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Cornish Opera Theater presents the rarely staged Molière and Jean-Baptiste Lully comic opera/ballet "Le Bourgeois Gentilhomme" (The Bourgeois Gentleman).
Makaela Pollock directs the production, which is performed in English with musical selections sung in the original French. The renowned baroque music specialist Stephen Stubbs leads the period instrument ensemble that accompanies the action as well as provides musical direction for the entire production. Noted baroque choreographer Anna Mansbridge choreographs the dances for this comic opera/ballet. Adam Burdick directs the chorus.
When Louis XIV was crowned King of France in 1661 at the age of 23, he was already a devoted and celebrated dancer, who appeared regularly in the ballets of Lully. During the first decade of his reign, he remained close to this art and this artist, commissioning Lully and Molière to create a number of musical dramatic works, "Le Bourgeois Gentilhomme" among them.
In the realm of dramatic poetry, Molière was the greatest poet of Louis XIV's court, such that it was almost inevitable that Lully and Molière would team up to forge a new form of musical dance theater which they called the Comedie-Ballet. They created the first in this genre in 1664 with "Le Mariage force". What followed was an unbroken chain of "hit shows" that lasted until 1671, of which "Le Bourgeois Gentilhomme" (produced in 1670) was the most popular of all. Rarely in the history of theater have the arts of music, dance and poetry been held in such an exquisite balance as during these years at the court of Louis XIV and the collaborations of Lully and Moliere.
"Le Bourgeois Gentilhomme" pokes fun at the pretensions of the newly and grotesquely rich Monsieur Jourdain, as fresh a source of humor and discomfort today as it was when Molière penned the lines in 1670. In many ways, the combined genius of Lully and Moliere produced a brilliant prototype for the modern musical comedy of today.
Sponsored by Seattle Center.
The Playhouse at Seattle Center (View)
201 Mercer St.
Seattle, WA 98109
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