This new study brings together visual images and scholarly discussion of Le Ballet de la Nuit a major ballet de cour organised by Louis de Hesselin and first performed in the Louvre’s Salle du Petit Bourbon in 1653. Le Ballet de la Nuit was notable for many reasons: most prominent among them was the involvement of the young Louis XIV who danced in five different roles including his most famous role as the Sun King accompanied by chosen courtiers and professional dancers singers and acrobats.
The present publication focuses on the exquisitely produced volume presented to de Hesselin (who also performed in the work), which passed into the hands of the Rothschild family at Waddesdon Manor, and is now in the ownership of the National Trust. The contents of the Waddesdon source are reproduced in facsimile, together with the printed vers pour les personages, lists of performers, cues for special effects, and the running order of the entrées. They are accompanied by essays by Michael Burden, Catherine Massip, David Parrott, and Jennifer Thorp which interpret and discuss cultural patronage at the Court of Louis XIV, the musical context, dances and dancers, and the costumes and scenography of this unique and extraordinary ballet, while Lionel Sawkins provides a modern edition of the surviving music.
An archivist and dance historian with a particular interest in seventeenth- and early eighteenth-century dance for court and theatre in France and England. For a number of years she performed in baroque ensembles and opera productions in the UK, USA, and Europe, and taught baroque theatre dance at Middlesex University, Bedford Campus. She has contributed numerous articles to academic journals and works of reference, and has a long-standing research interest in the careers of the dancing-masters Mr Isaac and Anthony L’Abbé, and in other French dancers who worked in London between 1660 and 1760. Her edition of F. Le Roussau’s manuscript collection of New Ball- and Stage Dances of 1720 was published in 2008, and she is currently working on a book-length study of Mr Isaac. Michael Burden:
Michael Burden, New College, University of Oxford
Michael Burden is Professor in Opera Studies at Oxford University, and Fellow in Music at New College, where he is also Dean. His published research is on the stage music of Henry Purcell, and on aspects of dance and theatre in the London theatres of the seventeenth, eighteenth, and nineteenth centuries. He is currently completing a volume on the staging of opera in London between 1660 and 1860; his five-volume collection of opera documents, London Opera Observed, and his study of the London years of the soprano Regina Mingotti were both published in 2013. A new volume - edited with Jennifer Thorp - entitled The works of Monsieur Noverre translated from the French: Noverre, his circle, and the English Lettres sur la danse has just been published; it includes the 18th-centruy English translation of Noverre’s seminal text. He is the Past President of the British Society for Eighteenth-century Studies, a Visitor to the Ashmolean Museum in Oxford, and Director of Productions of New Chamber Opera, www.newchamberopera.co.uk