The opera-ballet, also known as “ballet á entrées”, is a court ballet based lyrical genre usually composed of an optional prologue and entreés, a series of acts in which most of the feelings of love are independant for one to one another. This genre had its first practices in France, during the 18th century. Every show consists of a group of dancers, intermediaries that comply a preponderant position, reinforcing with actions each pretext. It is principally influenced by the lyrical tragedy, but opera-ballet is about fun. The opera-ballet can be easily distinguished from the known lyric tragedy, by understanding that it reduces the action sung at its most, to favor dance mainly.
André Campra remains one of the first men to create works of this genre. As he was a successful pioneer in this original invention, one of which is The Gallant Europe, composed in 1689. A variety of wonderful artists like Rameau, followed his steps to create similar pieces, increasing then the number of works to use for the eventual upcoming shows. Rameau did an amazing job with The Gallant Indies, which he used to describe from exotic countries from that time like the Inca Empire, North America Turkey and Persia, the amorous adventures and experiences that lived within those countries.
In fact, with this idea, more of his masterpieces came to exist in these mentioned countries, then, having then the most complete music list in this genre, such as Les Fêtes d’Hébé, Les Fêtes de Polymnie, Le Temple de la Gloire, Les fêtes de l’Hymen et de l’Amour, Les Surprises de l’Amour.
Comedy-Ballet as musical branch
Comedy is commonly mixed with fantasy in most of these musical tragedies. In point of fact, the Comedy-Ballet rises as a subgenre, where curiously mythological heroes and eccentric villains are set to complete actions, by dancers or singers using costumes for those characters, that eventually they changed one to one another to pass from a stage to other and recreate different scenes. The same happens with the Opera-Ballet, with the difference that this one is focused with tragedy as main intention with funny situations, while Comedy-Ballet has comedy over tragedy.
Molière and Comedy-Ballet
The comedy-ballet, as described above, is a drama. Molière created it, along with music and choreographies, with the intention of using them for his work with Les Fâcheux, mixing music and dance as a unique show. Opera-Ballet by its side, has the main idea to pay attention to composition and performance, while Comedy-Ballet is focused in comedy, using contemporary events such as marriage, staging funny experiences along with the musical show.
Eventually, Molière formed a trio, with Lully and Pierre Beauchamp, creating together some other works to use in the Comedy-Ballet shows. Moliere is also considered the father of the Comédie-Française, a national theater founded in Paris on August 24, 1680, by a decree of Louis XIV. This national theater has has over 3000 works and three theaters, called the Salle Richelieu, next to the Palais Royal, the Studio-Théâtre and the Théâtre du Vieux-Colombier. The Comédie-Française is one of the most respected and prestigious theaters in the world.