Molière and Lulli's bitter flop in Chambord castle

LullyLully | ©ÖNB / Public domain

Molière, make us laugh!

Henri II (François I’s son) then Gaston d’Orléans transformed Chambord. Louis XIV fit out apartments and hosted the famous Molière in 1670, to perform his play Le Bourgeois Gentilhomme.

King Louis was fond of Chambord! So he came very often! Like in September 1669, where he turned up with his wife and all the court.

Few days after, Molière and his company joined them: they stayed here 1 month!

They performed plays and ballet dancings, like Monsieur de Pourceaugnac, performed here for the first time. It was a big success. The court adored! Well, courtiers loved what the king loved, in fact...

Lully’s flop

After the performance of the Bourgeois Gentilhomme, the king sulked and didn’t applause. So the courtiers did the same thing, pretending they hated the play!

One of them even moaned: ″Molière thinks we are stupid! Did he really think his poor play could entertain us?″

Molière, for his part, asked the famous musician Lully (who was a damned hoot) to entertain the audience.

Lully did this… he decided to make a standing jump on the harpsichord, which of course broke up in pieces… Lully’s little joke was a terrible flop!

Show must go on

But Molière didn’t lose his courage! He performed a second time: this time, it was OK! ″Your play was excellent″, said the king to Molière. Of course, the courtiers said the same thing… ah, you little weathercocks!

To think that this play openly laughed at them… Molière installed his ″theater″ in the keep’s first floor. We still can see holes on the wall, to maintain the scene’s curtain!