Lully, Jean Baptiste

Lully, Jean Baptiste zhäN bätēst´ lülē´ [key], 1632–87, French operatic composer, b. Florence, Italy. His name originally was Giovanni Battista Lulli. A self-taught violinist, he went to France in 1646 and in 1652 entered the service of Louis XIV. He became chamber composer and conductor of one of the king's orchestras. Lully composed numerous ballets, many for plays by Molière, until 1672, when he obtained a patent for the production of opera. He established the Académie royale de Musique, where he held a virtual monopoly on the French operatic stage, amassing a fortune producing his own works. Among his many operas are Cadmus et Hermione (1673), Alceste (1674), Amadis (1684), and Armide (1686). His librettist, Philippe Quinault, was a dramatist in his own right, and Lully called their works tragédies lyriques. He established the form of the French overture, wrote recitatives well suited to the French language, and set the style for French opera until the advent of Gluck.

The Columbia Electronic Encyclopedia, 6th ed. Copyright © 2012, Columbia University Press. All rights reserved.

See more Encyclopedia articles on: Music: History, Composers, and Performers: Biographies