apotheosis, Etcetera Records KTC 1523 (CD) (2015) ♦Bolton, Münchner Festspielorchester, Balthasar-Neumann Chor, BelAir classiques BAC138 (DVD) (2016) *Devine, Resonus RES10214 (CD) (2017) ♦Vashegyi, Orfeo Orchestra, Purcell Choir, Glossa GCD 924005 (CD) (2018) *Vernet, Meckler (organ), Ligia Lidi 0104348-19 (CD) (2019) + *Dardanus, Operatic anthologies Naïs (7) ♦McGegan, English Bach Festival Singers and Baroque Orchestra, Erato STU 71439 (LP) [CD: 4509-98532-2] (1980) *McGegan, Philharmonia Baroque Orchestra, Harmonia Mundi 907121 (CD) (1994) + *Le Temple de la Gloire *Brüggen, Orchestra of the Eighteenth Century, Glossa GCD 921106 (CD) (1998) + *Zoroastre *Freeman-Attwood (trumpet), Pienaar (piano), Linn Records CDK 294 (CD) (2006) *Savall, Le Concert des Nations, Aliavox AVSA9882A+B (CD) (2010/2011) + *Les Boréades, *Les Indes galantes, *Zoroastre ♦Reyne, Le Chœur et La Simphonie du Marais (download-only version) (2011) ♦Vashegyi, Orfeo Orchestra, Purcell Choir, Glossa GCD 924003 (CD) (2017) La Naissance d’Osiris (3) *Térey-Smith, Capella Savaria, Naxos 8.553388 (CD) (1995) + *Les Boréades ♦Reyne, Le Chœur et La Simphonie du Marais, Musiques à la Chabotterie MC002 (CD) (2005) ♦Christie, Les Arts Florissants, Alpha 704 (DVD) (2014) + ♦Daphnis et Églé Nélée et Myrthis (1) ♦Christie, Les Arts Florissants, Harmonia Mundi HMC 901381 (CD) (1991) + ♦Pigmalion Les Paladins (11) *Désormière, Ensemble Orchestral de l’Oiseau-Lyre, LYS 293 (CD) (1938/1946) *Petit, Orchestre de Chambre Jean-Louis Petit, Decca SXL 20.521 A (LP) (1964) + Operatic anthologies *Bernard, The Baroque Chamber Ensemble, Everest Records BU-2843 (LP) (c. 1970)


Patrick Florentin

*Colombo, Orchestre des Concerts Lamoureux, Decca/L’Oiseau Lyre 117.236 (LP) [CD: Past Classics SP913] (1972) °Malgoire, La Grande Écurie & la Chambre du Roy, Vanguard Everyman Classics SRV 318 SD (LP) (1972) *Einhorn, Les Musicholiers, Arion ARN 38 159 (LP) [CD: ARN 68067] (1972) + *Castor et Pollux, *Dardanus, *Les Indes galantes, *Platée ♦Malgoire, La Grande Écurie & la Chambre du Roy, Pierre Verany PV790121/22 (CD) (1990) *Leonhardt, Orchestra of the Age of Enlightenment, Philips 432 968-2 (CD) (1991) ♦Christie, Les Arts Florissants, Opus Arte OA 0938 D (DVD) (2004) °Rousset, Les Talens Lyriques, Virgin Classics 50999 216574 2 9 (CD) (2008) ♦Junghänel, Neue Düsseldorfer Hofmusik, Coviello Classics COV 21013 (CD) (2010) Pigmalion (16) ♦Couraud, Orchestre de Chambre des Concerts Lamoureux, Chœur Raymond Saint-Paul, Archive Production ARC 73202 (LP) [CD: Archiv Produktion 00289 479 5823] (1962) + °Les Indes galantes ♦McGegan, English Bach Festival Singers and Baroque Orchestra, Erato STU 71507 (LP) [CD: 0825646364879] (1979) ♦Leonhardt, La Petite Bande, Choeur de la Chapelle Royale, Deutsche Harmonia Mundi HM 20386 (LP) [CD: Editio Classica GD77143] (1980) °Baumont (harpsichord), REM 10990 (LP) [CD: 310990 XCD] (1985) °Gilbert (harpsichord), Novalis 150 018-2 (CD) (1987) °Robert (harpsichord), ADDA 581 207 (CD) (1989) + Operatic anthologies ♦Christie, Les Arts Florissants, Harmonia Mundi HMC 901381 (CD) (1991) + ♦Nélée et Myrthis ♦Niquet, Le Concert Spirituel, Arnold Schoenberg Chor, Fnac Music 592196 (CD) (1992) *Goodman, European Union Baroque Orchestra, Naxos 8.557490 (CD) (2001) + *Dardanus, *Platée *Weiss (harpsichord), Satirino Records SR 031 (CD) (2003) +*Castor et Pollux, *Dardanus, *Les Indes galantes ♦Richman, Concert Royal Orchestra and Chorus, Centaur CRC 3011 (CD) (2007) °Farr (harpsichord), Naxos 8.572034-35 (CD) (2008) °Zimmer (harpsichord), Encelade ECL1001 (CD) (2010) + Operatic anthologies ♦Rousset, Les Talens Lyriques, Aparté AP155 (CD) (2017) + *Les Fêtes de Polymnie °Gaigg, Dahlin (t), L’Orfeo Barockorchester, CPO 556  156-2 (CD) (2020) + °Dardanus ♦Bernolet, Apotheosis Orchestra, Ramée RAM 1809 (CD) (2019)

Rameau’s operas on disc


Platée (16) ♦Rosbaud, Orchestre de la Société des Concerts du Conservatoire, Chœurs du Festival d’Aix-en-Provence, Pathé DTX 223/224 (LP) [CD: EMI CMS 7 69861 2] (1956) *Desarzens, Orchestre de Chambre de Lausanne, Guilde Internationale du Disque MMS-86 (LP) [Extracts on CD: Les Génies du Classique CLA-CD 133] (1959) *Oubradous, Orchestre de Chambre de Paris, Orphée 52069 Art (LP) (1964) + *Les Fêtes d’Hébé *Einhorn, Les Musicholiers, Arion ARN 38 159 (LP) [CD: ARN 68067] (1972) + *Castor et Pollux, *Dardanus, *Les Indes galantes, *Les Paladins °Hull, Arizona Chamber Orchestra, Klavier Records KS 515 (LP) (1973) °Minkowski, Les Musiciens du Louvre, WDR 66.30121 (LP) (1988) ♦Malgoire, La Grande Écurie & la Chambre du Roy, CBS M2K 44982 (CD) (1988) ♦Minkowski, Les Musiciens du Louvre, Ensemble vocal Françoise Herr, Erato 2292-45028-2 (CD) (1988) *Kraemer, The Raglan Baroque Players, United 88009 (CD) (1993) *McGegan, Philharmonia Baroque Orchestra, Conifer Classics 75605 51313 2 (CD) (1997) + *Dardanus *Goodman, European Union Baroque Orchestra, Naxos 8.557490 (CD) (1999) + *Dardanus, Pygmalion °Cohën-Akenine, Les Folies Françaises, Virgin Veritas 7243 5 45481 2 3 (CD) (2001) + °Les Fêtes de l’Hymen et de l’Amour, °Les Indes galantes ♦Minkowski, Les Musiciens du Louvre-Grenoble, TDK DV-OPPLT (DVD) (2002) °Keustermans, Weynants (s), La Cetra d’Orfeo, Eole EAD 002 (CD) (2006) *Brachetta, Van Delft (harpsichords), Resonus RES10145 (CD) (2014) *Mortensen, Concerto Copenhagen, ORF CD 3185 (CD) (2014) La Princesse de Navarre (4) *The Baroque Chamber Ensemble, Baroque Records B 1803 (LP) (c. 1965) ♦McGegan, English Bach Festival Singers and Baroque Orchestra, Erato STU 71283 (LP) [CD: 0630-12986-2] (1979) *Malgoire, La Grande Écurie & la Chambre du Roy, CBS M 37822 (LP) (1980) °Lécot (organ), Bayard Musique 308 444.2 (CD) (2014) + °Hippolyte et Aricie, °Zoroastre, Operatic anthologies Les Sibarites (2) ♦Comte, Le Concert de l’Hostel Dieu, Pierre Verany PV700012 (CD) (1999) °Ensemble A Deux Violes Esgales (violas da gamba), Alpha 176 (CD) (2009) + °‘Anacréon’ (1757), °Les Surprises de l’Amour Les Surprises de l’Amour (8) *Maréchal (cello), Roget (piano), Strings QT 99-301 (CD) (1946) + *Les Fêtes d’Hébé


Patrick Florentin

°Couraud, Orchestre de Chambre de l’ORTF, The French Broadcasting System GRC 11477 A/B (LP) (c. 1965) *Couraud, Orchestre des Concerts Lamoureux, Philips 641.755 LL (LP) (1965) + *Les Indes galantes *Minkowski, Les Musiciens du Louvre, Erato Musifrance 245 004-2 (CD) (1987) °Ensemble A Deux Violes Esgales (violas da gamba), Alpha 176 (CD) (2009) + °‘Anacréon’ (1757), °Les Sibarites °Skidmore, Sampson (s), Ex Cathedra, Hyperion CDA68035 (CD) (2013) + Operatic anthologies ♦D’Hérin, Les Nouveaux Caractères, Glossa GCD 922701 (CD) (2013) + ♦‘Anacréon’ (1757) °Cohën-Akenine, Les Folies Françaises, NoMadMusic NMM007 (CD) (2014) + °Hippolyte et Aricie Le Temple de la Gloire (7) *Leppard, English Chamber Orchestra, L’Oiseau-Lyre SOL 297/302 (LP) [CD: Decca 433 733-2] (1966) °Kapp, Philharmonia Virtuosi of New York, Candide CE 31012 (LP) (c. 1967) ♦Malgoire, La Grande Écurie & la Chambre du Roy, CBS D2 37858 (LP) (1981) *McGegan, Philharmonia Baroque Orchestra, Harmonia Mundi 907121 (CD) (1994) + *Naïs *Lamon, Tafelmusik Baroque Orchestra, CBC Records SMCD 5229 (CD) (2001) + *Dardanus ♦Van Wass, Les Agrémens, Chœur de Chambre de Namur, Ricercar RIC 363 (CD) (2014) ♦McGegan, Philharmonia Baroque Orchestra and Chorale, Philharmonia Baroque Productions PBP-10 (CD) (2017) Zaïs (4) ♦Leonhardt, La Petite Bande, Collegium Vocal Gent, Stil 1010 S 77 (LP) [CD: 1010/1810/2210 SAN 77] (1977) °Haas, Ausonia, Alpha 142 (CD) (2008) + °Zoroastre *Gaigg, L’Orfeo Barockorchester, Crystal N 67 063 (CD) (2010) + *Hippolyte et Aricie ♦Rousset, Les Talens Lyriques, Aparté AP109 (CD) (2014) Zéphire (2) ♦Wallez, Ensemble Instrumental de France, Chœur Elisabeth Brasseur, IPG 7465 (LP) (1976) ♦Christie, Les Arts Florissants, Cappella Coloniensis des WDR, Erato 857385774-2 (CD) (2000) + ♦La Guirlande Zoroastre (12) °Kapp, Hamburg Chamber Orchestra, Turnabout TV-S 34435 (LP) [CD: MMG/Vox Prima MWCD 7158] (1972)

Rameau’s operas on disc


*Melkus, Ensemble Eduard Melkus, Archiv Produktion 2533 303 (LP) (1975) ♦Kuijken, La Petite Bande, Collegium Vocale Gent, Deutsche Harmonia Mundi 1C 157 1999813 (LP) [CD: EMI CDS 7 47916 8] (1983) *Brüggen, Orchestra of the Eighteenth Century, Glossa GCD 921106 (CD) (2000) + *Naïs ♦Christie, Les Arts Florissants, Erato 0927 43182-2 (CD) (2001) ♦Rousset, Les Talens Lyriques, The Drottningholm Theatre Orchestra and Chorus, Opus Arte OA 0973 D (DVD) (2006) *Mortensen, European Union Baroque Orchestra, The Gift of Music CCL CDG1211 (CD) (2007) °Rousset, Gens (s), Les Talens Lyriques, MBF 1107 (CD) (2007) + °Les Fêtes d’Hébé, °Hippolyte et Aricie °Haas, Ausonia, Alpha 142 (CD) (2008) + °Zaïs *Savall, Le Concert des Nations, Aliavox AVSA9882A+B (CD) (2010/2011) + *Les Boréades, *Les Indes galantes, *Naïs *Procopio, Soloists of the Simón Bolívar Symphony Orchestra of Venezuela, Paraty 512120 (CD) (2012) + *Castor et Pollux, Operatic anthologies °Lécot (organ), Bayard Musique 308 444.2 (CD) (2014) + °Hippolyte et Aricie, °La Princesse de Navarre, Operatic anthologies 2. Operatic anthologies (61) a. Selections of Rameau’s works only (17) Boulanger, Vocal and Instrumental Ensemble, Decca DL 9683 (LP) [CD: The Intense Media LC 12281] (1952) De Froment, Orchestre de Chambre des Concerts Lamoureux, L’Oiseau-Lyre SOL 60024 (LP) (1961) + *Les Indes galantes Petit, Orchestre de Chambre Jean-Louis Petit, Decca SXL 20.521 A (LP) (1964) + *Les Paladins Lécot (organ), Auvidis AV 4821 (LP) (1982) + *Les Indes galantes Rousset, Les Talens Lyriques, L’Oiseau-Lyre 455 293-2 (CD) (1996) Lécot (organ), Forlane 16765 (CD) (1996) + *Hippolyte et Aricie, *Les Indes galantes Minkowski, Les Musiciens du Louvre-Grenoble, Archiv Produktion 00289 477 5578 (CD) (2003) Skidmore, Sampson (s), Ex Cathedra, Hyperion CDA67447 (CD) (2003) Brown, Fouchécourt (t), Opera Lafayette, Naxos 8557993F (CD) (2006) Gutman (piano), Toccata Classics TOCC 0050/0051/0052 (CD) (2006/2011) + *Les Indes galantes Rechsteiner (organ), Alpha 650 (CD) (2008) + *Les Indes galantes Hantaï, Sempé (harpsichords), Mirare MIR 164 (CD) (2011) + *Les Indes galantes Procopio, Soloists of the Simón Bolívar Symphony Orchestra of Venezuela, Paraty 512120 (CD) (2012) + *Castor et Pollux, *Zoroastre Currentzis, Koutcher (s), Svetov (bass), MusicAeterna, Sony 88843082572 (CD) (2012) Kossenko, Devieilhe (s), Les Ambassadeurs, Erato 0825646372843 (CD) (2013)

298 Patrick Florentin Lécot (organ), Bayard Musique 308 444.2 (CD) (2014) + °Hippolyte et Aricie, °La Princesse de Navarre, °Zoroastre Vernet, Meckler (organ), Ligia Lidi 0104348-19 (CD) (2019) + *Dardanus, *Les Indes galantes b. Extracts, among other composers, from Rameau’s operas (44) Gerlin, Orchestre de l’Anthologie Sonore, Adès MS 25 AS 529 (LP) (1941) Markowski, Silesian Phiharmonic Symphony Orchestra, Muza L 0093 (LP) (c. 1950) Mahler, Hartford Symphony Orchestra, Vanguard VSD-2098 (LP) [CD: Vanguard Classics USA SVC 108] (1961) Leppard, Souzay (b), English Chamber Orchestra, Philips 835.215 LY (LP) [CD: Diapason 5535] (1964) De Lioncourt, Orchestre Renaissance, Unidisc EX 33 211 (LP) (c. 1965) Paillard, Orchestre Jean-François Paillard, Erato STU 70 316 (LP) [CD: Parlophone Record Limited] (1966) Leppard, New Philharmonia Orchestra, Philips 802.893/901 LY (LP) [CD: 446 569-2] (1968/1969) Bovet (organ), Gallo CD-536 (CD) (1988) Robert (harpsichord), ADDA 581 207 (CD) (1989) + °Pigmalion Mathauser, J. & Z. Šedivý (trumpets), Olomouc Chamber Orchestra, Rosa Classic RD 065 (CD) (1993) Alabau (organ), Tempéraments TEM 316009 (CD) (1996) Besingrand (organ), Pavane ADW 7421 (CD) (1998) + *Les Indes galantes Les Quatre Violons, Erato 3984-27318-2 (CD) (1998) Cohën-Akenine, Petibon (s), Disques Festival d’Auvers-sur-Oise FAE005 (CD) (1998) Style of Five, Delos DE 3251 (CD) (1999) Geffert (organ), Scheerer (trumpet), Vox Coelestis 200019 (CD) (2000) Michel-Ostertun (organ), Zimmermann, Hommel, Petri (trumpets), Soft Sound Music (CD) (2001) Pfeiffer-Trompeten-Consort (trumpets), Cantate C 58018 (CD) (2002) Rousset, Gens (s), Les Talens Lyriques, Virgin Classics 00946 346762 2 9 (CD) (2005) Lazarévitch, Les Messieurs de Saint-Julien, Alpha 115 (CD) (2006) Valognes-Thomas (organ), Abbaye de Mondaye (CD) (2007) Rousset, Gens (s), Les Talens Lyriques, Camera lucida (DVD) (2007) Klein, Achtman (violas da gamba), Ruso (cello), Ramée RAM0803 (CD) (2007) Lamon, Tafelmusik Baroque Orchestra, Tafelmusik TMK1001DVDCD (CD) (2009) Zimmer (harpsichord), Encelade ECL1001 (CD) (2010) + °Pigmalion Haïm, Le Concert d’Astrée, Virgin Classics 50999 956502 2 7 (CD) (2011) Correas, Piau (s), Les Paladins, Naïve OP 30532 (CD) (2011) + °Les Fêtes de Ramire

Rameau’s operas on disc


Christie, The Metropolitan Opera Orchestra, Chorus and Ballet, Virgin Classics 40424996 (DVD) (2012) Skidmore, Sampson (s), Ex Cathedra, Hyperion CDA68035 (CD) (2013) + °Les Surprises de l’Amour Christie, Les Arts Florissants, L’Académie du Jardin des Voix, Les Arts Florissants AF.002 (CD) (2013) + °Dardanus, °Les Fêtes d’Hébé Borri (piano), La Bottega Discantata – Musica forte Discantica 281 (CD) (2013) Sempé, Capriccio Stravagante Les 24 violons, Paradizo PA0013 (CD) (2014) Savall, Le Concert des Nations, AliaVox AVSA9914 (CD) (2015) Les Délices, Navona Records NV6098 (CD) (2015) Bestion de Camboulas, Les Surprises, Rechsteiner (organ), Ambronay AMY050 (CD) (2016) Vashegyi, Orfeo Orchestra, Purcell Choir, Glossa GCD 924002 (CD) (2016) Pottier, Les Musiciens de Mademoiselle de Guise, Arc-en-Ciel 308 485.2 (CD) (2016) Greilsammer, Geneva Camerata, Sony 19075812392 (CD) (2016) Pichon, Degout (b), Pygmalion, Harmonia Mundi HMM 902288 (CD) (2016) Miletic, Rykkvin (treble), The MIN Ensemble, Signum Classics SIGCD526 (CD) (2017) Niquet, Watson (s), Deshayes (m), Van Mechelen (t), Le Concert Spirituel, Alpha 442 (CD) (2017) Vashegyi, Santon-Jeffery (s), Orfeo Orchestra, Purcell Choir, Aparté AP223 (CD) (2017) McNabey (harpsichord), Atma Classique ACD2 2780 (CD) (2018) Jarry (organ), Château de Versailles Spectacles CVS024 (CD) (2019)

Index of dramatic works cited

Note: Bold page numbers refer to tables, Italic page numbers refer to figures and page number followed by “n” refer to end notes.

Acante et Céphise (Marmontel, Rameau): 27, 42, 51, 238, 258n30; recordings of 280–1, 284–5, 289 Achille et Déidamie (Danchet, Campra) 14, 202–3 Acis et Galatée (Campistron, Lully) 31–2, 150n29 Æglé (Laujon, La Garde) 145, 149 Alceste (Calzabigi, Gluck) 187, 196n54 Alceste (Quinault, Lully) 17, 98–101, 272 Alessandro nell’Indie (Metastasio, Vinci) 17 L’Algérien, ou les Muses comediennes (Cahusac) 83, 108 Aline, reine de Golconde (Sedaine, Monsigny) 43n51 Amadis de Grèce (Houdar de La Motte, Destouches) 33–4, 40 ‘L’Amour saltimbanque’ (Les Fêtes vénitiennes) 147 Les Amours de Bastien et Bastienne (Favart) 145 Les Amours de Gogo (Favart) 71, 74n42 Les Amours de Ragonde (Néricault– Destouches, Mouret) 147 Les Amours de Tempé (Cahusac, Dauvergne) 42 Les Amours des dieux (Fuzelier, Mouret) 23, 272–3 Les Amours du printemps (Bonneval, Collin de Blamont) 34 Anacréon (1754) (Cahusac, Rameau): 118n25; libretto 80n2, 88n33, 90–3, 94–8, 107–8, 130n6; recordings of 280–3, 285, 287

‘Anacréon’ (1757) (Les Surprises de l’Amour): adaptation of 144, 151, 154–6; allusion to Vivaldi in 129–40; recordings of 280–1, 285, 295–6 Anacreonte (Frugoni, Deslile, Mangot, Rameau) 144–5, 151–6 Antiochus (Thomas Corneille) 107 Armide (Quinault, Lully): 27n5, 39–40, 110, 147, 205; performance of 217, 222, 227, 270–1 Atys (Quinault, Lully) 39–40, 97, 224n27, 250 ‘Bacchus et Érigone’ (Les Fêtes de Paphos) see Érigone Le Ballet de la paix (Roy, Rebel & Francœur) 158 Le Ballet des âges (Fuzelier, Campra) 28 Le Ballet des Muses (Danchet, Campra) 102 Les Beaux Jours de l’Amour (Cahusac, Rameau) 87–8, 90–3 Les Boréades (attrib. Cahusac, Rameau): 80, 84, 216n4, 233n11, 241n19; allegory in 73, 75–7; recordings of 280–3, 285, 287, 292–3, 297 Cadmus et Hermione (Quinault, Lully) 217 Callirhoé (Roy, Destouches) 30–1, 33, 35, 39–40, 43 Canente (Houdar de La Motte, Dauvergne) 42 Le Caprice d’Érato (Fuzelier, Collin de Blamont) 28, 32n27

302  Index of dramatic works cited Les Caprices de l’amour see Les Caractères de l’amour Les Caractères de l’amour (Pellegrin and others, Collin de Blamont) 34, 40–2, 103–4, 109, 145 Les Caractères de la danse (Rebel) 214n67 Le Carnaval du Parnasse (Fuzelier, Mondonville) 42, 50–1, 125n54, 158, 271 Le Carnaval et la Folie (Houdar de La Motte, Destouches) 40, 42 Castor et Pollux (Bernard, Rameau): at the ARM 23, 27n5, 33, 38–40, 42, 49, 54; adaptations of 143–5, 150–2, 158, 160, 164–84, 185–97; libretto 73, 97, 105–6; performance of 220–1, 235n14, 237; recordings of 279–83, 286–9, 291–2, 294–5, 297 Castor et Pollux (Bernard, Candeille) 185–97 La Chercheuse d’esprit (Favart) 147 Cinna (Pierre Corneille) 99 Le Comte de Warwick (Cahusac) 83 Le Coq de village (Favart) 145 La Coquette sans le savoir (Favart) 145 Daphnis et Alcimadure (Voisenon, Mondonville) 42, 48, 269 Daphnis et Chloé (Boismortier) 246n9 Daphnis et Églé (Collé, Rameau) recordings of 280–3, 285, 287, 293 Dardanus (La Bruère, Rameau): at the ARM 38, 42, 49, 139, 158, 229n5, 238–40; allegory in 63–4, 72–4, 77–8, 97; dance in 244–5; performance of 265, 269, 272, 274–5; recordings of 279–84, 285–99 Le Devin du Village (Rousseau) 53, 145, 149 Les Éléments (Roy, Lalande & Destouches) 27, 32n27, 39–40, 42, 58 L’Empire de l’Amour (Moncrif, Brassac) 31 Endymion (Pellegrin, Collin de Blamont) 27–8, 31n23 Enea e Lavinia (Sanvitale, Traetta) 143 Enée et Lavinie (Fontenelle, Dauvergne) 42, 143, 273 Érigone 48, 50, 121, 164n18, 172, 181, 183

Ernelinde, princesse de Norvège (Poinsinet, Philidor) 43n51 L’Europe galante (de La Motte, Campra) 145, 147, 209n41 ‘La Féerie’ (Les Fêtes de Polymnie) 85, 95, 158 Le feste d’Imeneo (Frugoni, Traetta) 143 ‘La Fête de Diane’ (Les Fêtes grecques et romaines) 32, 34, 212n59 ‘Le Feu’ (Les Eléments) 145, 147, 149 Les Fêtes d’Euterpe (Moncrif, Danchet, Favart, Brunet, Dauvergne) 42 Les Fêtes d’Hébé (Gautier de Montdorge, Rameau): 42, 49; adaptation of 143, 147; libretto of 70–8; performance of 248, 258n29, 262, 269; recordings of 279–83, 285–6, 288, 290–2, 295, 297, 299 Les Fêtes de l’Hymen et de l’Amour (Cahusac, Rameau): libretto 68–9, 76n45, 80n2, 83, 85, 234n12; performance of 38, 42, 229n5; in Parma 143, 158; recordings of 280–3, 289, 292, 295 Les Fêtes de Paphos (Collet de Messine, La Bruère, Voisenon, Mondonville): 42, 273; adaptation of 158, 160, 164, 170, 172–4, 180–1, 183 Les Fêtes de Polymnie (Cahusac, Rameau): 27, 42, 80n2, 82–5, 92, 95, 139, 147, 158, 269; recordings of 280–3, 289, 294 Les Fêtes de Thalie (La Font, Mouret) 109, 147, 212, 214 Les Fêtes de Thétis (Roy, Collin de Blamont) 29, 34, 36, 39–40 Les Fêtes grecques et romaines (Fuzelier, Collin de Blamont): at ARM 26–9, 31–2, 40–3, 203–4, 212n59; adaptations of 145, 147, 149 Les Fêtes vénitiennes (Danchet, Campra) 39, 147 ‘Les Fleurs’ (Les Indes galantes) 203–4, 207–9, 212–13 Les Grâces (Roy, Mouret) 202–3, 268 La Guirlande (Marmontel, Rameau): 42, 51, 68, 269; recordings of 280–3, 289, 296

Index of dramatic works cited  303 Hercule mourant (Marmontel, Dauvergne) 42 Hesione (Danchet, Campra) 56–7, 73n36 Hippolyte et Aricie (Pellegrin, Rameau): at ARM 11–15, 31–2, 38–40, 42, 49, 201–2, 204, 214, 266, 268; adaptions of 143, 146–7, 155, 158, 175; libretto 73, 97, 139, 232–3, 237–8; modern interpretations of 215–18, 222–7; recordings of 279–83, 287–98 Idoménée (Danchet, Campra) 147 ‘Les Incas du Pérou’ (Les Indes galantes) 88, 146–7, 150, 203–9 Les Indes galantes (Fuzelier, Rameau): at ARM 11–12, 15, 27, 32, 38, 42, 49, 51, 88, 201–14; adaptations of 144– 7, 149, 175; libretto 70, 95, 105n19, 108n25, 265; performance of 222, 244, 246–8, 250, 268–9; recordings of 279–83, 286–90, 293–8 Io (anon., Rameau): librettist 80–4, 93; recording of 284 Iphigénie et Tauride (Guillard, Gluck) 147, 189 Ippolito ed Aricia (Frugoni, Traetta) 142n7, 142–4, 146–7, 155, 290 Isbé (La Rivière, Mondonville) 48, 50 Isis (Quinault, Lully) 31–2, 250 Ismène (Moncrif, Rebel & Francœur) 145, 149, 158 Issé (Houdar de La Motte, Destouches): 26–7, 30–2, 37, 39–43; in Parma 145, 147; review of 270, 277 Jephté (Pellegrin, Montéclair) 33, 39–40, 202n4, 203 Le Jugement de Midas (d’Hèle, Grétry) 189n24 Linus (La Bruère, Berton, Dauvergne, Trial) 121 Linus (La Bruère, Rameau) 50, 113–26, 265 ‘La Lyre enchantée’ (Les Surprises de l’Amour) 97 Le Mariage de la Grosse Cathos (Philidor) 251

Médée et Jason (Pellegrin, La Roque, Salomon) 266 Naïs (Cahusac, Rameau): at ARM 41–2, 116, 240, 242; libretto 76n44, 80n2, 85, 87, 229n5, 235n14, 276; recordings of 276, 280–3, 286, 292–3, 296–7 La Naissance d’Osiris (Cahusac, Rameau): 80n2, 118n25; recordings of 280–3, 286–7, 293 Nélée et Mirthis [Myrthis] (attrib. Cahusac, Rameau): possible librettist 80, 87–93; recordings of 280–3, 293–4 Ninette à la cour (Favart) 143n10, 145, 146n16, 149 La Nouvelle Italie (Bibiena, Duni) 16 Omphale (Houdar de La Motte, Destouches) 31, 40, 42, 100–1, 147, 158 Orfeo ed Euridice (Calzabigi, Gluck) 142, 187 ‘Osiris’ (Les Fêtes de l’Hymen et de l’Amour) 85 Les Paladins (attrib. Duplat de Monticourt, Rameau): 42; libretto 74–5, 97; reception 274; recordings of 280–3, 286–7, 291, 293–5, 297 Pandore (Voltaire) 50n14 Les Peines et les plaisirs de l’amour (Morand, Bourgeois) 103, 109 Persée (Quinault, Lully) 217 Phaëton (Quinault, Lully) 266–7 Pharamond (Cahusac) 83 Phèdre (Racine) 223–4, 227 Philomèle (Roy, La Coste) 267 Pigmalion (Houdar de La Motte, Ballot de Sauvot, Rameau): 51, 88, 158; reception 39, 41–2, 276; recordings of 280–3, 286, 288–9, 291–4, 298 Pirame et Thisbé (La Serre, Rebel & Francœur) 267 Les Plaisirs de la campagne (Pellegrin, Mlle Barbier, Bertin) 32n27 Platée (Autreau, Rameau): 41–2, 51, 74–5; libretto 82–4, 97, 240; recordings of 280–2, 286–9, 291–2, 294–5

304  Index of dramatic works cited Polyxène (Joliveau, Dauvergne) 42 Le Prince de Noisy (La Bruère, Rebel & Francœur) 117, 121 La Princesse d’Élide (Molière, Lully) 32n27 Les Projets de l’Amour (Voisenon, Mondonville) 48 La Princesse de Navarre (Voltaire, Rameau): 82, 84; recordings of 280–2, 284, 290, 295, 297–8 Proserpine (Quinault, Lully) 271 ‘La Provençale’ (Les Fêtes de Thalie) 147, 214, 273 Raton et Rosette (Favart) 145 La Reine des Péris (Fuzelier, Aubert) 102, 204, 207 Le Retour des dieux sur la terre (Tannevot, Collin de Blamont, Dampierre) 28 Roland (Quinault, Lully) 147 Samson (Voltaire, Rameau) 13n11, 50n14, 204 ‘Les Sauvages’ (Les Indes galantes) 147, 149, 201, 208–14 Scanderberg (Houdar de La Motte, La Serre, Rebel & Francœur) 39–40, 203, 212–13 Scylla (Duché, Theobaldo di Gatti) 267 Sémiramis (Roy, Destouches) 28 Les Sens (Roy, Mouret) 39, 143 La serva padrona (Federico, Pergolesi) 145, 149 Les Stratagèmes de l’Amour (Roy, Destouches) 27 Les Surprises de l’Amour (Bernard, Rameau): 42, 76n45, 97, 130, 277; adaptation of 144, 151, 156; recordings of 280–5, 288, 290–1, 295, 299 Sylvie (Laujon, Trial & Berton) 43n51 Les Talents lyriques see Les Indes galantes Tancrède (Danchet, Campra) 27n5, 39–40 Télémaque et Calypso (Pellegrin, Destouches) 30–1, 33 Le Temple de Gnide (Bellis, Roy, Mouret) 270

Le Temple de la Gloire (Voltaire, Rameau): 27, 186n6, 190n28, 235n14; recordings of 279–83, 288, 293, 296 Thésée (Quinault, Lully) 100, 147, 270 Thétis et Pélée (Fontenelle, Collasse) 39–40, 129, 212–13 I Tindaridi (Frugoni, Traetta) 143, 151, 187 Titon et l’Aurore (La Marre, Voisenon, Mondonville) 39, 42, 53–5, 145, 158, 275 Le Triomphe de l’harmonie (Le Franc de Pompignon, Grenet) 145, 149 Le Triomphe de Vénus (Mangot) 72, 146–7 Le Triomphe des arts (Houdar de La Motte, La Barre) 101 Les Trois âges de l’Opéra (Devismes, Grétry) 189n24 Les Troqueurs (Vadé, Dauvergne) 145, 149 ‘Le Turc généreux’ (Les Indes galantes) 95, 97, 105n19, 106n20, 145, 147, 203, 207 ‘Vénus et Adonis’ (Collet de Messine, Mondonville) 48, 145, 149, 164n18, 170n24 Zaïde, reine de Grenade (La Marre, Royer) 145, 147, 149 Zaïs (Cahusac, Rameau): 41–2, 116, 158; libretto 80n2, 85, 91, 234n12, 239–40; recordings of 280–3, 290, 296–7 Zénéïde (Cahusac) 83 Zéphire (attrib. Cahusac, Rameau): libretto 80, 84–7, 93; dance in 244–63; recordings of 279–83, 289, 296 La zingara (Rinaldo da Capua) 145 Zoroastre (Cahusac, Rameau): at ARM 12n4, 42, 50–1, 116n16; adaptations of 144n11, 145, 158, 242; libretto 74, 80n2, 84, 88, 218, 234n12, 235n14, 247n12; modern productions of 219–20; recordings of 280–2, 284, 286–7, 289–90, 292–3, 295–8

General index

Note: Bold page numbers refer to tables, Italic page numbers refer to figures and page number followed by “n” refer to end notes.

Académie de musique d’Aix-enProvence 179n33 Académie des Beaux-Arts de Lyon 146 Académie Française 49n11, 122, 125n51 Académie Royale de Musique, (Académie, Académie Royale): performers at 264–77; before Rameau 25–45; during Rameau’s career 13n7, 46–56, 201–14; after Rameau’s death 186–7; use of scenery at 228–42; see also Paris Opéra acte de ballet 80–90, 95–6, 234 Adam, Adolphe 185–6, 197 Alexandre, Ivan 215, 218, 226n30 Algarotti, Francesco 157 André-Bardon, Michel-François d’ 44, 53 Antier, Marie 266–8 Argenson, Marc-Pierre de Voyer de Paulmy, comte d’ 41, 50, 122–3 Argental, Charles-Augustin de Ferriol d’ 120–4 Argian Games 87, 90–2 ariette: 56n44, 151, 268; by Collin de Blamont 28, 32; by Destouches 30; by Rameau 77, 86, 191, 252–5, 268–9 Arnaud, François 140 Arnould, Sophie 272–5 Ariosti, Attilio 130 Autreau, Jacques 82–4

Ballard, Christophe 101–3 ‘Ballet des fleurs’ 206–11, 247–50 ‘Ballet des nations’ 209 ballet see dance; opéra-ballet ballet figuré 86–7, 155, 206–8, 247, 254 ballet héroïque 27, 143, 150 baroque as a stylistic term 14, 189, 191, 226, 235 basse-taille 91, 161–73, 186 Beffara, Louis-François 32n25, 40n43 Berlioz, Hector 197 Bernage de Saint-Maurice, Louis Basile 50–1, 124n47 Bernard, Pierre-Joseph (‘GentilBernard’): 67, 73, 154, 187–8, 192, 196, 235; see also ‘Anacréon’; Castor et Pollux Bernis, François-Joachim de Pierre, abbé de 114–26 Berton, Pierre-Montan 25n2, 43, 121 Bianchi, Francesco 187 Bibiena, Jean Galli de 11–24 bienséance 64, 69 Blampignon, Émile-Antoine 114n8, 118n22, 121n39, 122n43 Blanchard, Esprit-Joseph-Antoine 48, 58 Boileau, Nicolas 68 Boissy, Louis de 265, 276 Bonnet, Jacques 250 Bossuet, Jacques-Bénigne Lignel 68 Boucher, François 67, 72–4

306  General index Bouffons see Querelle des Bouffons Bourbon, Philippe de, duc de 142 Bridard de La Garde, Philippe 276–7 Brosses, Charles de 18, 40 bruit de guerre 121n36, 125 Burney, Charles 60 Cahusac, Louis de: 58n49; allegory 68–9, 74; dance and movement 210, 216, 247, 251–9; possible attributions 80–93; themes 95–8, 106–8; 117, 122, 218–19; use of scenery 234–5 Camargo, Marie-Anne Cupis de 202, 206 Campra, André 14, 26, 28, 44, 48, 56, 102, 123, 147; see also Index of Dramatic Works Candeille, Pierre-Joseph 185–97 capitation performances 32n25, 211–14 Carignan, Victor Amédée 1er de Savoie, prince de 67, 202 Castel, Louis-Bertrand 22 Caveau, Société du 67 Chapelle du Louvre 49n11 Chapelle Royale 48–50 chassis 229–30 Château-Lyon, Pierre-Louis d’Aquin de 38, 44, 55–7 Châtelet, Gabrielle Émilie Le Tonnelier de Breteuil, marquise du 13 Chevalier, Marie 270–1 Choisy-le-Roi 229 Clairon, Mlle (‘La Clairon’) 273 Claustre, André de 89 Clermont en Auvergne 64, 175 Collasse, Pascal 28, 129 Collé, Charles 50–2, 67, 88, 93, 114, 122–3 Collège Louis-le-Grand 13n9, 49n11 collettes 84, 161 Collin de Blamont, François: 25–45; see also Index of Dramatic Works Comédie-Française 124–5, 268 Concert Spirituel 47–9, 51–2, 139, 160, 177–8, 186 Concert(s) de la Reine 26, 33n29, 38, 47–8, 51 Conservatoire de Musique, Paris 194–5

Conservatoire National des Arts et Métiers 194–5 contredanse 154–6 cor de chasse 32 Corneille, Pierre 99 Corneille, Thomas 107 Courbois, Philippe 66 Court, François 161n12 Crébillon fils, Claude-Prosper Jolyot de 65–70, 74 Dacier, Émile 202, 206–8, 213–14 Dalayrac, Nicolas 185 dance, dances and dancers 28–9, 32, 63–4, 77, 215–26, 243–63; adaptation of 170, 189, 191, 194; use by Cahusac 81–7; in Les Indes galantes 202, 205–14; in Parma 142, 150, 153–7 Danchet, Antoine 14, 102 Dancourt, Monsieur 268 danse composée 209, 214 danse noble 243n2 danse simple 81–2, 209–11, 214 Dauvergne, Antoine: 41–3, 121; see also Index of Dramatic Works Decroix, Jacques-Joseph-Marie 82, 113, 144, 278 Denoyé, Jacques-Antoine 177 Descartes, René 19n37, 99, 101, 105n18 Desfontaines, Pierre-François Guyot 33n28 Desmarets, Henry 28, 147 Desroziers, Charles 160 dessus 161–72, 246 Destouches, André Cardinal: 25–45, 123, 145, 147, 149, 158; see also Index of Dramatic Works Diderot, Denis 21–2, 63, 72, 74, 79, 228n3 divertissement: by Collin de Blamont and Destouches 28–32, 34; by Cahusac 81–8; in Linus 118, 124; by Rameau 64, 68–70, 78–9, 206–9, 214; staging of 192, 220–5, 246–7, 260–3, 272 Dorat, Claude-Joseph 78–9 Dortous de Mairan, Jean-Jacques 21, 124

General index  307 double entendre 64, 66 DrottningholmTheatre, Stockholm 219 Du Tillot, Guillaume 141–2, 150 Dubuisson, Simon-Henri 15, 203–4 Duclos, Charles Pinot 67, 69 Dumoulin, David 211, 213 Duni, Egidio Romualdo 16, 143n9, 143n10, 145–9, 155n36 Dupré, Jean-Denis 213n61 Dupré, Louis 202, 208–14 Duras, Emmanuel-Félicité de Durfort, duc de 122n43, 125 énergie des modes 235 entr’acte 192, 215–26, 239–40 Epicureanism 67 eroticism in librettos 63–79 Fair Theatres (Théâtre de la Foire) 20, 49, 67, 207, 250 Favart, Charles-Simon 71, 78, 145, 149 Federici, Vincenzo 187 féerie, la 83, 204 Fel, Marie 269, 273 ferme (scenery) 208, 222, 230, 232 Ferrère, Auguste 256n28 Feuillet, Raoul Auger 251 Fontainebleau 47–8, 88, 91, 229, 234 Fontenay, Louis Abel de Bonnafous, abbé de 56 Fontenelle, Bernard Le Bovier de 124, 143, 212 Forkel, Johann Nikolaus 60 fragments (genre) 87n29, 92n54, 98 Framery, Nicolas-Étienne de 194 Francœur, François see Rebel, François Freemasonry 84, 93, 179n32, 218–19 Frugoni, Carlo Innocenzo 143, 154 Fuzelier, Louis 106n20, 201–14 Gacon, François 95–6 Geoffroy, Julien-Louis 193 Gerber, Ludwig 60 Gervais, Charles-Hubert 48 gesture: musical 33, 132, 218–19, 238; on stage 154, 227, 243–4, 250, 259, 267, 270, 273, 275 Gilles, Jean 159, 177–9

Girdlestone, Cuthbert 63–4, 97n7, 114n4, 243, 263 Giroust, François 160 gloire (scenery) 230, 232 Gluck, Christoph Willibald 41, 142, 187, 189–91, 196–7 Gondrée, Louise 268 Gossec, François-Joseph 41, 186–7, 190 Grand Siècle 28–9, 45, 57 Granet, François 23 Grenet, François-Lupien 145–6, 149 Grénon, Louis 175, 177 Grétry, André-Ernest-Modeste 59, 140n22, 185, 187 Grimm, François Melchior, baron de 38, 52, 55 Guérapin de Vauréal, Louis-Gui de 49 Guigues, Jean-Joseph 150 Guiot, Mlle 250 Handel, George Frideric 23, 129–30, 132 haute-contre 144n12, 150, 161, 165, 172–3, 184, 268–9, 275–6 haute-taille 16, 268 Hiller, Johann Adam 59–60 Houdar de La Motte, Antoine 30, 100, 203, 212 Hutcheson, Francis 105 Jacobi, Giovanni 148 Jacquet de La Guerre, Élisabeth 44 Jaucourt, Louis de 21–2 Jéliote [Jélyotte], Pierre 29, 32, 267–70 Jommelli, Niccolò 195n43 La Barre, Michel de 101 La Bruère, Charles-Antoine Le Clerc de 50, 67, 113–26, 265 Le Brun, Charles 17 La Clairon see Clairon, Mlle La Coste, Louis de 267 La Dixmerie, Nicolas Bricaire de 55, 210 La Font, Joseph de 212n57, 109 La Garde, Pierre de 145, 149, 276–7 La Place, Pierre-Antoine de 265–6, 276 La Porte, Joseph 11–12, 54, 113–14, 270n20

308  General index La Pouplinière, Alexandre Le Riche de 47–50, 67, 114, 117, 122 La Roque, Antoine de 264–5 La Serre, Jean-Louis Ignace de 212 Lalande, Michel-Richard 26, 28, 44, 53, 56–8, 60 Lallemand, Brice 33n29, 34 Larrivée, Henri 271–2 Laujon, Pierre 277n52 Le Gros, Joseph 275–6 Le Maure, Catherine Nicole 202n4, 267, 270, 274 Le Noble, Jacques 151 Le Valois d’Orville, Adrien-Joseph 84n15 Leclair, Jean-Marie l’aîné 130 Lemière, Marie-Jeanne 271 Lenoir, Alexandre 195, 197 libertine novel 63, 65, 69, 74, 78 Louis XIV 28n8, 45–6, 55n40, 57–9, 251 Lulliste-Ramiste dispute 11–24, 25–45, 63, 125 Lully, Jean-Baptiste 12–14, 17–18, 24, 26–32, 40–1, 44–5, 46, 53, 55–60, 63, 67–8, 85, 97–8, 100, 119, 124, 147, 215n2, 217–8, 222, 224–5, 250, 258, 266–7, 270–2 Luynes, Charles-Philippe d’Albert, duc de 38, 48 Madin, Henry 48 Magasin de l’Opéra 235 Malherbe, Charles 201n2, 203n10 & 11, 204n12, 214n68 Mangot, Jacques-Simon 141–58 Mangot, Marie-Louise 142n4, 146; see also Rameau, Marie Louise Marais, Mathieu 44, 207n32 Maret, Hugues 14n12 Marmontel, Jean-François 68, 216, 265, 270n20, 276 Marpurg, Friedrich Wilhelm 27–8 Martini, Giambattista 155, 157n38 Menus-Plaisirs 202n6 Messe des morts 159–79 Metastasio, Pietro 17n29 Meude-Monpas, Jean-Olivier de 45 Molière 32n27

Mondonville, Jean-Joseph Cassanéa de see Index of Dramatic Works Cited Monsigny, Pierre-Alexandre 41, 43n51, 185 Montéclair, Michel Pignolet de 28, 33, 53, 203, 267, 271 Montenoy, Charles Palissot de 56n44 Morand, Pierre de 103–4, 110 Morel de Chédeville, Étienne 186 motet à grand chœur 46–52, 57n46 Mouret, Jean-Joseph at ARM 23, 28, 33, 39, 44, 55, 202, 212; in Parma 143, 147; performance of 268, 270, 272–3; see also Index of Dramatic Works Cited Moutonnet-Clairfons, Julien 92 Newton, Sir Isaac 21, 229 Nivernais, Louis-Jules ManciniMazarini, duc de 114–26 Noverre, Jean-Georges 76n45, 205, 256, 262 Opéra, Paris: 23, 25–32, 41n47, 43–4, 50–4, 58–9, 122–4, 149n26, 177; aesthetics at 68, 72; after Rameau 186–7, 190, 194, 197n55; at the time of Les Indes galantes 201–14; performers at 266–77; staging at 217, 235, 249–50; see also Académie Royale de Musique opéra-ballet (or ballet): at the ARM 14, 23, 27, 29, 32, 40, 201–5; themes in 67, 94–112; in Parma 141–58; see also individual opéras-ballets in Index of Dramatic Works Cited opéra comique 49, 189 opera seria 102 orage 124n49, 130, 135–6, 138, 154, 156 Pannard, Charles-François 67 pantomime 76n45, 154, 219–20, 256n28 Parma 16n25, 120n31, 141–58 parodie 29, 71–2, 74n42, 78n49, 145, 158, 206n29 parterre 59, 193 partition réduite 164

General index  309 pastorale héroïque 27, 67, 143, 145, 149n26 Pécour, Guillaume-Louis 250–1 Pelissier, Marie 29, 202n4, 266 Pellegrin, Simon-Joseph, abbé 44n60, 103–4, 109, 143, 203, 222n19 Pergolesi, Giovanni Battista 18n32, 140, 145, 149 Petitpas, Mlle 29, 32, 202n4 Philidor, François-André Danican 41–3 Piron, Alexis 66–7, 73 Piroye, Charles 66 pizzicato 134–5 Pompadour, Jeanne-Antoinette Poisson, marquise de 26n4, 47–8, 51, 121–3, 124–6, 265, 276–7 Pompignan, Jean-Jacques Lefranc, marquis de 45 Pougin, Arthur 185n1, 266n6, 268n14, 270n20 prévôt des marchands 50n18, 88, 123 Querelle des Bouffons 25, 44n62, 51n24, 52–3, 59, 125, 140, 196, 270n20 Quinault, Philippe 29, 67, 85, 95, 98–101, 104, 224n27 Rabon, Mlle 213n61 Racine, Jean 223, 227 Rameau, Claude-François 133n2 Rameau, Jean-Philippe: Operatic works see Index of Dramatic Works Cited; Theoretical works: Démonstration du principe de l’harmonie 50, 205n22; Génération harmonique 13n7, 19; Traité de l’harmonie 64, 76–7 Rameau, Marie-Louise 142n4, 146 Ramistes: 11–24, 25–45, 63, 125; see also Lulliste-Ramiste dispute Ramoneurs 12, 28 Raynal, Guillaume-Thomas 265 Rebel, François 28, 41, 53, 117, 145, 149–50, 158, 203, 212, 267, 273, 277 Rebel, Jean-Féry 214n67 rehearsal 13n7, 31, 113, 118–20, 150, 203, 214, 229

Requiem Mass: 160–84; see also Messe des morts Rey, Jean-Baptiste 178 Ricard, Adolphe 92n54 ritournelle 31, 33, 84, 88, 155–6, 181, 218–19, 221 Rivaud, Jean-Baptiste 97n7 Riviere, Mlle 271, 274 Rousseau, Jean-Baptiste 14 Rousseau, Jean-Jacques 22n46, 52–3, 145, 149, 218–19 Rousselet 52–3 Roy, Pierre-Charles 14, 29, 143, 202 Royer, Joseph-Nicolas-Pancrace 44, 53, 116, 145, 147, 149 Sade, Donatien Alphonse François, marquis de 14n12, 69, 79 Saint-Albine, Pierre Rémond de 265, 277 Saint-Louis, Jesuit church, Paris 49n11 Salieri, Antonio 187 Salle des Machines, Tuileries Palace 229 Salle du Manège, Versailles 229 Sallé, Marie 205–14 Salomon 159 Salomon, Joseph-François 266 Sanvitale, Jacopo Antonio 143 sarabande 86, 155–6, 182, 252–9 Sarti, Giuseppe 187 Servandoni, Jean-Nicolas 207–8, 212, 214, 228 scenery see Académie Royale de Musique; Cahusac; ferme; gloire; toile de fond; Rameau; staging Simon, Charles 92 Slodtz, Paul-Ambroise and SébastienAntoine 228 Société de Caveau 67 Soleville, Emmanuel 108n26 sommeil 28, 139; in ‘Anacréon’ 129–36, 139–40, 154–5 staging: in modern times 215–27; relationship between music and scenery 228–42 Stainville, Étienne-François de Choiseul, comte de 114–26 surintendant de la musique de la chambre du roi 25–6, 31, 37, 40, 44–5

310  General index Telemann, Georg Philipp 130 Théâtre d’Évreux 223 Théâtre des Petits Appartements, Petits Cabinets 26, 47–8, 117, 121, 125, 164n18, 276–7 Théâtre du Palais-Royal see Académie Royale de Musique; Palais-Royal, Théâtre de Théâtre-Italien 16, 250 Teatro Alibert, Rome 17 Thuret, Louis Armand Eugène de 203, 206n28, 212 Titon du Tillet, Évrard 44 toile de fond (scenery) 22, 230 Tourneux, Maurice 52n27 Traetta, Tommaso 16, 142–4, 146–7, 151, 155, 157, 187 tragédie en musique: at ARM 27, 32–3, 46, 49, 88, 113, 203, 212, 214; in Parma 143, 145, 150; staging of 215–227, 230; themes in 67, 74–5, 97–8, 100, 105, 179 Tréfontaine, Joseph Guénot de 50n16 & 18

Trial, Jean-Claude 121 Tribou, Denis François 29 unity of place 222, 226n30, 227 Vairasse, Denis 103n15 vaudeville 19–20, 54, 71–2, 78, 145 Versailles 32n27, 43, 48, 149n26, 203n8, 229, 276 Villeroy, Jeanne-Louise Constance d’Aumont, marquise de 113n3, 118n25 Vinci, Leonardo 17–19 Vivaldi, Antonio 23; Le quattro stagioni 129–40, 154–5 Vogler, Georg Joseph 187 Voisenon, Claude Henri de Fusée, abbé de 12n3 Voltaire [François-Marie Arouet] 13, 45, 46, 50n14, 57, 120n31, 192, 201n2, 235 Winter, Peter von 187, 193n37