Abbé Perrin (Director of...
After earning the privilege to establish an opera Academy by letter of patent in 1669, Pierre Perrin (also known as Abbé Perrin) and Robert Cambert decided to house their institution in the Salle du Jeu de Paume de la Bouteille. Located in the rue des Fossés-de-Nesle which today is the rue Mazarine in the Latin Quarter, the building was converted into a theatre by Henri Guichard, steward of the buildings of the Duke of Orléans. It was in this hall on March 19 1671, that Pomone, an opera by Robert Cambert to a libretto by Pierre Perrin—a work generally considered to be the first French opera—was first performed. At the time, the troupe of the Académie d’Opéra was comprised of nine singers: there were five men and four women; a chorus of fifteen members and thirteen orchestra musicians. Pomone, with its luxurious staging, impressive sets and magical ballet sequences choreographed by Pierre Beauchamp proved a huge success and was performed for eight consecutive months. This was later followed by the premiere of Les Peines et les Plaisirs de l’amour, an opera written by Robert Cambert based on the writings of Gabriel Gilbert. It would be the second and final opera to be performed in that theatre. With the arrival of Lully at the head of the Académie, the troupe relocated and the theatre closed its doors on April 1 1672. After undergoing another facelift and now known as the Hôtel Guénégaud, the theatre reopened to host the so-called “Marais” troupe and the former Molière troupe which, once merged, would give rise to the Comédie-Française.
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