Monsieur de Pourceaugnac
Monsieur de Pourceaugnac is a three-act comédie-ballet—a ballet interrupted by spoken dialogue—by Molière, first presented on 6 October 1669 before the court of Louis XIV at the Château of Chambord by Molière's troupe of actors. Subsequent public performances were given at the theatre of the Palais-Royal beginning on 18 November 1669. The music was composed by Jean-Baptiste Lully, the choreography was by Pierre Beauchamp, the sets were by Carlo Vigarani, and the costumes were created by the chevalier d’Arvieux.
This comedy-ballet was written in September 1669 by Molière at the Chateau de Chambord, a village located in the former province of Orleans (Kingdom of France) and the current French department of Loir-et-Cher.
The ballet score by Lully is recorded in two books published between 1700 and 1710. For one of them, the exact date is unknown, probably made by the workshop of the copyist and librarian of Louis XIV, André Danican Philidor, and consists of alternating sheets of ballet and texts of the script. The other, probably made in 1706 by the copyist Henri Foucault contains only the ballet score.
Several previous works are discussed in part as having inspired Pourceaugnac of Molière. This is the case for the General History of Thieves François de Calvi published in 1631; "La désolation des filous sur la défense des armes" (The desolation of pickpockets on the defense of war) and "Les malades qui se portent bien" (The sick who are well") by Jean Simonin dit Chevalier, one-act comedy released in 1662. In 1705, Jean-Léonor the Welsh Grimarest, Molière's first biographer, writes about the origins of the character Pourceaugnac: "It is said that Pourceaugnac was made based on a gentleman Limousin, who during one show, had a quarrel with theater actors, whom he ridiculed, with which he was charged. Molière to avenge this act, put it into the theater and made a fun for the people, who were delighted with this piece, which was performed at Chambord in September of 1669, and in Paris a month later."
Monsieur de Pourceaugnac is betrothed to Julie, the daughter of Oronte. Unbeknownst to him, Julie is in love with the young and handsome Parisian Éraste and has no desire to wed Pourceaugnac. In order to avoid the impending marriage, Julie and Éraste solicit the help of Sbrigani who uses all of his guile to help the young couple through a series of clever deceits.
The work was a big success and was performed forty-nine times in the lifetime of its author; in addition to the first performance at Chateau de Chambord, it played once, 4 November 1669, at Versailles and 47 times in the theater of the Palais Royal in Paris between 15 November 1669 and 11 September 1672.
After the death of Molière, the play was performed once the theater of the hotel Guénégaud of Paris in 1680, at Saint-Germain-en-Laye in 1681, twelve times in the theater of the Rue des Fosses Saint-Germain of Paris between 1701 and 1750, once at Bellevue Castle in 1751, five times at the Grand Theatre de la Monnaie in Brussels between 1753 and 1785, three times in the theater du Capitole in Toulouse between 1786 and 1789, when the theater national Caen then twice at the Grand Theatre de la Monnaie in Brussels in 1791.
Operatic settings of the play include those by Castil-Blaze (a pasticcio using music of Rossini, Weber, and others; 1826), Alberto Franchetti (Il signore di Pourceaugnac; 1897), and Frank Martin (1962). The play is also one of the sources of the opera Der Rosenkavalier by Richard Strauss and Hugo von Hofmannsthal.
There are film versions of Molière's play from 1930 and 1985 (by Michel Mitrani).
- Garreau 1984, p. 417.
- Molière's comédies-ballets, Seminar notes, April 6, 1999
- Jean-Baptiste Poquelin, Monsieur de Pourceaugnac, comédie : faite à Chambord, pour le divertissement du Roy, Paris, Jean Ribou, 1670, 136 p.
- Jean-Baptiste Lully et Jean-Baptiste Poquelin, Monsieur de Poursaugnac. Comédie-Ballet. Donné par le Roy a toutte sa cour dans le Chasteau de Chambort au mois d'octobre 1669 fait par Monsieur de Lully sur intendant de la musique du Roy et par le sieur Molliere, 1700-1710, 109 p.
- Jean-Baptiste Lully, Ballet de Pourceaugnac, v.1706, 24 p.
- Louis-Aimé Martin, Œuvres complètes de Molière : avec les notes de tous les commentateurs, t. 6, Paris, Lefèvre, 1824
- François de Calvi, Histoire générale des larrons : divisée en trois livres. I. Contenant les cruautez & meschancetez des Volleurs. II. Des ruses & subtilitez des Couppeurs de bourses. III. Les finesses, tromperies & stratagèmes des filous, Paris, Rolin Baragnes, 1631, 270 p.
- Jean-Léonor Le Gallois de Grimarest, La vie de Mr de Molière : réimpression de l'édition originale, Paris, 1705, avec une notice d'Auguste Poulet-Malassis, Paris, Isidor Liseux, 1877 (lire en ligne [archive]), p. 138-139
- Synopsis at AMG
- Jean-Baptiste Poquelin, Émile de La Bédollière et Janet-Lange, Monsieur de Pourceaugnac ; suivi de Le sicilien ; illustré par Janet-Lange, Paris, Gustave Barba, 1851, 20 p. (lire en ligne [archive]), p. 1-14
- « Monsieur de Pourceaugnac » [archive], sur cesar.org.uk [archive], César, calendrier électronique des spectacles sous l'Ancien régime et sous la Révolution (consulté le 30 novembre 2011)