Lully: his grave in Notre-Dame-des-Victoires, his stupid death

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The grave - ©Anecdotrip.com / CC-BY-NC-SA The grave - ©Anecdotrip.com / CC-BY-NC-SA
Notre-Dame-des-Victoires basilica Basilica Accident Jean-Baptiste Lully

Lully's grave

Hey! Lully was buried in Notre-Dame-des-Victoires. We can see his grave topped by a bust by sculptor Collignon. Between Lully, two Genies: the profane Music and the sacred Music... On the other side, look: a gorgeous bust made by the famous sculptor Coysevox!

Hey, why did they bury him in this basilica? Because Lully lived in this district! At the corner of the rue Sainte-Anne and rue Neuve-des-Petits-Champs, at number 45 more precisely, says the book Dictionnaire de la conversation et de la lecture (volume 18).

Lully?

Aah, Lully... A famous French guy! The French Baroque music wizard, in the reign of king Louis XIV. The one who created his most gorgeous ballets... He was appointed Surintendant de la musique royale by Louis and created fabulous shows full of amazing fireworks and fountains.

He also worked with the famous Molière to create ballets and comedies. Their most famous collaboration? Le Bourgeois Gentilhomme ("The Bourgeois Gentleman")!

His death: ouch, my foot!

So, here we are. Lully, in 1687, was at the peak of his career. Covered in glory. So the fate turned up and wanted to interfere. Hey, it was too much honours for one single chap! Fate decided he will have a stupid death...

The scene took place in January 1687. Lully rehearsed his Te Deum (a Christian hymn sung for all kind of royal festivities), especially composed to celebrate king Louis XIV’s convalescence... newly cured of his ugly fistula. Lully rehearsed all morning with his musicians.

But he was tired, irritated, nothing found favour with him. Great drops of sweat were rolling off his forehead, under his crooked wig. At that time, conductors used a bâton de direction, a big and heavy stick to beat out on the floor. Lully stroke the ground with it, faster and faster.

Suddenly, the stick landed on one of his toe... Ouch. The pain, shooting, stroke down the maestro. Not to mention the gangrene turning up. From the toe, it reached the foot, then the entire thigh...

Lully refused the amputation, the only way to cure him: he was a dancer, he had to keep his leg, enough! Very clever... The genius died after weeks of horrible pains, on March 22th 1687. He was 55...


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