Versailles Society Theater

Versailles society theater is commonly associated with the papier-mâché theater of Marie-Antoinette; but to give credit where it is due, I must say that the Queen re-cycled the ideas of Madame de Pompadour, all be it with the lesser political effect. Pompadour’s society theater gave the king’s mistress a significant tactical advantage over her enemies, for space was always at a premium at the palace, and to attend an event where there was just enough room for His Majesty and a few hand-picked individuals meant a social promotion; enough to say that in the small apartments Louis XV himself made and served coffee to his guests; therefore, getting a part in one of the plays meant a lot, for as far as the ranking, below dukes, it was a plain field, and getting just an inch ahead was the Versailles raison d’être, which Pompadour skillfully exploited. We know, for example, that Marquis de Voyer, the son of the all-powerful Minister of War, Argenson — his dad was at daggers drawn with Pompadour, got his role in Tartufe in exchange for a few military pensions. The other significant difference between Pompadour and Marie-Antoinette’s theaters was that when on 4 March 1748 Marquis de Coigny, who starred in the Prodigal Son, was killed in a duel, Pompadour tried ballet, and later even operas; operas were much harder to perform; so, on some occasions the professional tenor Bazire, hidden from the spectators’ view, acted as phonogramme to Vicomte de Rohan.


About versaillesgossip, before and after Francis Ponge

The author of the blogs Versailles Gossip and Before and After Francis Ponge, Vadim Bystritski lives and teaches in Brest France. The the three main themes of his literary endeavours are humor, the French Prose Poetry, the French XVII and XVIII Century Art and History. His writings and occasionally art has been published in a number of ezines (Eratio, Out of Nothing, Scars TV, etc). He also contributes to Pinterest where he comments on the artifiacts from the Louvre and other collections. Some of his shorter texts are in Spanish, Russian and French.
This entry was posted in Chateau Versailles, Court, Courtiers, Louis XV, Madam Pompadour. Bookmark the permalink.

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