Le monstre « classique », un trompe-l'oeil ? Atys, « tragédie en musique », et l’esthétique baroque

Christian Grünnagel


Atys, one of Jean-Baptiste Lully’s operas (libretto by Philippe Quinault) that experienced a sort of revival stemming from the Arts Florissants’ production in 1987, is typically taken by scholars and spectators as the representative example of its genre, the so-called “tragédie en musique.” This article analyzes the presence of the monster and monstrosity in act five from a literary point of view, elements regarded traditionally as incompatible with the aesthetics of French classicism. It is, however, possible to come to a “baroque” re-interpretation of Atys, bearing in mind the myth-based plot of this opera which features not only Foucault’s “monster” par excellence of the Grand Siècle, i.e., the hermaphrodite, but also includes the monstre sacré of Italian opera, the castrato.


Jean-Baptiste Lully (Lulli); Philippe Quinault; Atys; tragédie en musique; tragédie lyrique; French opera; monster; monstrosity; hermaphroditism; castration; castrato; haute-contre; classicism; baroque

DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.11588/helix.2009.0.465

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