Louis XIV and La Grande Mademoiselle
Excerpt: ...listening to singing. Was it the "loose morals" of Quinault which caused these? Was it the new music? In either case, the worthy Boileau was excusable for his alarm. France had not yet reached the point of excitability which existed in Italy. The French are not a sufficiently musical race for this; but in a less degree, the country submitted to the extraordinary power of the dramatic style. It is known through Mme. de Sevigne that if the French listeners did not invariably "burst into sobs" or "suffocate with emotion," more than one auditor, including herself, wept silently in hearing the fine passages. 218 Fashion also swayed affairs, and we know of what fashion is capable in France. Saint Evremond has written a comedy entitled The Operas. In the list of dramatis personae, one reads: "Mlle. Crisotine become mad through the hearing of operas. Tirsolet, a young man from Lyons, also became mad through operas." A third person relates that "nothing else is spoken of in Paris. Women and even young children knew the operas by heart, and there is hardly a house in which entire scenes are not sung." How nearly France and Italy are approached in this. The Louvre party caught the fashion, the courtiers, being eager to imitate the King, a great admirer of Lulli. It had happened that Louis remarked during the rehearsals of Alceste "that if he were at Paris when the opera should be played, he would go every day." "This phrase," adds Mme. de Sevigne "is worth a hundred thousand francs to Baptiste." 191 This was no affectation on the part of the King; he really loved music, as can be recognised through unmistakable signs. Louis XIV. had throughout his life the taste and more than a taste for music; to which he added a longing to be himself a performer, a desire that can never be satisfied with the most skilled professional entertainments. As a youth, he played the guitar and took part in ensemble playing. As a man, he found that he had a good voice, and knew..
- 189 x 246 x 6mm | 213g
- 13 Sep 2013
- United States
- black & white illustrations