Dancing King: Louis XIV's Roles in Molière's Comédies-ballets, from Court to Town

Prest, Julia
September 2001
Seventeenth Century;Autumn2001, Vol. 16 Issue 2, p283
Academic Journal
In the early part of his reign, Louis XIV danced regularly in court ballets. He performed four dancing roles in three of Molière's comédies-ballets (plays which were characterized by the inclusion of music and dance and written to be premiered before Louis XIV and his court): an Egyptian in Le Mariage forcé (1664), a Moorish Gentleman in Le Sicilien (1667) and Neptune and Apollo in Les Amants magnifiques (1670). In this article, these roles are examined both in their original context for performance at court (where the emphasis was on the king) and in later performances by the same troupe before a paying public at the Palais-Royal theatre in Paris (and from which Louis XIV was absent). Given that both versions, which differed in a number of ways, were performed by Molière and his troupe, the notion of the ‘authentic’ production is necessarily called into question.


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