Salle du Petit-Bourbon

Definition

Theater

  • The first court theater in Paris, located in the palace ofthe dukes of Bourbon. It was designed for ballets and balls and firstused for professional drama in 1577 by the Gelosi, an Italiancommedia dell'arte troupe.

    From 1645 the famous Italian scene painter and machinist Torellisupervised the production of opera at the venue. Molière'sprovincial company took up residence there in 1658, opening with five plays byCorneille before presenting some of the playwright's own early works, includingLes Précieuses ridicules (1659). In 1660 the Petit-Bourbonwas suddenly scheduled for demolition, and Molière found himselfbriefly without a venue until Louis XIV provided a vacant theater in thePalais-Royal.

    Before the Petit-Bourbon was demolished, however, Molièrewas allowed to take away furniture, fittings, and equipment. Torelli'sscenery and machinery were collected and carried away by the courtscene painter Vigarani, supposedly for the Salle des Machines he wasdesigning and building for the king in the Tuileries. However, Vigaraniwas jealous of Torelli's talent and fame and burned every item hecollected.

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