comédie-ballet

Definition

Theater

  • A 17th-century French genre in which scenes of dialogue alternatedwith ballet and music. It became especially popular during the 1660sat the court of Louis XIV, where courtiers participated in the entertainment.An extravagant example was Pleasures of the Enchanted Island(1664), for which the palace of the enchantress Alcine was constructedon a stage in the middle of a lake at Versailles and then destroyedby fire as part of the performance.

    Molière refined the comédie-balletby enlarging the role of the dialogue in such works as The Bores(1661) and The Forced Marriage (1664). Another leading exponentof the genre was the composer Jean-Baptiste Lully (1632 - 87),who subsequently founded the French opera. Operetta and opera eventuallysuperseded the comédie-ballet.

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