Opera That Cost Marie-Antoinette Her Head Is Performed Again At Versailles

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Opera That Cost Marie-Antoinette Her Head Is Performed Again At Versailles

The last time Richard Coeur-de-lion (Richard the Lionheart), an opera comique by the Belgian composer André Grétry, was performed in the Palace of Versailles. It was several hundred years ago for Louis XVI and Marie-Antoinette just before their heads were cut off by a guillotine, reported Radio France Internationale (RFI). 

The opera, which debuted last Thur., is about Richard the Lionheart, the English king who had been taken prisoner during the medieval Crusades. 

Grétry, one of Antoinette’s top composers, performed the opera in Versailles in 1789. 

The famous lines “Ô Richard, ô mon roi!” (“Oh Richard, oh my king!”) was made popular among royalists during the French Revolution. 

At the time, France was thrown into socio-economic chaos, as unpopular taxation schemes, bad harvests, and vast wealth inequality, culminated into the perfect storm that toppled the monarchy, and eventually led to the public execution of Louis XVI and Marie-Antoinette by guillotine. 

Versailles’ theatre and events director Laurent Brunner told RFI that Richard the Lionheart was last played on October 1, 1789, and led to significant social upheavals in Paris among peasants. 

“It [the opera] sparked a scandal in Paris during the French Revolution,” explained Brunner.

Brunner said the decision to revive the opera in the halls of Versailles coincides with the 250th anniversary of the opera house located on the grounds of Versailles. 

“Very few opera houses are as charged with history and yet so poor when it comes to their own music,” said Brunner.

Ironically, the opera has debuted in light of the ‘yellow vest movement,’ a populist political movement that addresses wealth inequality, outlandish taxation by government, a minimum-wage increase, and the resignation of President Emmanuel Macron. 

It’s eerier to note, Richard the Lionheart, has only been played at Versailles during revolutions in the country. Does that mean if current conditions in France continue to deteriorate, yellow vest protesters could one day surround Élysée Palace, in Paris? Are Macron’s days numbered? 


Tyler Durden

Tue, 10/15/2019 – 04:15

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