glbtq: an encyclopedia of gay, lesbian, bisexual, transgender & queer culture
home
arts
literature
social sciences
special features
discussion
about glbtq
   search

 
   Encyclopedia
   Discussion
 
 

   member name
  
   password
  
 
   
   Forgot Your Password?  
   
Not a Member Yet?  
   
JOIN TODAY. IT'S FREE!

 
  Advertising Opportunities
  Permissions & Licensing
  Terms of Service
  Privacy Policy
  Copyright

 

 

 

 

 
arts

Alpha Index:  A-B  C-F  G-K  L-Q  R-S  T-Z

Subjects:  A-B  C-E  F-L  M-Z

     
Lully, Jean-Baptiste (1632-1687)  

Jean-Baptiste Lully (1632-1687), although not the first to compose French opera, through his own works established its basic principles. His influence on opera throughout Europe was immense, but his career declined as the result of a homosexual scandal.

The son of Italian peasants, Giovanni Battisti Lulli was brought to France in 1646 as an Italian tutor for Louis XIV's cousin Anne-Marie Louise d'Orléans, known to history as "La Grande Mademoiselle." His musical and acting abilities soon distinguished him, and, after the exile of Anne-Marie in 1652, he entered the king's service. He and the king danced in court entertainments, establishing a privileged relationship that led to the musician's quick advancement.

Sponsor Message.

In 1661, Lully became a French citizen and was named Master of the King's Music. The following year he married the daughter of Michel Lambert, a prominent singer and composer of vocal music at the French court. They had six children (three boys and three girls), and Lully seems to have been a good father and provider in spite of numerous extramarital activities with both men and women.

Lully collaborated with Molière, the greatest French comic dramatist, in creating plays with musical interludes and ballets. The two soon fell out, however, and Lully used his influence to prevent Molière from employing music in his works.

In 1673, Lully staged his first opera, Cadmus et Hermione. Fourteen more followed, including such works as Armide and Acis et Galatée; they established the pattern for French opera for decades to come.

Lully was ruthless in his pursuit of power and used his influence with the king to eliminate potential rivals through the establishment of monopolies over stage music. Perhaps as a result, his enemies spread stories concerning his sexual exploits. Almost certainly many of these stories were true, but Lully was discreet enough that the king could overlook his activities.

However, Lully's influence with the king evaporated in 1685 when he was involved in a scandal that the king could not ignore. The composer conducted an affair with a "music page" being trained in the royal service. This affair with a young man led to the composer's disgrace. Although he was not prosecuted, Lully not only was forced to break off the relationship but he also lost his standing at court.

Homosexual activity was a capital offense in seventeenth-century France, but the death penalty was only sporadically imposed. A number of the nobility at Versailles, including the king's brother Philippe, formed a homosexual subculture, and Lully had close ties with them. While the king disapproved of homosexuality, he loved his brother and was unwilling to exile, or otherwise punish, these nobles. At the same time, pressure was exerted by Louis's wife Madame de Maintenon and her priest to rid the court of .

Lully is said to have died by stabbing himself in the foot with a cane with which he was beating time at a rehearsal. The wound resulted in blood poisoning and gangrene. Beaussaint has argued that the story is apocryphal and that the composer, already in ill health, in effect died as a result of the king's abandonment.

Robert A. Green

     

 
zoom in
Jean Baptiste Lully.
  
 interact  
   
Contact Us
 
Join the Discussion
 
 find 
   
Related Entries
 
More Entries by this contributor
 
A Bibliography on this Topic

 
Citation Information
 
More Entries about The Arts
 
   
spacer
Popular Topics:

The Arts

 
Nyad, Diana
Nyad, Diana


Dattani, Mahesh


Baker, Josephine
Baker, Josephine


Cadmus, Paul
Cadmus, Paul


Caja, Jerome


Photography: Gay Male, Pre-Stonewall
Photography: Gay Male, Pre-Stonewall


Drag Shows: Drag Queens and Female Impersonators
Drag Shows: Drag Queens and Female Impersonators


Erotic and Pornographic Art: Gay Male
Erotic and Pornographic Art: Gay Male


Halston (Roy Halston Frowick)


New Queer Cinema

 
 


   Related Entries
  
arts >> Overview:  Conductors

In spite of the presence of many gay, lesbian, and bisexual figures in the field of classical music, it is difficult to identify more than a handful of self-identified, openly gay or lesbian conductors even in the early years of the twenty-first century.

arts >> Overview:  Music: Classical

Classical music is an important component of Western culture to which glbt people have contributed significantly.

arts >> Overview:  Opera

Opera, an eclectic synthesis of voice, drama, music, costume, visual arts and spectacle, has played an integral role in queer culture since its development in seventeenth century Venice.

arts >> Overview:  Subjects of the Visual Arts: Psyche

The story of Psyche, a late addition to Olympian divinities, is often interpreted as an allegory of the human confrontation with desire and the divine; although universal, it has had particular resonance for glbtq people.

arts >> Corelli, Arcangelo

Arcangelo Corelli, who was probably homosexual, was one of the seventeenth century's most widely admired composers and performers.


    Bibliography
   

Beaussant, Philippe. Lully ou Le musicien du Soleil. Paris: Éditions Gallimard, 1992.

Merrick, Jeffrey, and Bryant T. Ragan, Jr., eds. Homosexuality in Early Modern France. A Documentary Collection. New York and Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2001.

Prunières, Henry. La Vie illustre et libertine de Jean-Baptiste Lully. Paris: Librairie Plon, 1978.

 

    Citation Information
         
    Author: Green, Robert A.  
    Entry Title: Lully, Jean-Baptiste  
    General Editor: Claude J. Summers  
    Publication Name: glbtq: An Encyclopedia of Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual,
Transgender, and Queer Culture
 
    Publication Date: 2002  
    Date Last Updated August 10, 2004  
    Web Address www.glbtq.com/arts/lully_jb.html  
    Publisher glbtq, Inc.
1130 West Adams
Chicago, IL   60607
 
    Today's Date  
    Encyclopedia Copyright: © 2002-2006, glbtq, Inc.  
    Entry Copyright © 2002, glbtq, Inc.  
 

 

This Entry Copyright © 2002, glbtq, Inc.

www.glbtq.com is produced by glbtq, Inc., 1130 West Adams Street, Chicago, IL   60607 glbtq™ and its logo are trademarks of glbtq, Inc.
This site and its contents Copyright © 2002-2006, glbtq, Inc.  All Rights Reserved.
Your use of this site indicates that you accept its Terms of Service.