Jean-Baptiste Lully, director

HistoryJean-Baptiste Lully, director

History : Jean-Baptiste Lully, director

Presented at the King’s court at the age of twenty, Lully was soon to enjoy an excellent reputation as an instrumentalist and composer. A bond of camaraderie was quickly woven between himself and the young monarch. 

In 1661 he was appointed superintendent of chamber music. In 1671, his close collaboration with Molière and Corneille came to fruition with Psyché, a comedy-ballet on the threshold of opera. 

He bought the right to direct the Academy from Perrin at the cost of a considerable stipend and, on 29th March 1672, the King delivered letters patent according new privileges to Lully: the Academy was to become Royal, the pieces of music would be composed on both French verse and in foreign languages. This privilege was conferred on Lully for life and it was henceforth forbidden for any actor or musician to perform any piece containing more than two arias and two instruments without his permission. 

Despite considerable opposition, Lully established himself at the Jeu de paume in the rue de Vaugirard then, after Molière’s death in 1673, in the hall of the Palais Royal, rue Saint-Honoré. Imposing strict discipline, he organised the Academy with great authority. The public was seized with enthusiasm for opera, which subsequently enjoyed such immense popularity as to become a major artistic genre.     

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