Jean-Baptiste Lully

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The following article is from The Great Soviet Encyclopedia (1979). It might be outdated or ideologically biased.

Lully, Jean-Baptiste


(Italian, Giovanni Battista Lulli), Born Nov. 28, 1632, in Florence; died Mar. 22, 1687, in Paris. French composer and the founder of French opera.

The son of an Italian miller, Lully lived in Paris from the age of 14. He studied music under French organists, played the violin in the court orchestra, and composed arias. In 1653, he became court composer. He composed many ballets, collaborating with Moliere in such comédie-ballets as Le Mariage Forcé and Le Bourgeois Gentilhomme. In 1672 he became head of the Paris opera house (Royal Academy of Music) and acquired exclusive rights to produce operas in France. He created the classical lyrical tragedy, a large-scale musical play based on subjects from classical mythology. Among his best operas are Alceste, ou Le Triomphe d’Alcide (1674), Thésée (1675), Atys (1676), and Armide (1686). He also established the form of the French overture.

Publication of the complete works of Lully, edited by H. Prunières, was undertaken in 1930, and by 1939 ten volumes had appeared.


Asaf’ev, B. V. “Liulli i ego delo.” In the collection De Musica, issue 2. Leningrad, 1926.
Rolland, R. “Zametki o Liulli.” Sobr. soch., vol. 16. Leningrad, 1935
Borrel, E. J.-B. Lully. Paris, 1949.
The Great Soviet Encyclopedia, 3rd Edition (1970-1979). © 2010 The Gale Group, Inc. All rights reserved.